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Retail workers' union calls for new deal shop workers after 100 days of lockdown shows their true value to society

RETAIL union Usdaw called for a new deal for low-paid workers today after the coronavirus crisis showed their true value to society.

The union’s call came on the 100th day of the lockdown which began in March.

Usdaw said that during the crisis millions of “low-paid and undervalued workers” had stepped up in the most difficult circumstances to keep the country going.

“Workers in retail, manufacturing, distribution and home delivery have been working around the clock, keeping food on our tables and medicines in our cupboards,” the union said. 

“They have adapted to huge change in an extremely short time, working under intense pressure and providing a lifeline to our communities.”

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe through 100 days of lockdown and will continue to do so.

“Usdaw members employed in our supermarkets, distribution warehouses, food processing sites and home delivery operations welcomed the key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.”

The union has drawn up an eight-point programme for a better deal.

It includes a £10 minimum wage, minimum 16 hours a week work, job security, protection at work, fair treatment and equality including equal pay.

Mr Lillis said: “There must be lasting and fundamental changes to the way society views our lowest-paid workers. It cannot be right that key workers in supermarkets, who are keeping our communities fed, are visiting foodbanks to feed their own families.”

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