Trades Union chief demands "fast action" from government to protect at-risk jobs

30 June 2020, 16:04

The leader of the TUC said that the government's £5 billion package doesn't do enough to protect some of the UK's most volatile jobs.

Frances O'Grady is the Chief Executive of the Trades Union Congress, which represents the rights of millions of British workers. She was speaking to Shelagh Fogarty in the wake of the government's £5 billion infrastructure package which aims at kickstarting the economy.

She argued that resources should have been invested in to protect jobs most at-risk of being lost in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. She called for an extension to furlough, and also a revolution in how the employees are paid.

Ms O'Grady sent a message to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to maintain the job retention scheme. "We've already got nine million jobs supported on that job retention scheme, don't blow it away in October.

"What we need is targeted support for those industries that are most vulnerable to job loss to get them through this period and into the future" she said.

"Every employer who's using that scheme should be coming up with the jobs and skills plan, and fair pay at the top as well as for everyone else.

"We can't just pretend this problem is going to go away at the end of October, it isn't."

Boris Johnson pledged £5 billion to kickstart the UK economy
Boris Johnson pledged £5 billion to kickstart the UK economy. Picture: PA

Asked further about her view of the economic boost to the economy, Ms O'Grady told Shelagh that "it was a big build up, but I'm afraid it was a big let down."

She branded most of the plan as "reheated promises" as a lot of the money pledged has already been previously promised for projects.

Ms O'Grady told Shelagh that "there is no greater misery than mass unemployment" and the government should have had this at the fore of their plans.

"We need fast action, ambitious action to protect the jobs we have and to create new ones, especially for young people."

Shelagh pointed out that there were references by Boris Johnson to apprentice schemes in the new infrastructure plan. "What do you say about the delivery of that, what is required for that to be the case" Shelagh wondered.

"If you're gonna make announcements about apprenticeships, where's the plan?" Said Ms O'Grady, arguing that "there aren't too many companies that are going out to hire apprenticeships at the moment." "People need to have real jobs to go on to" she said, insisting that "government needs to take action with a real programme for jobs."

She put her faith in Rishi Sunak, telling Shelagh that she is "hoping we get something better and bolder from the Chancellor next week."

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