Results from Usdaw’s cost of living survey show that low-paid workers, many of them delivering essential services, are struggling to make ends meet. The survey of over 5,500 members found that:
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
- 1 in 4 are missing meals every month to be able to pay their bills, this has increased from 1 in 20 last year.
- 7 in 10 have relied on insecure borrowing and 60% of these are struggling with repayments.
- Petrol prices and travel costs impact the ability to get to work for nearly 50% of respondents.
- Nearly three-quarters report their mental health is being impacted as a result of financial worries.
“Coupled with yesterday’s announcement that real terms wages had fallen by 3%, the biggest drop since records began, it is sickening to hear today’s news of an even higher than expected inflation rate.
“While the cost of living emergency rages, we have a PM who appears to be absent without leave and the favourite to be his successor wrongly blaming workers for the Government’s failure to boost productivity. Only Keir Starmer has a substantial plan to protect struggling households and start the fightback against spiralling inflation by freezing the energy price cap.
“Today’s disturbing increase in inflation lays bare the scale of the challenge workers face in making ends meet. Our cost of living survey found that disturbingly, one-in-four of our members working in retail are skipping meals every month to pay the bills. That’s the people working hard to keep food on supermarket shelves struggling to put food on their own table.
“The Government has so far offered little more than sticking plasters that go nowhere near covering rising prices and bills. So there needs to be a new deal for workers with a significant increase in minimum wage rates and fundamental reforms to end insecure work. Alongside that we need an emergency budget with Labour’s energy price cap freeze at the heart of it and an immediate increase by at least the level of inflation for welfare payments. We simply cannot go on like this.”
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
- Minimum wage of at least £12 per hour as a step towards £15 for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates.
- 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.
- Proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide an effective safety net.
- Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and significant improvements to redundancy protections.
- Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
- Voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions and end ‘fire and rehire’.
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
RPI v CPI:
Usdaw argues that the Retail Prices Index (RPI) is a better measure of inflationary pressure on low-paid workers because it includes housing costs, like mortgage interest and buildings insurance, along with essentials such as Council Tax, Road Tax and TV Licence. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) includes some items of no relevance to low-paid workers, such as stockbroker fees and boat maintenance costs. This month RPI is 11.1% and CPI is 9%
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