Unions hold online rally for workers’ interests ahead of tomorrow’s Budget

Unions hold online rally for workers’ interests ahead of tomorrow’s Budget

- in Bectu, NASUWT, NEU, TUC, UNISON, Unite, USDAW
Workers Budget rally

Trade unions are joining forces for an online rally this evening to highlight the needs of workers ahead of the Budget tomorrow.

The TUC have arranged an online rally which will run from 7.30pm to 9pm this evening (Tuesday 2 March 2021). The event, called ‘Rally For A Workers’ Budget’ will feature a range of speakers, include TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea, NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach, Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy and UCU general secretary Jo Grady.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Annelise Dodds MP will also be speaking during the event, as will former UNISON president Gloria Mills – who is now chair of the TUC’s Race Relations Committee.

To join the online rally, visit: https://www.tuc.org.uk/RegisterWorkersBudget now to sign up.

In a statement released to announce the Rally For A Workers’ Budget, the TUC said: “One year on from the first national lockdown, there is still so much more to be done to protect jobs and livelihoods, and people’s safety at work.” The TUC also released a set of demands for tomorrow’s Budget:

  • A pay rise for all our key workers
  • Safe workplaces and sick pay for all
  • Decent jobs for everyone
  • Fair funding for our NHS and public services

What unions are saying ahead of the Budget

With Rishi Sunak set to deliver the Budget tomorrow (Wednesday 3 March), trade unions have been speaking about what they would like to see.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said that the Budget should aim to unite the country with job security and creation, rather than relying on “clever budget wheezes and financial sleight-of-hand give-aways to reward the wealthy”.

He said: “The Budget will be the litmus test as to how the chancellor Rishi Sunak intends to rebuild the country out of the rubble of the pandemic.

“The central theme of the Budget must be a firm commitment to securing as many jobs as possible by extending the furlough scheme to the end of the year and laying out a template as to how to create more employment opportunities for the post-Covid economy.

“The chancellor should avoid the temptation for clever budget wheezes and financial sleight-of-hand give-aways to reward the wealthy and pander to the demands of MPs on the right of his party.

“This budget must be one that unites the whole country with job security and creation, as well as social justice, at its heart. It needs to live up to the government’s much-vaunted ‘levelling up’ pledges.”

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney wants to see more support for struggling families, saying: “No child should be going hungry during the day yet millions are. This has a huge impact on their learning and well-being.

“The pandemic highlighted the desperate situation many families cope with day in day out. We welcome the fact that government acknowledged Marcus Rashford’s powerful campaign and extended the provision of FSM over the school holiday period but that still leaves a great many families struggling without enough money to put food on the table.”

Phillippa Childs, the Head of Bectu, said the Chancellor should extend the furlough scheme and the SEISS, as well as take action to end the exclusion of freelancers and self-employed workers from government support. She said: “The Chancellor must use the Budget to extend the furlough scheme and the SEISS, and to finally end the disgraceful exclusion of so many freelancers. As it stands, the schemes are due to end before theatres, venues and cinemas will be able to reopen, potentially leaving thousands of workers in the lurch.

“The arts won’t reopen overnight, and it would be ridiculous to switch off the critical life support just as there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for thousands in the industry.”

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “It is unacceptable that nearly 6 in 10 workers on Universal Credit are struggling to heat their homes. Usdaw is calling on the Chancellor to use the Budget to guarantee the £20 weekly uplift and tackle long standing issues with the Universal Credit system. The uncertainty over the weekly uplift is causing unnecessary anxiety for millions of low-paid workers.

“Usdaw is urging the Chancellor to recommit to the £20 uplift in tomorrow’s Budget and in the longer term engage with trade unions and charities to fix the ongoing structural issues with Universal Credit.

“Usdaw has consistently called for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted, to allow a full review and overhaul of how the government supports the incomes of working people who are already struggling to make ends meet. We need a proper social security system that supports families, particularly during this appalling pandemic.”

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