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Minimum wage increase is not enough and Universal Credit uplift should have been made permanent says Usdaw

Date: 25 November 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw is disappointed that low paid workers will not get the full minimum wage increase they were promised. The increase of 19p to £8.91 an hour doesn’t meet the union’s call for £10 per hour, the real living wage rate of £9.50 or even the Government’s previously projected rate of £9.21.
The union believes that a reduction of the qualifying age for NLW to 23 is a step in the right direction, but is again disappointed that lower youth rates below that age are to continue.
 
Usdaw is also disappointed that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent. This temporary increase has provided much needed help for struggling families but is set to end in March 2021.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We provided the Low Pay
Commission with evidence of why we need a new deal for workers, which includes at least £10 per hour and an end to unjust rip-off youth rates. Today the Chancellor missed the opportunity to fully recognise the huge efforts low-paid key workers have made through the pandemic.
 
“Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe through the lockdown and will continue to do so. Usdaw members employed in our supermarkets, distribution warehouses, food processing sites and home delivery operations welcomed the key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.
 
“There needs to be lasting and fundamental changes to the way society views our lowest paid workers. We need a new deal for the workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that retail jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued.
 
“Going to work should mean a decent standard of living for all workers, not least young workers. They are more likely to be paid less than older colleagues, even when doing the same job. They also often work hours that are not guaranteed in their contract, so they really need fairer and better pay alongside protection against insecure work. So reducing the age that National Living wage is paid from 25 to 23 years old is a step in the right direction, but is they need to go much further.
 
“Usdaw has campaigned for years to abolish youth rates. We continue to campaign for a national minimum wage of at least £10 per hour for all ages and call on the Government to tackle insecure employment contracts.
 
“Many low-paid workers have to rely on Universal Credit to get by, and the temporary £20 uplift in Universal Credit has been really important in these difficult times. Today was a missed opportunity for the Chancellor to make that increase permanent and give some assurance to millions of low income families.”
 
Usdaw’s new Deal for Workers calls for:
  • £10 minimum wage for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  • Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  • Protection at work – respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions.
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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