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Blueprint to save future of retail sector announced
12 July 2023

A drive to save shops from closing while improving the quality of jobs in the sector is being launched by a leading trade union.

Usdaw said its blueprint for the future of retail work is published as the industry continues to face one of the most challenging periods in history.

Since 2018 nearly three-quarters of a million retail jobs have been lost, with more than 75,000 store closures, as online retail grows, said the union.

This year more than 30,000 retail jobs have gone, along with more than 2,000 store closures, according to Usdaw, which represents shop workers.

The union is calling for measures including the levelling of business taxation between online and in-store retailers, along with funding for local authorities to support their high streets.

Usdaw is also pressing for an increase in the minimum wage to at least £12 an hour now, as a step towards £15, and improved Statutory Sick Pay.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s General Secretary, said: “For retail workers to prosper not just survive, we need to make sure retail jobs are better jobs.

“Shopworkers need and deserve to be given a much better and fairer deal, which is at the heart of our plan launched today. Our plan calls for the Government to recognise the vital role that the retail sector, and retail workers, play in our economy and our society.

“For many young workers retail is their first experience of work and for many others it offers flexible opportunities to help balance other commitments such as being a parent or carer.

“The retail industry directly employs three million people, with a further 1.5 million jobs reliant on the success of the industry.

“Yet the Government continues to treat retail jobs as an afterthought. This needs to change, we cannot continue with shop work being synonymous with low pay, insecure hours and abuse.

“This isn’t just bad for employees, but for the industry and wider economy as well.”

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