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Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Kay Sillars k.sillars@unison.co.uk - For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Pay in Working Class Jobs

Millions of employees in lower and middle income jobs have had real pay reductions over the last ten years.

The TUC has analysed occupational hourly pay. This work shows that, while changes to the minimum wage have helped the lowest paid, millions of other workers have experienced a real pay cut since 2010. 

The TUC is undertaking a series of analyses looking at class in Britain to support the trade union movement's work to advance "the general interests of the working classes.". The reports will look define class through occupation and pay. Going forward they will also look at the experience of class inside and outside or work including "issues of status and respect, control and voice. 

This first report focuses on pay and should support the work of trade unions to build a new deal for working people. 


While the lowest earners, that is those below £9.55 per hour (less than 75% of median pay) have seen a 5% pay increase since 2010 low to middle earners have experienced a 1% pay cut, Low to middle pay is defined as 75%-100% of median pay: £9.56 to £12.73 per hour. 

In the previous decade lowest earners experienced a 10% pay rise and low to middle earners a 7% rise. The minimum wage has made a big difference to the lowest paid but the TUC report shows that without strong trade unions it has been difficult to ensure that improved pay is more widely shared among those stile earning below the median. 

Those earning £26 per hour or more have seen their pay increase by 4%. 
The biggest groups of those earning below the median rate now work in care and retail. Women and black and minority ethnic workers are over represented in the worst paid jobs and are underrepresented in the higher paid groups. 

The New Deal

• The rate for the job and fair pay for everyone
• New rights so that workers can be protected by a union in every workplace, and when
we use social media, so that nobody has to face their employer alone
• New rights for workers to bargain through our unions for fair pay and conditions across
industries, ending the race to the bottom
• A £10 an hour national minimum wage and an end to discrimination against young
• Workers to be elected onto remuneration committees to help curb greed at the top
• Legal requirements on employers to report on and act to close race, gender and
disability pay gaps
• Support for the genuinely self-employed while calling for a ban on zero hours contracts
and false self-employment
• A right to reasonable notice of your shifts, and payment if your shifts are cancelled
• A move to a shorter working time with no loss of pay, starting with four new bank
holidays a year, and setting an ambition for a four-day week
• A right to positive flexible working from day one of your job, with employers required
to advertise all jobs on that basis
• A decent floor of rights for all workers and the return of protection from unfair
dismissal to millions of working people. 

The only way to deliver on these aims is to build strong trade unions. 

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