Stormont must act to defend zero hours and self-employed workers who face immediate threat of joblessness

Unite 0014Central government must go further to support devolved administrations

Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock called on the Northern Ireland Executive to act urgently to protect workers who had already lost their jobs or who faced the prospect of unemployment in the near future:

“Today’s expected intervention by central government to put in place a wage subsidy package must extend to the self-employed and zero-hours workers made redundant or who have or have lost their livelihoods due to the current pandemic that is sweeping the country.

“During this critical juncture for the health of the nation and the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that everyone in society is protected from the shockwaves of the measures that will ultimately be taken by government. The people of Northern Ireland cannot, and should not, be left behind when it comes to those protections.

“As we have seen over the last number of days thousands of jobs are being lost in hospitality where many are employed on precarious terms; many more will be lost in the service industries such as taxi drivers, the betting industry and many other roles that are carried out in the entertainment industries that so many people take for granted.

“Any measures that central government adopts should automatically extend to the devolved nations; we shouldn’t have to wait on Stormont ministers to ratify these based on whether the devolved government has been given enough money to ensure they can be carried through.

“If, as has been stated repeatedly by politicians, we are all in this together then actions by those politicians should reflect this, Mr Pollock finished.

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