Coronavirus: Sir Keir Starmer calls for replacement of leave program

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Sir Keir Starmer will call on the government to replace the leave program and ban “layoff and rehire” methods to avoid the “scar effect” of “mass unemployment”.

Nearly 10 million workers have been laid off since March, but the program is expected to end on October 31.

The Labor leader will speak to the TUC, offering targeted support for hard-hit sectors.

The government said it was already implementing a job protection plan.

Addressing the annual Congress of Trade Unions conference, Sir Keir will advocate for the replacement of the job retention program – also known as the leave program – which was introduced to support employers and staff during the coronavirus lockdown.

Under it, employees put on leave due to viral restrictions received 80% of their salary up to a maximum of £ 2,500 per month.

Since September, companies must start contributing to wages as part of the end of the scheme.

The government has been reluctant to extend the leave program beyond October, with Mr Johnson arguing it will only keep people “in suspended animation”.

However, Sir Keir should argue that “with a little imagination and acting in the national interest, a better approach is possible”.

HI’s alternative proposals include expanding part-time work and rewarding employers who give people hours rather than cut jobs; provide training and support for those who cannot return to full-time; and target sectors most in need such as retail, aviation and those hit by local lockdowns.

“Imagine how powerful it would be if we could form a real national plan to protect jobs, create new ones and invest in skills and training,” he has to say.

“I make an open offer to the Prime Minister: Work with us to keep millions of people at work, work with unions and work with businesses, do whatever is possible to protect jobs and for workers. ”

The Labor leader will also praise the unions as “unsung heroes” by saying: “Without you there would have been no leave program, no liferaft for seven million people”.

Addressing Monday’s conference, TUC leader Frances O’Grady said: “If the government does not act, we are facing a tsunami of job losses. ”

During his speech, Sir Keir will also urge the government to ban “layoff and rehire” practices whereby companies fire workers but rehire them on the worst terms and wages.

He should say, “These tactics punish good employers, hit workers hard and hurt our economy.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We already have a national plan to not only protect jobs, but to create new ones – and we are implementing it now.

‘Thousands of young people will be taking their first steps into the workplace thanks to our £ 2bn Kickstart program this fall and our job retention bonus of up to £ 9bn will help businesses bring people back to work. job.

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