With unemployment predicted to skyrocket, the pandemic has brought into sharp focus the underlying fragilities of the UK labour market. Decades of deregulation and eroding trade union power has lowered standards and depressed wage growth for a generation. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the 1980s. The priority now must be a worker-centred approach to overcome the looming jobs crisis and address the structural causes of widespread precarity and low paid employment.   

A tsunami-like wave of job cuts is expected once the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) comes to an end in October. The furlough scheme was set up to protect jobs during the crisis by covering 80% wages up to £2500 and now covers 9 million workers. The CJRS closes to new entrants tomorrow and will gradually wind down as employers have to contribute more to wages from August. While millions…

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