The following motion was passed at the August 2020 Leeds TUC delegate meeting
Retail is one of the sectors hit worst by the current crisis, with a huge increase in redundancies across the sector. Redundancies in companies like Debenhams, are often being carried out without staff consultations and giving very little notice to staff who are
being suddenly left without a job.
So far this year, around 20,000 retail workers had lost their jobs prior to the Covid lockdown measures being put in place, whilst around 40,000 have lost jobs since, with a number of companies entering liquidation, or expected to, including Peter Jones, TM Lewin and Brighthouse, with Debenhams rumoured to be drawing up plans for liquidation.
Many retail workers are already very insecure prior to this crisis, with widespread use of
short hour contracts, with many working for or just above minimum wage levels.
Leeds TUC agrees to support the following points:
-Oppose retail redundancies and support campaigns organised by retail workers and their unions to protect jobs.
-Fight for secure jobs, with a minimum wage of at least £12 an hour and guaranteed
minimum contracts of at least 16 hours a week, with full time employment for those who want it.
-For a long-term industrial strategy for the retail sector, including creating a more level
playing field between online and bricks and mortar retail, through measures such as
rebalancing taxation via increasing corporation tax, closing loopholes and other measures, as well as providing local councils with sufficient funds and powers to invest in city centre infrastructure and bringing public transport into public ownership with affordable fares.
-This should also include urgent action to save jobs in companies facing heavy job losses or liquidation, including bringing companies and their assets into public ownership. Such publicly owned companies should review the goods and services they offer, under the democratic control of workers and the wider labour movement, to ensure these meet the needs of society.