Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s speech by Jeremy Corbyn that commits the next Labour Government to delivering a £10 minimum wage for all workers. This would deliver a key aim of Usdaw’s ‘Time for Better Pay’ campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a baseline £10 an hour for all workers, which he said will “be nothing less than life-changing” for young workers, who would earn £2,500 more each year:
“Equal pay for equal work is hardly a controversial idea, so why are we discriminating against young people? You don’t get a discount at the shops for being under 18, but if the person serving you on the other side of the counter is young, they could be on half the wage of their colleagues. It’s time to end this discrimination. Young people’s work should be properly valued, not exploited by employers to cut their wage bill. If they’re doing the job, pay them the wage.”

Usdaw’s survey of 2,000 workers under the age of 27 showed that:

  • Over the past five years, 44% of young workers have seen no improvement in their financial situation.
  • Over the past 12 months, 85% of young workers have had to borrow money to pay everyday bills.
  • Young workers are 50% more likely to rely on insecure hours than their older colleagues.
  • 72% of young workers believe that financial worries are having an impact on their mental health.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Going to work should mean a decent standard of living for all young workers. Usdaw rejects the view that retail work is just a ‘stop gap’ for young people and is campaigning to ensure that young workers are treated properly. Under 27s are more likely to be working hours that are not guaranteed in their contract and therefore need protection against insecure work. They are also more likely to be paid less than older colleagues.

“Usdaw has campaigned for years to abolish youth rates. As a result of our hard work, youth rates no longer exist in companies like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Morrisons. So Labour’s commitment, as set out by Jeremy Corbyn today, is very much in line with what we’ve been able to achieve in trade union organised workplaces. It is only right there is a level playing field across all employers and that can only be achieved through minimum wage regulations.”

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.
  • Tackling zero and 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: www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP

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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