John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It has been an honour to have served on the Low Pay Commission for 11 years, where I have had the opportunity to champion the cause of the lowest paid workers in the UK. It has been a particular privilege because my union Usdaw was at the forefront of campaigning for a National Minimum Wage and it was Tony Blair’s Labour Government that delivered it.
“This crucial basic wage protection remains one of Labour’s finest achievements. We must never return to the very dark days where workers’ wages were being driven down by unscrupulous employers in a race to the bottom. The minimum wage provides a level playing field that stops rogue employers undercutting better ones, but we must remember it is a minimum.
“Usdaw expects employers to be looking beyond statutory basic rates of pay and that is why we welcome the input of the Living Wage Foundation. Their Living Wage rates are properly researched and reflect the hourly rate workers need to make ends meet and provide a good benchmark for the pay bargaining agenda.
“A real Living Wage for all workers is Usdaw’s objective, but improving hourly rates alone is not enough. We need look at all aspects of the pay package and availability of hours, to help provide workers with a weekly income that they can live on.
“The Government’s national living wage falls short of this goal and it was deeply disappointing that they introduced it for over-25s only. Usdaw has long campaigned for the adult rate at 18 and that campaign continues. It better reflects the real world of work, where I am proud to say that Usdaw has negotiated away age-related pay in our major agreements.
“I wish my successor and fellow Low Pay Commissioners well and I urge them to continue the good work they do. Well paid workers are good for the economy, good for business and good for society as a whole.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion