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/// THREAD on Chancellor @RishiSunak's announcement tonight on the future of the income support schemes. 1/
After considerable media speculation, the Chancellor has finally pronounced on the economic future of millions, by detailing the changes to be made to the #JobRetentionScheme (JRS) and the #SelfEmployedIncomeSupportScheme (SEISS).… 2/
These have been the two most important income support measures in what is likely to be the biggest economic recession in modern history. Both had serious shortcomings from the get-go. 3/
The #JRS is for people on #PAYE, essentially "employees", & it subsidises 80% of wages plus employer NICs and pension contributions. For people on #minimumwage before the #pandemic, 80% of a poverty wage now is a kick in the teeth. 4/
And the @IWGBunion has had a hell of time getting some of the worst employers to take up the scheme, even when they didn't have to pay for it. Luckily we've been able to turn quite a few of these situations around, in particular with cleaners. 5/
Some employers, such as the profitable multinational #SonicHealthcare, have milked the scheme when convenient, only to turn around and try to sack a group of #KeyWorkers who have been outspoken #TradeUnion activists. Read about the full scandal here:… 6/
At least the #SonicHealthcare couriers are unionised, which has meant #IndustrialAction, tribunals & political support. And the saga is not yet over. But we shouldn't have to do all this with a profitable company which can get government subsidies. 7/
Despite these inadequacies the #JRS has still been far better than the alternatives of #UniversalCredit or, in the case of migrants with #NRPF, nothing. (CC @BorisJohnson as I understand he's now keen to learn about #NRPF). 8/
#SEISS is worse. The newly self-employed & those who derive less than 50% of their income from self-employment are entitled to nothing. For those who are eligible, they get 80% of #profits, not income. 9/
For a low paid worker with high fixed expenses, like an #Uber driver leasing their car, that money is a drop in the ocean. That's why 2 #Uber drivers & the @IWGBunion are bringing a legal challenge. Still fundraising, so grateful for your support! 10/…
And tonight we learn that both these schemes, despite their inadeqaucies, are to be tapered down. With the #JRS, employers will have to pay #NICs & pension contributions from August, plus 10% of wages in September & 20% in October. 11/
Getting businesses that still don't have much money coming in to voluntarily pay employment costs for someone who's not working is a hard sell. Getting the nasty employers already looking for an excuse to sack & hire on worse terms to do so, even harder. 12/
If the intention behind tapering the #JRS is to support incomes, prevent destitution, & protect the economy, it's hard to see how tonight's changes help. 13/
If the tapering is rather to incentivise people to go back to work despite legitimate concerns about 8,000 new #Covid infections per day, inadequate #HealthAndSafety at work protections & an untested #TrackTrace system, it may well be a success. 14/…
For the low paid, in particular Black, Asian & other Ethnic Minorty workers who have been hit hardest by this #pandemic, who do go back to work, #TrackTrace may provide little comfort when it leads to multiple mandatory absences paid at #StatutorySickPay of £95.85 p/w. 15/
The dangerous inadequacies of #SSP (the level is too low & too many people are excluded), and their discriminatory impact on female, Black, Asian & Minorty Ethnic, & #gigeconomy ("limb b") workers, is also part of the @IWGBunion legal challenge. 16/…
For the low-paid self-employed, tonight's announcements are worse. #SEISS is extended by 3 months, bringing the total to 6 months (compared to 8 for #JRS). And for the latter 3 months, workers will get 70% of #profits. That drop in the ocean just became a droplet. 17/
No one is suggesting #lockdown & economic life support should last forever. But until a vaccine, effective treatment, or radical reduction in #Covid prevalence has been achieved, there should be a few more preconditions, in particular to protect low paid & precarious workers. 18/
If people are working, #HealthAndSafety laws need to cover #gigeconomy workers & be strictly enforced, the @H_S_E needs to be properly funded, & workers given the right to sue employers over breaches of the legislation. For more, see previous thread. 19/
If #TrackTrace is our ticket out of #lockdown, the training, tech, & adequate #sickpay necessary to make it work should be in place before relying on it. In any case, a programme predicted to reduce infections by 5-15% is no panacea. 20/…
#Lockdown lifting needs to be based more on the science, administrative abilities of the Government, & enforceable workplace protections, and less on wishful thinking. And until that time it's nuts to start winding down income support schemes. 21/
The Government encouraging people back to work & tapering income support is laying the terrain for some pretty fierce battles ahead with employers over #wages, #sickpay, & #HealthAndSafety. These battles are unwinnable without collective power, so #JOINAUNION! 22/ END ///
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