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LABOUR’S shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds joined thousands of trade unionists and activists at the TUC’s virtual “Workers’ Budget” rally last night to demand a new deal for key workers and young people.
Along with Ms Dodds, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called for public-sector pay rises, safe workplaces and better sick pay for all workers as well as more money for the NHS.
The event, which also heard from the leaders of some of the country’s biggest trade unions including Unite, Unison, CWU, NEU and NASUWT, featured calls to reject more austerity and prioritise investment to drive the post-coronavirus recovery.
Workers engaged in strike action with GMB, RMT and Usdaw also shared their experiences in a powerful display of trade union solidarity.
Ms Dodds said: “This government’s public-sector pay freeze is morally wrong and economically irresponsible.
“This should be a Budget for our key worker heroes, not one that passes them by.”
Ms O’Grady called for the furlough job support scheme to be extended to protect existing work, and for a commitment to create new jobs for the next generation.
“Young people are looking [to the Chancellor] for hope. We need to invest for the future to create green jobs.
“If levelling up is going to mean anything, then it’s got to be about decent jobs too.
“The trade union movement has won some famous victories, but we shouldn’t have to be battling alone against precarious work.”
“Chancellor, tell Uber and its like that time’s up for the gig economy.”
Last month the Supreme Court ruled that drivers for the app-based firm must be treated as workers rather than self-employed contractors, meaning thousands are entitled to the minimum wage and holiday pay.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner issued a rallying call for the movement to push for a “1945 vision.”
“[We need] a drive to rebuild, to house our people, to green our homes, and to take our communities with us, with the deepest pockets paying their fair share.”
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea called for the government to put economic recovery “before ideology.”
She said: “We need a budget for recovery, a budget for jobs, a budget for fair pay, and a budget for our public services.”
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