South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has backed USDAW’s Save Our Shops campaign.
Colin Smyth MSP recently joined members of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) for their campaign street stall in Dumfries Town Centre were local shoppers backed the union’s petition calling for action to save our town centre shops.
The Save our Shop campaign aims to promote USDAW’s proposal for an Industrial Strategy for retail which focuses on three key areas;
Economy and Community – Reviewing frameworks on charges, rate and rents and implementing reform of the tax system to create a fair playing field between on-line and High Street retailers.
People and Productivity – Increasing productivity by tackling low pay and job insecurity and empowering employees.
Retail Jobs are Proper Jobs – Challenging negative perceptions towards retail employment and seeking an increased focus from Government ensuring shop workers are valued.
Colin Smyth said, “Many of our high streets and town centres have been struggling recently and Dumfries is no different with its fair share of shop closures. Although closures impact on local shoppers, the fact it also leads to job losses among shop workers is all too often forgotten. That’s why I’m backing the shop workers union in their campaign to save our shops. We need to see structural changes to protect and enhance our high streets such as making a level playing field between on-line and High Street retailers and reforming rates in town centre properties to ease the burden. USDAW’s Save our Shops campaign has clear ideas to help our high streets and town centres and I would urge everyone to get behind it to send a clear message to Government at Scottish and UK level that action is needed now to save our shops.”
Paddy Lillis, USDAW General Secretary said, “Our high streets are in crisis, with shops closing, retailers folding and businesses engaging in significant restructuring to survive. That impacts communities, shoppers and staff, so Usdaw activists are on the streets engaging the public in the ‘Save our Shops’ campaign.
“The retail industry is experiencing turbulent and challenging times. Employing around 3 million people and contributing 11% of UK economic output, it is clear that the retail crisis has a huge knock on effect, impacting the UK economy and a significant number of workers.
“We need the Government to adopt a clear and coherent strategy for retail, to address the worries and concerns of shopworkers and our members. We hope Usdaw’s retail strategy will be a catalyst for a combined and concerted effort to tackle the growing retail crisis and save our shops.”