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Equal Pay Day 2018: Usdaw calls for a £10 an hour minimum wage to help close the gender pay gap

Date: 09 November 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis is calling for action to close the gender pay gap on ‘Equal Pay Day 2018’, Saturday 10 November, which marks the day that women will effectively work for free until the end of the year because of the gender pay gap.
According to the latest ONS figures, median hourly pay for full-time and part-time employees was 17.1% less for women than for men at April 2018.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Low paid and insecure work is a growing problem and a scourge on society, which is holding back economic growth and affecting the well-being of the workforce. This is at its most stark with women workers.

“The gender pay gap has hit the headlines as a result of new regulations requiring large employers to report on progress, but the focus is often on women in high profile and higher paid sectors. However, our research reveals that it remains a major issue for women in low paid sectors like retail who are clearly not progressing up pay scales at the same rate as male colleagues. Only 37% of workers earning over £10 per hour are women, so our call for a minimum wage of over £10 per hour would help address the gender pay gap for low-paid women workers.

“The ability to balance work and caring responsibilities, along with enough hours to make a living weekly wage are significant challenges for many low-paid women workers. 70% of workers contracted to 16 hours or less are women, so we are calling for a minimum contract of 16 hours for those who want it and a right to a contract that reflects the normal hours worked, with an end to the misuse of zero-hours contracts.

“Given the current slow pace of change, without significant action on pay, it could take 40 years to reach pay parity between men and women. It is time for better pay.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Usdaw’s ‘Time for Better Pay’ campaign tackles the causes of in-work poverty and seeks to develop an economy where work pays. A survey of over 10,000 workers has laid bare the issues that working people are facing as a result of low pay, short and zero hours contracts and insecure work. Based on this evidence the campaign is calling for four key actions:
  • £10 per hour minimum wage for all workers over 18.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week for all employees who want it
  • The right to a contract based on an individual’s normal hours of work
  • An end to the misuse of zero hour contracts.
Fawcett Society – Equal Pay Day: www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/equal-pay-day
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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