Let’s spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands working over the festive period and show them real support in 2021 says STUC

December 24th 2020

Let’s spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands working over the festive period and show them real support in 2021 says STUC

December 24th 2020

Tens of thousands of key workers will be working on Christmas Day to keep health, care and other vital services running. Still tens of thousands more will be working on Boxing Day as a range of retail outlets, deemed essential, re-open. The Scottish Government has also not yet heeded STUC’s calls for non-essential workplaces, such as manufacturing and construction, to close.

STUC’s General Secretary Roz Foyer stated

“After nine months of sacrifice, many of Scotland’s key workers will not even benefit from the partial relaxation of rules on Christmas Day because they will be at their work. Still many more will be back at work on Boxing Day.

“The typical key worker earns £1 an hour less than the typical earner in a non-key occupation. In the last decade, the wage gap between key workers and non-key workers across the UK has grown from 5% in 2010 to 9% last year.

“I hope that in 2021 we can convert the gratitude that we all feel for key workers across our economy into a meaningful pay rise which recognises the importance of the work they do, crisis or no crisis.

And she voiced concerns for the thousands of retail workers due to work from Boxing Day onwards.

“The last thing we need, particularly given the threat of the new strain of the virus, would be for a rush of people to retail outlets after Christmas. Employers must prioritise the health and safety of all staff and shoppers should respect that too. A poorly managed reopening could be very damaging to both workers, and the public health of our communities.”

Notes:

• Across the UK, fully a third of key workers earn £10 an hour or less.

• The typical key worker earns £1 an hour less than the typical earner in a non-key occupation (£12.26 p/h compared to £13.26)

• Following a decade of austerity, the wage gap between key workers and non-key workers across the UK has grown from 5% in 2010 to 9% last year

• Keyworkers are more likely to be female

• Across the UK, 71% of key workers in the food sector earn £10 an hour or less. Almost 30% were born outside the UK. These workers include farm workers, food processors, shopkeepers such as bakers, and supermarket staff. Last year the median food sector employee earned just £8.59 an hour, only 38 pence higher than the then minimum wage of £8.21 (as of April 1 the minimum wage is £8.72)

• In Scotland, 43% of retail and wholesale workers are paid less than the real living wage. This compares to 17% across the Scottish economy.

• The lowest NHS pay band for a nurse is under £20,000

ENDS

For more information, please contact Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, on 07891026870.

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