More than 450,000 key workers in the North West earn less than £10 an hour – TUC

  • On May Day, TUC calls for a pay rise for all key workers
  • TUC outlines five ways the government can “really thank” frontline workers

More than 4 in 10 key workers in the North West – over 450,000 people – are paid less than £10 an hour, according to new TUC analysis published today (Friday).

Trade unionists around the country are marking May Day – also known as International Workers’ Day – with an online #ThankAWorker action, expressing gratitude to key workers who have made a difference to them during lockdown.

But the TUC believes that, as well as thanking workers, ministers must do more to improve their pay and conditions.

Underpaid and insecure

New TUC analysis, published today, reveals that nationally:

  • Nearly 4 in 10 key workers – an estimated 3.7 million people – are paid less than £10 an hour, compared to 3 in 10 non-key workers.
  • Women are much more likely than men to be key workers and, when they are, are much more likely to be on low pay. Of an estimated 9.8 million key workers, nearly two-thirds are women. And 2.5 million women key workers earn less than £10 an hour.
  • In social care, 7 in 10 workers earn less than £10 an hour.

Many key workers are also trapped in insecure work, without guaranteed hours and often missing out on basic rights like sick pay. For example, 1 in 4 workers in adult social care – one of the sectors hit hardest by the virus – are on zero-hours contracts, which mean their hours of work and pay packets can vary significantly.

Recognising key workers’ contribution

In recognition of the contribution of key workers during this period, the TUC is calling on government to:

  1. Increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour for everyone now.
  2. Deliver fair pay rises for our key workers and rewards for workers across the economy that restore what they’ve lost through ten years of cuts and slow growth.
  3. Ban zero-hours contracts and stamp out false self-employment
  4. Increase sick pay to the real living wage and make sure everyone can get it from day one.
  5. Bring outsourced workers like cleaners in the NHS back into the public sector on public sector terms and conditions.

TUC Regional Secretary Jay McKenna said:

“Everyone who’s kept Britain going through this pandemic deserves a pay rise.

“Frontline workers are putting their own health on the line to look after the rest of us. They’re caring for the sick and vulnerable, getting us to work, keeping our shelves stocked and our vital services running.

“Now it’s time for ministers to give key workers a proper thank you. And that means getting money into their pockets now.

“The government must give all key workers the pay, conditions and respect they deserve. That’s how to really thank the people who got us through this crisis.”

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