Retail trade union leader Paddy Lillis has welcomed today’s increase in Living Wage rates, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, and continues to call for at least £10 per hour for workers of all ages.

The Living Wage Foundation has today announced new rates for the ‘real’ Living wage of £9.50 per hour and a higher rate of £10.85 in London. The Government’s so-called ‘National Living Wage’ is currently £8.72, with lower National Minimum Wage rates for younger workers.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“If ever there was a year that low-paid workers deserved a pay rise it’s 2020. Many of the key workers who have helped us through this appalling pandemic earn less than the real Living Wage. While claps on a Thursday were welcomed and appreciated, they don’t pay the rent or put food on the table. So we welcome the new Living Wage rates, which are based on an individual’s cost of living and clearly show that the Government’s so-called ‘National Living Wage’ is nothing of the sort.

“Usdaw has consistently campaigned for at least £10 per hour for all workers over 16, which would abolish rip-off youth rates. If you’re old enough to do the job, you’re old enough to be paid the rate for the job. As a result of our efforts, youth rates no longer exist in companies like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Morrisons.

“As recognised by the Living Wage Foundation’s ‘Living Hours’ campaign, improving hourly pay alone is not enough. We need to look at security of employment, availability of hours and guaranteed contracts, to ensure workers have a weekly income that they can live on. That is why Usdaw is campaigning for a New Deal for Workers to help ensure that our coronavirus recovery delivers workplace fairness.

“We are expecting the Low Pay Commission to announce their recommendations for next year’s minimum wage rates anytime soon and we hope they will follow the example of the Living wage Foundation. Usdaw is calling for a rise in line with the commitment to two-thirds of median earnings, which should be seen as the minimum required to recognise the outstanding contributions of our key workers.

“It is now time for the Government to recognise that too many workers have been undervalued for too long. We need a new deal for the workers.”

Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers

  • £10 minimum wage for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • 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.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide the necessary safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers from refusing to engage with trade unions.

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 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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