MPS debated the proposed closure of Ikea’s Coventry store yesterday.
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw welcomed the adjournment debate led by Zarah Sultana (Labour, Coventry South) in the House of Commons about the shock closure, which puts more than 350 jobs at risk.
Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said: “We are grateful to Zarah Sultana MP for raising the proposed store closure, which is devastating for staff.
“Usdaw is currently engaged in meaningful consultation talks with the company to interrogate the business case for this proposed closure.
“We are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need at this difficult time.”
Usdaw is currently running a ‘Save Our Shops’ campaign calling on the government to review taxation, commercial rents and business rates, together with a minimum wage of £10 per hour for all workers, secure work and investment in skills and training.
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “This (Ikea Coventry) proposed closure is not an isolated incident, but part of a wider set of fundamental challenges facing the entire retail sector.
“An unfair business rates system, difficulties for consumers in getting access to town and city centres, high staff turnover and significant increases in violence and abuse against shop workers are just some of the broader issues affecting the industry.
“Usdaw is calling for the introduction of an industrial strategy for the retail sector, a strategy that would tackle many of the issues currently holding the industry back. Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK economy, providing employment for around 3million people. Any successful industrial strategy will only be delivered through genuine engagement with all relevant stakeholders.”