MORE than half of retail workers have seen their pay stay the same or decrease in spite of the Tories’ so-called living wage, a survey unveiled at Usdaw conference yesterday suggests.
Almost a quarter (22 per cent) of respondents to a survey carried out by the shop workers’ union said they were receiving some sort of state benefits to top up their pay.
The conference heard calls for “more prosecutions and bigger fines” to tackle unscrupulous bosses and the union reaffirmed its support for a £10 an hour baseline rate — which is now Labour Party policy.
“We need to look beyond the current legal minimum,” Usdaw deputy general secretary Paddy Lillis told the hall.
“Collective bargaining is still the best route we have to get a better deal for working people.
“We must be tough on low pay and tough on the causes of low pay.”
The survey, which was filled in by 4,342 Usdaw members via email, found that 37 per cent were being paid less than £7.20 an hour before the new minimum wage was introduced by former chancellor George Osborne last year. The rate is now £7.50 an hour, but it only applies to over-25s.
It is also significantly lower than the independently assessed “real living wage,” which stands at £9.75 in London and £8.45 in the rest of the country.
The conference also resolved to ramp up the fight against underemployment, hearing warnings that too many retail workers were undervalued.
“Part-time employment is a choice for some, but for many across the country wages are just too low,” said Barnstaple delegate Susannah Roye.