Britain’s hard-pressed workforce needs a big pay rise, as wages are still lagging behind the current rate of inflation, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Tuesday 18 February).
Unite, while welcoming this month’s dip in the consumer prices index to 1.9 per cent, said that the biggest issue holding back economic recovery was the lack of demand in people’s wallets and purses.
The union called on the corporate sector, which is sitting on a cash mountain of £500 billion, to take the lead in investing in new projects and be more generous with pay awards.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The plain fact is that millions of people in the UK are struggling to make ends meet because of the escalating cost of living crisis.
“Wage costs are being held down by employers who are imposing pay freezes and pay cuts, using zero hours contracts and relying on part-time workers who want full-time jobs.
“Thousands of people using food banks are in work, but being paid poverty wages, while household bills are going through the roof.
“It takes a person on the national minimum wage, on average, 140 days to pay their gas bill.
“Britain’s hard pressed workforce needs a big pay rise to put money into people’s pockets – and the corporate sector needs to take the lead as it is sitting on a £500 billion cash mountain, which has caused concern for treasury secretary Danny Alexander.
“The latest figures reveal that average wages are bumping along the bottom at 0.9 per cent, which is half the rate of the CPI index.
“The dip in inflation is to be welcomed, but the other side of the equation is the need for an urgent boost to pay packets.”
Unite has repeatedly called for a £1.50 per hour hike in the national minimum wage, currently £6.31 an hour.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.