The TUC has today (Friday) warned the government not to ‘throw away’ the good work of the job retention scheme and urged ministers to work with unions on a new job protection and upskilling deal.
The union body says that without additional support for businesses and workers millions will lose their livelihoods in the coming months ahead.
Jobs Protection and Upskilling Deal
The TUC is today launching its Job Protection and Upskilling Deal – a new blueprint for saving jobs and upskilling workers affected by the crisis.
The plan outlines a new short-time working scheme designed to prevent mass unemployment and to help firms bounce back after the crisis, and proposals to help workers whose jobs are at risk develop the skills they need for the future.
The plan would:
Under the TUC proposed scheme workers would receive 80% of their salary for the hours they are not in work, including when they are training.
The company would receive a 70% subsidy from the government, provided they bring back every worker on the scheme for a minimum proportion of their normal working hours.
Targeted and conditional support
The TUC says the measures outlined in its Job Protection and Upskilling Deal would offer more ‘targeted’ and ‘flexible’ support than the government’s job retention bonus.
Under the TUC’s plan companies would only get help if:
The plan would also have built-in contingencies for companies hit by local lockdowns. Companies in this situation would automatically qualify for help through the scheme.
The TUC says the plan mirrors measures being taken across Europe.
In Austria, unions and employers have extended their coronavirus short-time work scheme for another six months from October. While in Germany, the country’s coronavirus short-time work scheme is expected to be extended until December 2021. And in France a new short-time work scheme has been introduced that will apply until June 2022.
The TUC says the ‘clock is ticking’ to avoid a ‘tsunami of unemployment’ in the autumn, with the Bank of England predicting that 2.5 million people could be out of work by the end of the year.
The union body says that rather than watching from the side-lines ministers must take action now to prevent the misery of mass unemployment.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The job retention scheme showed what government can do during a crisis. It saved many people from the dole queue and stopped good companies going to the wall.
“Ministers cannot afford to throw away the good work of the JRS. There is still time to avoid a tsunami of unemployment.
“The TUC’s Jobs Protection and Upskilling Deal will help firms with a future keep people on – and protect the jobs and incomes of millions. And workers in companies taking longer to recover will get the skills boost they may need for future jobs.
“The TUC’s Jobs Protection and Upskilling Deal isn’t a free ride for employers. Businesses that get help will have to pay a fair rate of tax in the UK, pay their staff fairly and treat them well.
“Working people carried the burden of the pandemic. They must not bear the brunt of this recession too. Protecting decent jobs with fair pay is how we recover.”
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