Sumary of Covid inequalities are chance for unions – TUC’s Frances O’Grady:
- A growing backlash against a two-tier Covid-19 labour market offers the possibility for unions to rebuild their strength, according to the head of the TUC, Frances O’Grady.
- In an interview before next week’s TUC conference, the trade union umbrella group’s general secretary said there was now a “chasm” between low-paid workers and the better-off.
- Low-wage earners had borne the brunt of the pandemic, she said, with little or no option to work from home, no or low sick pay and reduced living standards, while better-off workers have enjoyed greater flexibility with work, financial stability and increased spending power.
- We hear a lot about levelling up but if it is not about workers’ rights, their bargaining power and their pay then what is it about?
- ”O’Grady said there was “simmering anger” at the unfairness caused by the pandemic and she was optimistic that unions could come out of the crisis with their bargaining rights enhanced.
- Those who thought above-inflation pay awards in sectors affected by labour shortages meant a return to the 1970s were “away with the fairies”.
- “But in the end bargaining power is built on numbers and the strength of organisation.
- I don’t want to be complacent about the job we have to do to strengthen workers’ bargaining power.