The Workers Union is calling on the government to increase the National Minimum Wage. General Secretary Colin Mahoney accused them of ignoring the plight of workers on low wages or zero hours contracts. This comes on the day the government announced a pay rise for almost 900,000 public sector workers.
Mr Mahoney said: ‘Coronavirus has shown how much we rely on working people in times of crisis. While most of the UK was locked down at home, low-paid staff in key sectors were going to work. For many of us it’s impossible to imagine how difficult the working conditions must have been. And yet it didn’t stop these people putting themselves at risk to provide healthcare and essential services for the rest of us. Now it’s time to reward their selfless dedication and pay them a real living wage.’
Mr Mahoney also paid tribute to those who had become designated key workers during the crisis.
‘Shop workers and staff at distribution centres were the unsung heroes of lockdown. Now restrictions are easing it would be very difficult to forget their contribution to the nation’s recovery.’
The ‘living wage campaign’
The Workers Union is campaigning for an increase of the National Minimum Wage from £8.72 to at least £12 an hour for all ages. The union is also calling for ‘youth rates’ to be abolished. Mr Mahoney said that both demands were entirely reasonable and represented nothing more than working people deserved.
‘It may be difficult for ministers gorged on private money and chauffeured cars to grasp the reality of life for the low-paid. But job uncertainty, minimal to no sick pay and poor remuneration are common occurrences. Going to work should be a rewarding experience that builds self-esteem, skills and allows for a good standard of living. It should not mean misery, exploitation and struggling to make ends meet. The current offer is a derisory amount which shows that ministers are out of touch and out of time.
The history of our union is about protecting working people’s jobs and livelihoods. It’s a fundamental value that informs everything that we do. There is a real and pressing need to deal with this issue.’
The Workers Union
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The Workers Union – Britian’s hardest working union