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Sheffield Needs A Payrise Sheffield TUC calls for workers to unionise: Organised workers more likely to keep jobs during crisis

Through the Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise (SNAP) campaign, workers in the city are being encouraged to join the union and stand up for their rights during the current crisis.

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Sheffield Trades Union Council. Photo by Sheffield TUC.

Sheffield's Trade Union Council (TUC) is calling for all workers to unionise during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise (SNAP) campaign, workers in the city are being encouraged to join the union and stand up for their rights during the current crisis.

"Workers in trade union organised workplaces are much more likely to keep their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, and if laid off are more likely to be kept on 100% pay," Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield TUC, told Now Then.

"We know the opposite is the case for many non-union workers, especially in Sheffield's low wage economy, and we are doing our best to help them."

The TUC has pointed to urgent problems being faced by workers, such as a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), top-down approaches to health and safety procedures, and complications with defining who is or isn't a 'key worker'.

They have also highlighted that workers who join unions are more likely to have a voice on issues relating to health and safety, and that they have more job security with the support of the union to fall back on.

"All workers are facing difficulties and anxieties at this difficult time, but trade unionists know that we have to reach out and help workers who are not in a union. Workers have to stick together - it's called solidarity," said Mayer.

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Sheffield Needs A Pay Rise.

Working with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, the SNAP campaign helped Wetherspoons staff in Sheffield organise and fight back against imminent dismissal, catalysing a national response. Their work led to all Wetherspoons workers being taken back on.

The union has also helped members who have been fired during the pandemic regain their jobs and receive 80% of their usual pay.

With the support of SNAP, UNITE at the University of Sheffield Students' Union is fighting to secure income and job security for casual staff in various roles, and multiple initiatives are being pushed forward for self-employed workers across the city too.

SNAP organiser Rohan Kon told Now Then: "We hope to shame employers into paying full pay, showing workers the tangible benefits and power of forming a union - made stark at a time when employers are even more hostile and ambivalent towards their workers than usual."

"We are working to rebuild that traditional sense of Sheffield pride, that this is what we do - we stick together, we stand up for ourselves, we fight and we win."

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