The Low Pay Commission visits Ayr

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Low paid workers in South Ayrshire gave evidence to members of the Low Pay Commission when they visited Ayr last week.

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw was among those meeting the LPC, urging it to continue to increase the national living wage to the target 60% of median earnings by 2020 and to expand the national living wage to workers under the age of 25.

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw members attended the LPC evidence session in Ayr to talk about the difficulties of making ends meet in low-paid employment. While the cost of living is rising sharply, wage growth has been sluggish, which is why we launched our Time for Better Pay campaign.

“The Low Pay Commission makes evidence-based decisions and we welcome them giving our members a hearing. Low pay is one of the biggest issues facing workers. The minimum wage needs to increase significantly and Usdaw continues to call for at least £10 per hour.”

Usdaw is calling for: young workers to be paid the full adult rate; a £10 per hour minimum wage rate; a ban on zero-hours contracts; a statutory minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for those who want it; and employment contracts that reflect individual’s normal hours of work.

“We have very real concerns about hours of work as well as the rate of pay,” added Mr Lillis.

“Insecure work is a real problem for many. Those who are on zero-hours or short-hours contracts find it difficult to plan their finances as their income can vary week to week and is not guaranteed. Their employment is insecure and we want workers to have the right to contracted hours that match the average hours they work.

“Usdaw is also extremely concerned about the pay gap for young workers. For many young workers, being denied the so-called National Living Wage pay rate reinforces the already desperate position that they are experiencing. Usdaw’s evidence clearly shows that lower pay rates and greater insecurity of employment for young workers is a significant factor in the country’s mental health crisis.”