Our country is hungry for major changes to how our economy works and how key workers are rewarded according to a poll commissioned by the union Unite.
The poll, conducted in the run-up to May Day 2020, reveals:
- Their idea of who counts as a key worker has changed. 60 percent said the crisis has changed their view on who is considered a key worker and 74 percent believe the economy should be rebalanced and key workers valued more.
- That these workers should be paid more. Asked to pick what should be the top priorities to ensure key workers are better valued, large majorities want to see the minimum wage raised and zero-hour contracts banned.
- NHS investment should be the government’s top priority.
- Britain needs to manufacture more. 67 percent believe Britain is too reliant on importing goods from abroad.
- That austerity negatively impacted on the UK’s ability to react to the crisis and that there should be no more austerity.
- 60 percent of the public believe that ‘years of cuts to public services’ have had a negative impact on the UK’s ability to respond to the crisis. 71 percent believe the government’s response should be to tax the wealthy as opposed to another round of austerity cuts to public services.
- Little support for taxpayer funding for tax avoiders. 81 percent of the British public believe that companies that operate in tax-avoiding schemes should not receive government bailouts.
Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, commented:
"On the anniversary of VE Day I was thinking not just about our brave troops and civilians who lost their lives fighting and working for to keep our nation free and independent in the war but also the social gains that came after. People didn't want to go back to business as usual. It's the same with the Covid-19 crisis. People want change as the Unite poll shows."
Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey said: “This crisis has exposed deep faults in how our country works. The public can see that in this time of maximum economic and health strife it is our lowly paid key workers, not the super-rich, who are leading this country through this crisis.
“It’s the nurses, bus drivers, refuse collectors, food workers, and delivery drivers and so many more across the economy who have put their lives on the line to serve the public, often without adequate safety equipment. The very least they deserve now is income and job security.
“By contrast, the British public has also delivered a withering assessment of tax avoiders, regarding them as deserving of little sympathy.
“The other big message is that the British people utterly reject another round of austerity, and see proper funding for the NHS as their number one concern.
“The best way to fund the NHS and our public services is through a strong UK manufacturing base, paying decent wages, supporting the crumbling service economy, and generating income for the Treasury.
“With our manufacturing sector under huge attack from the virus and its fallout, we urgently need the government to engage with us on renewing and reviving this vital sector.
“This is a country hungry for change, hungry for a new deal for working people. My call to the government is to read the mood of the nation and work with us to set forth an ambitious plan to deliver just financial rewards and stability for the real wealth creators of this country, working people.”
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