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STUC warns businesses in Scotland not to prematurely cut jobs or pay

TRADE UNION campaigners have warned businesses against making decisions to cut jobs or pay during the coronavirus crisis before the extent of government intervention is clear.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Better Than Zero campaign says that younger workers are facing a crisis of “generational proportions” amid a lack of clarity about the future of small businesses beyond the furlough scheme.

More than a third of workers aged 18 to 24 have been furloughed, lost their jobs, or lost hours and pay due to coronavirus, but just 42 per cent of companies have topped up wages for staff.

Better Than Zero said this could be the beginning of a long-term economic collapse.

“Scotland has a history scarred with unemployment crises,” a campaign spokesman said.

“Many will remember how it felt when young people started making plans to leave Scotland and the effect it had on friends and families.

“This is going to hurt in more ways than just economically.”

Campaigners highlighted the case of Coia’s Cafe in Glasgow, where a group of 40 furloughed staff were told, without reason, that they were being laid off.

The staff have now organised and are requesting to be put on furlough, and organisers praised the attitude of those facing redundancy.

“Companies like Coia’s are the culprits for acting before there is proper information about the plan for the economy,” Better Than Zero’s spokesman added.

“Workers should be wary that employers will try to make moves in this uncertain period.

“The hope lies in workers doing what the Coia’s staff have done, coming together and standing with each other to oppose sackings, and demand companies delay decisions until it is clear what interventions the government will make.”

Coia’s Cafe was approached for comment.

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