03/06/2020 - Key workers are feeling underpaid and undervalued

underpaidandundervaluedwebNHS workers, carers, emergency workers, frontline council workers, school support staff, nursery workers, retail workers, transport, contact centre, low paid factory workers and the ‘unseen’ public service workers may be getting recognition from ordinary people just now but the bosses are still not valuing or paying them as they should.

The "Thursday clap" is not enough.

Every one of us needs to press for pay rises for key workers and oppose any return to the austerity that led to our systems being so weak in the face of this crisis.

Analysis reveals that:

• Across the UK, fully a third of key workers earn £10 an hour or less.

• The typical key worker earns £1 an hour less than the typical earner in a non-key occupation (£12.26 p/h compared to £13.26)

• Following a decade of austerity, the wage gap between key workers and non-key workers across the UK has grown from 5% in 2010 to 9% last year

• Keyworkers are more likely to be female.

• Across the UK, 71% of key workers in the food sector earn £10 an hour or less.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity said:

"People are hungry for change. We can't go back to the way things were. This crisis has shown who we really rely on and how they have been undervalued in the past. It's not just key workers either though they are the starkest case."

"After recognising the value of so many workers we cannot return to 'business as usual’. If we value these people, we have to give them the means to live dignified lives. Pay should be raised and cuts to services reversed. We can choose to support all of our workers who keep food on our plate and the other things we require every day and often take for granted. Solidarity supports the call by the Scottish TUC for a £10 minimum wage. That in itself is not enough though. Only by joining a union and combining with others will workers increase pay beyond a minimum and get better conditions."