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Government response to the 'Time for better pay' petition woefully inadequate - Usdaw campaign continues

Date: 08 February 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has criticised the Government’s woefully inadequate response to the ‘Time for better pay’ petition.
The petition signed by over 18,000 people calls for a minimum wage of £10 per hour, employment contracts to reflect on an individual’s normal hours of work, for all workers to be offered at least 16 hours work per week and a ban on zero hours contracts.
 
Usdaw is continuing to push for 100,000 signatures that would guarantee that it is considered for debate in Parliament. The union is asking members and all who agree that workers deserve better pay and rights to sign the petition and share it with friends, family and colleagues. The petition and Government response is available at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/234531
 
By contrast to the Government’s position, Labour has reaffirmed their commitment to a £10 an hour minimum wage, as they highlight analysis by the House of Commons Library showing that the party's promise would boost minimum wage workers’ pay by £2,640.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The ‘Time for better pay’ petition was launched to end job insecurity and help people going to work afford a decent standard of living. We are disappointed but not surprised that the Government has gone nowhere near far enough to address today’s incomes crisis.
 
“Usdaw’s research has shown that the Government’s so called National Living Wage does not live up to its name. From a survey of over 10,000 people, we identified that 54% of low paid workers are regularly having to miss meals just to pay the bills.
 
“Our survey results also demonstrated a clear link between insecure work and people experiencing poor mental health.  The Government needs to accept Usdaw’s recommendations, backed up by the Low Pay Commission, for people to have a right to switch to a contract based on their normal working hours. As highlighted by the Low Pay Commission, workers will be less likely to utilise the Government’s ‘right to request’ due to fears of employer retaliation.
 
“Labour is right when they say that the Conservatives have created a perfect storm of low pay, insecurity and working poverty. Their response to our petition shows they have no intention of addressing these issues, so Labour’s commitment to a £10 an hour minimum wage is very welcome.”
 
“Going to work should provide a decent standard of living. That’s why Usdaw is calling on the Government to tackle low pay and insecure work through our ‘Time for better pay’ campaign. We need real and urgent improvements to workers’ rights that delivers an economy which works in favour of all working people.”
 
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 425,000 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 is calling on the Government to strengthen workers’ rights by introducing:
  • A minimum wage rate of at least £10 per hour for all workers.
  • Minimum contracts of 16 hours per week for everyone who wants it.
  • Contracts based on an individual’s normal hours of work.
  • An end to zero-hours contracts.
For more information: www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP
 
Usdaw’s survey of over 10,000 working people about their experiences of low pay, short-hours contracts and insecure work shows that stronger employment rights are urgently needed:
  • Over the past five years, 92% of those surveyed have seen no improvement in their financial situation.
  • Over the past 12 months 76% of low-paid workers have had to rely on unsecured borrowing to pay everyday bills.
  • 63% of people believe that financial worries are having an impact on their mental health.
The Low Pay Commission’s response on one-sided flexibility: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/low-pay-commission-response-to-the-government-on-one-sided-flexibility
  
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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