Around one in three key (33%) workers earn less than £10 an hour according to analysis by the TUC.
- Analysis published alongside the new minimum and living wage rates
- Union body calls on ministers to raise minimum wage to £10 an hour
The analysis reveals that around 3.2 million key workers are paid less than £10 an hour. This makes it harder to pay bills and put food on the table, says the TUC.
Key workers being paid less than £10 an hour include:
- Retail workers: Three-quarters (75%) of retail workers are paid less than £10 an hour. That’s around 1 million retail assistants, cashiers and shelf fillers.
- Carers: More than three in five (62%) (440,000) carers earn under £10 an hour.
- Teaching assistants: Nearly seven in 10 (69%) (340,000) teaching and education support assistants are paid less than £10 an hour.
The TUC argues that all key workers deserve a “decent” pay rise as they have been expected to continue to work throughout lockdown and local restrictions, during the height of the pandemic.
The union body says that retail workers have been keeping essential shops going, often in conditions that don’t allow for proper social distancing. And care workers have been looking after some of the most vulnerable – and putting themselves at risk to do so.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our shop assistants, carers and school support staff have worked around the clock to keep the country going through the pandemic – often at great personal risk to their health”.
“But those expecting a decent pay increase… have been let down by the government’s decision to row back on the full rise they were promised”.
“Ministers must get the minimum wage up to £10 an hour to stop millions of working people from living in poverty.”
In November the TUC warned that public sector key workers were being paid over £1,000 less today than a decade ago: www.tuc.org.uk/news/public-sector-key-workers-paid-over-ps1000-less-today-decade-ago
In the spending review in November the chancellor announced that he would freeze public sector pay this year. This follows a decade of pay freezes and caps. Public sector pay was frozen from 2011-13 and then capped at a 1% annual increase until 2018.