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Chancellor’s minimum wage announcement won’t be enough to help workers cope with the cost of living crisis says Usdaw

Date: 02 October 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw has called on the Chancellor to go further than today’s announcement to the Conservative conference of a minimum wage above £11 per hour from next April. Usdaw is calling for the minimum wage to become a real living wage, alongside a new deal for workers that tackles insecure employment, something Labour has already committed to deliver in the first 100 days of coming into Government.
The real Living Wage is £10.90 (£11.95 in London) and was set last Autumn. It is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation and is the only UK wage rate based on the cost of living. The new real Living Wage rates will be announced later this month on 24 October and a significant increase is expected. The Government’s so-called “national living wage” has been £10.42 an hour since April for workers aged 23. Younger workers can be paid at a lower rate.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Today’s minimum wage announcement by the Chancellor to his party conference confirms that the Conservatives are continuing to promote in-work poverty by supressing minimum wage rates, which will remain well behind the real Living Wage rates. They also continue to discriminate against young workers by allowing lower rates for under 23-year-olds. His assertion that 6% inflation is worth a 5% increase in income defies logic and shows they are totally out of touch with the impact of rising prices.
“We note that the Chancellor made no mention of previously promised improved employment rights, to help tackle insecure work, which the Tories have consistently failed to deliver. Usdaw provided evidence to the Low Pay Commission demonstrating that too many workers are reaching breaking point, with inflation remaining high. That’s why we need a new deal for workers that provides the highest possible increase to the minimum wage and more secure employment.
“We have called on the Low Pay Commission to be ambitious with this year’s recommendation for the headline rate and end rip-off youth rates. Workers are suffering high price rises across a range of essentials, especially food, which impacts every household. There is little sign of the pressure on working people easing as wages continue to lag behind rising prices, dragging living standards down. Today’s announcement does not go far enough.
“By contrast Labour has already committed to the legal minimum wage becoming a living wage and to deliver a comprehensive new deal for workers that will improve employment rights and tackle insecure work. Labour is pledged to deliver this in the first 100 days of coming. The failures of thirteen years of the Conservatives in government are clear for everyone to see, they are not offering the change our members need. Only a Labour Government can put Britain back on track.”
Labour’s New Deal for Workers includes:
  • An end to insecure employment, tackling short hours by giving workers contracts that reflect their normal hours and a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts.
  • Minimum wage to become a real living wage, with the full rate to be paid to all workers from 18 years old.
  • Introduction of a standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker along with legislation to tackle third-party harassment.
  • Single Enforcement Body to ensure targeted and proactive enforcement of workers’ rights.
  • Action to make apprenticeships accessible to more workers, especially people who are currently disadvantaged in the labour market.
  • Mental health care people need through 8,500 more mental health professionals, along with a plan to clear the Conservatives’ 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 350,000 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 www.usdaw.org.uk
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers