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Minimum wage increase not enough says Usdaw, the very least key workers deserve is £10 per hour

Date: 01 April 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw is disappointed that low paid workers have not received the full minimum wage increase they were promised. Today’s increase in the so-called National Living Wage (NLW) of 19p to £8.91 an hour doesn’t meet Usdaw’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.
Usdaw also says that a reduction of the qualifying age for NLW to 23 is a step in the right direction. The union is disappointed that lower youth rates below that age continue and renews their call for an end to rip-off pay for young workers.
National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates from 1 April 2021:
  • 23 and over   £8.91
  • 21 to 22          £8.36 
  • 18 to 20          £6.56
  • Under 18       £4.62
  • Apprentice     £4.30 
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. The Government has missed the opportunity to fully recognise the huge efforts low-paid key workers have made throughout the pandemic. Shockingly the TUC has found that one in three key workers are still earning less than £10 per hour.
“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 supermarkets, across the food and pharmaceutical supply chains and the funeral industry 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 change to the way society views workers. We need a New Deal for 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 the Government must 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.”
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.
TUC - 1 in 3 key workers earn less than £10 an hour: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-1-3-key-workers-earn-less-ps10-hour
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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