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One in three key workers earns less than £10/hour

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Written by: Emma Lunn
31/03/2021
A third (33%) of key workers earn less than £10 an hour, according to analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The news comes the day before the new national living wage (NLW) and national minimum wage (NMW) rates come into force .

Key workers being paid less than £10 an hour include retail workers, carers and teaching assistants.

Three-quarters (75%) of retail workers are paid less than £10 an hour – this equates to about 1 million retail assistants, cashiers and shelf fillers.

More than three in five (62%) carers earn less than £10 an hour, while nearly seven in 10 (69%) 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.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, 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 tomorrow 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.”

The National Living Wage (for over 23s) and National Minimum Wage (for those of at least school leaving age) go up from £8.72 to £8.91 from 1 April.

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