Usdaw has demanded an end to the “fire and rehire” practice of redundancy across the retail sector.
The organisation has accused the government of “inaction” over the practice and is calling for an increase in redundancy rights, highlighting statutory redundancy pay and a new retraining budget for staff as the most urgent updates to the current legislation.
The group is also demanding that the government close a loophole in the law that allows big employers to avoid consultation over firing employees in locations where there are fewer than 20 employees, resulting in “thousands” of redundancies.
It has called out businesses for intensive restructuring at the cost of employees’ pay and working conditions and has said that the current legislation “allows too many workers to fall through the cracks.”
According to the trade union, the current wave of high street closures has hit crisis point, with an estimated 50 shops closing per day.
“The retail workforce is facing a crisis of devastating proportions,” USDAW general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“The sector was already facing huge structural difficulties before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
“The pandemic has made things even tougher for retail businesses and retail workers.
“Far too many workers’ jobs are in peril and so are their terms and conditions.
“This is a crisis spiralling out of control, with no sign of government intervention that retail workers so desperately need.”