The UK’s leading union boss will throw down the gauntlet to ministers to prevent a “tsunami of job losses”.
TUC boss Frances O’Grady will warn today that the UK is at the point of no return to prevent a wave of redundancies when the furlough scheme winds up.
Millions of people have had their wages underwritten by the Treasury during the pandemic but Chancellor Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to extend the scheme beyond the end of October.
Amid fears of a looming second wave of Covid-19, Ms O’Grady will warn that the pandemic will not end in October so state support for jobs should continue.
She will say: “From this Thursday it will be just 45 days before the [furlough scheme] ends. That’s the notice period that companies have to give if they intend to make mass redundancies.
“If the government doesn’t act we face a tsunami of job losses. So my message to the Chancellor is this:
“We worked together once before. We are ready to work with you again – if you are serious about stopping the catastrophe of mass unemployment.
“Rishi Sunak: stand by working families – don’t walk away.”
New TUC analysis reveals 2.1 million key workers are paid less than the minimum wage of £9.21, which is due to apply from April.
The union body says halting the rise would be poor repayment to the army of key workers who propped up the nation during the pandemic.
Ms O’Grady will say: “The minimum wage – the wage of two million key workers – must rise as planned. Ministers: don’t punch down.
“Key workers have shown courage and dedication. Now it’s time for government and employers to repay that debt by fixing their contracts, raising their pay and giving people dignity at work.”