Union says ‘listen to the workers’ in bid to stem high streets ‘crisis’

Edinburgh scoops first place in UK cities for future economic growth.
Edinburgh scoops first place in UK cities for future economic growth.

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has called for a joint retail task force to tackle what it calls a high street retail crisis - following on from gloomy reports about festive trading.

Ahead of next week’s trading updates it argues a radical new approach needs to be taken on everything from car parking in town centre to business rates, commercial rents and a reform of the tax system.

The union also wants to address perceptions that retail jobs are not “proper jobs”,

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “We are joining with the retail employers who are calling for a number of key measures to tackle the crisis on our high streets, including a reform of business rates to help level the playing field between online and ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers.

“The retail sector is experiencing turbulent and challenging times.

“Employing around three million people it contributes 11 per cent to the UK economic output, so it is clear that the challenges affecting the retail sector have a huge knock on effect, impacting the UK economy and a significant number of workers.

“The Government has so far failed to provide any clear or coherent strategy for the retail sector, or to address the worries and concerns of retail workers.

“We urge the Government to engage with us, support our strategy and give shopworkers a voice in the future of retail”.