UNISON adds voice to north east living wage campaign
(09/11/12) UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis will add his voice to calls for the living wage in the north east today, when he addresses a Northern TUC conference in Middlesbrough.
"Our campaign for a living wage makes economic sense. It builds on the minimum wage that this union was instrumental in establishing," he will tell delegates.
"It helps eradicate in-work poverty, it raises living standards for millions of families and works towards a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
"Studies have shown that the living wage raises morale and productivity, and cuts turnover and absenteeism. And local economies benefit as workers have more money to spend in local shops and businesses."
Mr Prentis says that "there can be no argument that can justify poverty wages in the 21st century."
The Northern TUC is holding its conference on 'Wages, Poverty and Pay Day Loans: the reality of austerity' during Living Wage Week, to highlight and understand the scale of in-work poverty in the region.
The conference, which will be chaired by UNISON regional convenor and chair of the TUC women's group Clare Williams, will hear that:
- the majority of children living in poverty are in households where at least one person is in work;
- £6bn each year is spent in benefits and tax credits to top up the wages of low-paid employees;
- over 90% of new housing benefit claims are made by people in work;
- If the national minimum wage had increased in line with top earners, it would be more than £19 per hour today;
- more than one in five workers in the north east earn less than a living wage of £7.45 per hour.
The event will culminate with the Kenny Bell Memorial Lecture, which will be given by John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want.
UNISON and the Living Wage
UNISON Northern region