Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is today meeting with members of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) as they visit Ayr to hear evidence from low-paid workers.

Usdaw is urging the LPC to at least continue with increases that will take the National Living Wage (NLW) to the target 60% of median earnings by 2020. Also for young workers to be entitled to the NLW, which only covers workers aged 25 and over at the moment. That means almost a third of retail staff are excluded from it.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: 
“Usdaw members are today attending the LPC evidence session in Ayr to talk about the difficulties of making ends meet in low-paid employment. While the cost of living is rising sharply, wage growth has been sluggish, which is why we launched our Time for Better Pay campaign. Despite last week’s uprating, which was welcome, the minimum wage needs to increase significantly to address the squeeze on living standards and Usdaw continues to call for at least £10 per hour.

“We have very real concerns about hours of work as well as the rate of pay. Insecure work is a real problem for many. Those who are on zero-hours or short-hours contracts find it difficult to plan their finances as their income can vary week to week and is not guaranteed. Their employment is insecure and we want workers to have the right to contracted hours that match the average hours they work.

“Usdaw is also extremely concerned about the pay gap for young workers. For many young workers, being denied the so-called National Living Wage pay rate reinforces the already desperate position that they are experiencing. Usdaw’s evidence clearly shows that lower pay rates and greater insecurity of employment for young workers is a significant factor in the country’s mental health crisis.

“The Low Pay Commission makes evidence-based decisions and we welcome them giving our members a hearing today. Low pay is one of the biggest issues facing workers and the world of employment today.”

Usdaw’s Time for Better Pay campaign is calling for:

  • Young workers to be paid the full adult rate.
  • At least £10 per hour minimum wage rate.
  • A ban on zero-hours contracts.
  • Tackling short-hours contracts through a statutory minimum contract of 16
  • hours per week, for those who want it.
  • A statutory right to an employment contract that reflects an individual’s normal hours of work.

Usdaw’s Time for Better Pay petition:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 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.

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