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Unions call for furlough extension and backing for arts and hospitality sectors

·2-min read

Unions have called for an extension to the furlough scheme and urgent support for the hospitality and arts sectors.

The TUC said the announcement of a delay to the end of lockdown was a big setback for many workers and businesses.

The Government has said there will be no changes to the original timings regarding the end to current financial support measures.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Government must step up and provide urgent targeted support for these industries. We cannot afford for more companies to go to the wall, taking good jobs with them.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“The Chancellor also needs to announce now that he will extend furlough for as long as is needed, rather than cutting it off abruptly in three months’ time.

“Working people need this certainty now – not a rollercoaster approach to protecting livelihoods.”

Responding to the extension of the Government’s work-from-home guidance, the TUC said employers should not require staff to attend workplaces if they can do their jobs from home.

“Companies that recklessly breach this guidance should be fined and face serious action. They are putting their workforces and local communities at risk,” added Ms O’Grady.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said: “Continued restrictions are sadly needed, but they will only be effective if sufficient support is also provided. You can’t take with both hands and expect people to comply.

“Government guidance to ‘work from home if you can’ will continue to hit public transport passenger numbers, so that must be recognised rather seeing the imposition of cuts like those Grant Shapps is pushing at Transport for London.

“Travel restrictions continue to severely affect our travel trade, with a bespoke support package desperately needed for the travel industry.”

Paul Fleming, general secretary of the actors’ union Equity, said: “The Government’s approach is once again a catastrophic blow to Equity’s members and their live performance workplaces – from pubs and clubs to theatres.

“There’s no dispute that public health comes first but the Government can’t just expect a limitless reserve of resilience from our industry.

“Introducing real grants to commercial and subsidised producers to make up for reduced capacity could transform the number of shows which are open.”

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