Wage increase not enough in cost of living crisis: Usdaw

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Retail trade union Usdaw is disappointed that low-paid workers will not receive a minimum wage increase that will provide a wage they can live on. 

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rise has come into effect today (1). The uplift in wages includes the largest ever increase to the National Living Wage, the minimum wage for over 23 year-olds, which will now move up to £9.50 an hour.

Reacting to the news, Usdaw expressed disappointment saying the increase in the so-called National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour does not meet Usdaw’s call for £10 per hour immediately or the real living wage rate of £9.90.

“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’s uprating shows that the Government has missed the opportunity to help the lowest paid workers through the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation,” said Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary.

“Usdaw members welcomed the key worker status throughout the pandemic, but that respect and appreciation must not now fade into the background,” Lillin said, adding that the key workers, who were already struggling to make ends meet, are now trying to survive the highest inflation rates in over 30 years.

“There needs to be lasting and fundamental changes to the way society views workers. We need a New Deal for Workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour now, an end to insecure employment, respect for shop workers 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. It is deeply disappointing that  minimum wage rates continue to discriminate by age.

Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers immediately, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage. The union is also calling for a minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.