Paddy Lillis, General Secretary of the shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw, has today launched the ‘time for better pay’ petition on the .gov website, seeking 100,000 signatures to secure a Government response and possible parliamentary debate.

The petition can be accessed at: Usdaw 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.

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.
  • A minimum contract of 16 hours per week for everyone who wants it.
  • A contract based on an individual’s normal hours of work.
  • An end to zero-hours contracts.

Usdaw’s survey of over 10,500 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.

Paddy Lillis says:
“Going out to work should mean a decent standard of living for everyone. 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 to deliver an economy which works in favour of all working people. Through a petition to Government we are seeking to force the Government to respond directly to our calls.

“Usdaw has always been committed to tackling the issues of low pay and insecure work. We were a major driving force behind the creation of the National Minimum Wage and have always made strong cases for increases in the rates. Unfortunately, the increasing use of short and zero hours contracts and the rising cost of living means that minimum wage rates just no longer guarantee enough money for people to live on.

“We have launched the ‘time for better pay’ petition to make our members’ voices heard and politicians listen to our calls for a £10 minimum wage, normal hours contracts, 16 hour minimum contracts for those who want them and an end to zero hours contracts.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 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.

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