From The Guardian: More than 500,000 British workers have been swept into working poverty over the past five years, according to a report that shows the number of people with a job but living below the breadline has risen faster than employment.
In the latest sign that the link between entering work and making ends meet has become increasingly frayed in 21st-century Britain, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that the number of workers in poverty hit 4 million last year, meaning about one in eight in the economy are now classified as working poor.
Nearly all of the increase comes as growing numbers of working parents find it harder to earn enough money to pay for food, clothing and accommodation due to weak wage growth, an erosion of welfare support and tax credits and the rising cost of living.
Half a million more children have become trapped in poverty over the past five years as a direct consequence, reaching 4.1 million last year, the charity’s report added. It means that in a typical classroom of 30 children, nine would come from a household in poverty.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said: “We are seeing a rising tide of child poverty as more parents are unable to make ends meet, despite working. This is unacceptable.”
[Read full article on Guardian website…]
From the Daily Mirror: Almost 3,000 Ministry of Justice workers are paid less than the Real Living Wage, damning new figures reveal.
[Read article on Mirror website…]
From Welfare Weekly: The SNP has called on the UK government to “end age discrimination” in minimum wage rates at the Budget.
David Linden, one of the youngest MPs at Westminster, has written to the Chancellor demanding the UK government “stop discriminating against young people” and change the law to ensure that all workers are entitled to a real Living Wage – currently £8.75 in Scotland, £10.20 in London.
Under current UK legislation, younger workers can be discriminated against with lower wages, despite doing the same job.
Since 1st April 2018, workers over the age of 25 are entitled to a minimum wage of at least £7.83 an hour, while those aged 21 to 24 are only entitled to £7.38 an hour, those aged 18 to 20 only £5.90 an hour, those under 18 just £4.20 an hour, and apprentices can be paid as little as £3.70 an hour.
The 28-year-old SNP MP for Glasgow East, who left school at the age of 16 to work as an apprentice, said the UK government had “failed younger people” by refusing to change the law – leaving younger workers thousands of pounds a year worse off.
David Linden said: “Millions of families across the UK have suffered from falling wages and squeezed incomes under the past decade of Tory austerity – but younger workers have also faced discriminatory minimum wages rates, meaning they can legally be paid less for doing the same job.”
From Daily Mirror: Pay rises for a million public sector workers are NOT as good as what independent experts demanded – with many of them still behind the 2.3% inflation rate.
[Read article on Mirror website…]
From The Independent: Dominic Raab, Theresa May’s new Brexit secretary, previously called for Britain to use negotiations with the EU to scrap workers’ rights.
[Read article on Independent website…]
From Morning Star: Zero-hours contracts have risen to nearly two million in Britain, with one in 12 young people working uncertain hours.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the figures, published today, increased from 1.7m to 1.8m in the year to last November and represents 6 per cent of all contracts.
Of these, the ONS has reported, 901,000 workers are on zero-hours contracts as some are forced to work more than one.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Most people are not on zero-hours contracts by choice. They want the same rights, security and guaranteed hours as other employees.
“More than half of zero-hours contract workers have had jobs cancelled with less than a day’s notice. Zero-hours contracts are a licence to treat people like disposable labour and the government should ban them.”
[Read full article on Morning Star website…]
From The Guardian: The number of zero-hours contracts in use across the UK rose by about 100,000 last year, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics, said the number of employment contracts without a minimum number of guaranteed hours increased to 1.8m in the year to November, up from 1.7m in 2016.
People on zero hours contracts are more likely to be young, women, students or those in part-time employment. Although some like the potential flexibility, about a quarter of people want to work more hours, compared with only 7.3% of people in other forms of employment.
A survey from the TUC found more than half of workers on zero-hours contracts have had shifts cancelled less than 24 hours before they were due to begin.
[Read full article on Guardian website…]
From the TUC: A plot by #Tory ministers to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK reported today could deny paid holidays to millions of workers, and make long working weeks the norm, the TUC has said.
The Sunday Times and Sun both report plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit.
Losing the protections of the directive means that:
- 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays – 4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts.
- Even more workers could be forced by bosses to work weeks longer than 48 hours.
- Workers could lose the right to lunch and rest breaks.
- Night workers could lose some health and safety protections.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.
Have you felt a tiny twang of sympathy for Theresa May recently? Lose it instantly by watching this interview
Jon Snow asks her why the Magic Money Tree bloomed to fund the £1 billion deal with the DUP to keep the Tories in power, while we’re told nothing can done about the public sector pay cap.
From BBC News: Fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims have been ruled unlawful, and the government will now have to repay up to £32m to claimants.
The Tory government introduced fees of up to £1,200 in 2013.
Government statistics showed 79% fewer cases were brought over three years – trade union Unison said the fees prevented workers accessing justice.
The Supreme Court ruled the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.”
From the Daily Mirror: As millions of public sector workers he claims are “overpaid” struggle to meet household bills, Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond enjoys a rent-free life in homes paid for with taxpayer cash.
Read full article on Daily Mirror website…
From Welfare Weekly: Young people on zero-hours contracts are less likely to be in good health and more likely to suffer from mental health problems, according to the findings of a new study published today.
Researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, based at the University College London, analysed data from more than 7,700 people living in England who were born in 1989-90 as part of its ‘Next Steps‘ study.
Those aged under the age of 25 and in zero-hours employment were less likely to report they were feeling healthy, when compared to those in secure employment.
Zero-hours employment is notoriously insecure and the contracts offer no guarantee of hours, and those on the contracts are often denied the same rights as other workers in more secure employment.
From The Canary: Watch Theresa May say to a nurse whose real wages are going down: “I’m being honest with you in terms of saying that we will put more money into the NHS but there isn’t a Magic Money Tree we can shake that suddenly provides everything that people want.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s richest 1,000 families are well on their way to tripling their wealth since the financial crisis, while austerity bites the rest of us. Since 2009, the top 1,000 families have increased their fortune by over 155%.
[Read full article with video on The Canary website…]
From The New Statesman: Theresa May opposed the introduction of many of these rights as a backbencher and shadow minister; and that several of her Cabinet ministers have spoken about their desire to reduce employment protections, one even calling for them to be halved last year. The government has even announced it is looking at removing the right to strike from transport workers, which would contradict their May’s promise to protect workers’ rights before we’ve even left the EU.
[Read full column on New Statesman website…]