Unite calls for government action to halt flood of redundancies


A union leader is urging the Prime Minister to take action to prevent “redundancy floodgates” opening as the furlough scheme ends.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, has written to Boris Johnson, warning that workers face a “miserable” Christmas because of fears of huge job losses when the job retention scheme (JRS) ends next month.

Unite said Wednesday was a “milestone” because employers are legally obliged to give workers 45 days’ notice of redundancy.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

The union fears that without an urgent sign of the Government responding to calls from across business and the political spectrum for longer term support to save jobs, employers facing short-term struggles will issue redundancy notices.

Mr McCluskey urged the Prime Minster to announce a modification of the JRS, along with targeted assistance for sectors such as manufacturing, aviation and hospitality.

The letter said: “This week will mark 45 days until the job retention scheme comes to an end. With no sign yet of your government moving to extend or modify the scheme, there is the very real fear that this landmark will open the floodgates for redundancy notices as employers seek to comply with the 45 days’ notice period.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The furlough scheme has done what it was designed to do – save jobs and help people back into employment.

“And many of our unprecedented interventions – including the Job Retention Bonus, business rates holidays, VAT cuts and the Kickstart Scheme – will ensure this support continues into next year.

“We’ve not hesitated to act in creative and effective ways to support jobs and we will continue to do so as we recover from this crisis.”