Pay for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs including security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff is still 12.6% below its value in 2007 says GMB. GMB is supporting Decent Jobs Week running from 15th to 21st December which is organized by the TUC with a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about workers in precarious and low paid jobs struggling to make ends meet.
Events are planned to draw attention to the millions of workers in the UK trapped in low paid and insecure jobs. There are more than 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use, offering no steady work. Others, such as agency and casual workers, lose out on important rights and benefits.
Events in our region are planned as follows:
16 December Leeds 12.00 – 14.00 Leeds City Centre, Briggate.
20 December York 11.00 – 14.00 York City Centre, St Helen’s Square.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “In the run up to Christmas we need to focus on the working poor struggling to make ends meet on wages that have not kept pace with prices that are up by a quarter since 2007.
The welcome increase in the levels of economic activity is partly linked to population growth as GDP per head is still 3% below 2007 levels so many workers have seen no sign of the upturn.
The real value of take home pay for workers is 10.4% below pre–recession levels while many of the new jobs are precarious and badly paid.
It is the lowest paid who have been worst affected by the recession. The real value of earnings for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs in UK is still 12.6% below its value in 2007. This group of workers include security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff.
At the forthcoming General Election the Labour Party will offer hope of a better future in contract to the Tories who are offering another five years of despair with pay freezes and austerity”.
This is what five GMB members on low pay recently told the union: “Watching your money is always a stress, questioning yourself, do we need this? can we go without that? It’s a drain. Telling your children we can’t afford things when their friends have them is heart breaking when they are crying and feel left out.”
“I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don’t get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes.
“My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months.”
“If I could do less hours but have a higher rate of pay, then I would be happier. In my current position the workload for me has increased since 2008 but wages have not kept up. I used to work regular overtime until it was stopped. Now when I have done my work for the week, I am shattered, as I have to cram in more responsibilities into my hours for no more money. If I could revert back to doing less in my working day, then I would consider more hours. I’m not workshy, but my health has to be a major consideration.”
“Difficult! If something went wrong with my car I couldn’t commute to work nor could I buy a new one. The bus service costs too much to use daily and in my area is so unreliable I couldn’t in good faith tell my employer I would never be late. With the wages being so low at times I feel depressed as I’m working to just stay alive. What sort of life is it that you work until you die and have no enjoyment or anything to show for your time on the earth!”