SKELMERSDALE West County Cllr Julie Gibson has called on the Government to protect workers’ rights as the country starts to emerge from the pandemic into a post covid economy.
The call came after the Government introduced the next phase of the ‘winding down’ of the furlough scheme prompting fears that many thousands could lose their jobs or be forced into insecure work.
Cllr Gibson said: “Recent IMF forecasts show that the UK suffered the worst economic crisis of any major economy in 2020, on top of this growth stalled in the years leading up to the pandemic.
“The latest forecasts show if we continue in this way, then our recovery is at risk and it is more often than not, workers who bear the brunt of this.”
She continued: “In West Lancashire, the unemployment rate remains steady at 4.7% according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, but this week we will see the further winding down of the furlough scheme, with the government now paying 60% and employers 20%.
“A survey by the British Chamber of Commerce has revealed that changes to the scheme will likely result in many thousands of people being released back into the labour market and made redundant.
“We have 3.6million people in insecure work, including many key workers, according to figures from TUC. A lack of basic rights and protections forces working people into poverty and insecurity.
“This is terrible for working people, damaging for the economy, and as we have seen throughout the pandemic, devastating for public health.”
Cllr Gibson said: “Many workers who played their part during the pandemic now face the very real prospect of unemployment and insecure work, they should not be the scapegoats for the government’s economic failure.
Build back better
“If we are to build back better, we need to avoid a race to the bottom, we need to ensure people aren’t being driven into worst quality jobs, we need to invest in our workforce and we need to give them the protections they deserve.”