Living wage increase leaves many thousands of health and care staff behind

Ministers must give a well-earned pay rise to all those caring for us

woman holding living wage sign

Commenting on the increase in real living wage rates – to £9.50 (and £10.85 in London) – announced today (Monday) by the Living Wage Foundation, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“While some 250,000 low-paid workers will get a wage rise today, many others on the Covid frontline will be less fortunate.

“Care staff working in homes and out in the community remain stuck on poverty pay, despite vital work supporting society’s most vulnerable throughout the pandemic.

“Today’s increase also means thousands of the lowest paid health workers employed by the NHS – cleaners, domestics, porters, security staff and drivers – no longer earn a living wage.

“Their colleagues working on outsourced NHS contracts fare even worse. Most employed by private contractors are on the minimum wage, and lowly statutory sick pay if they get the virus or need to isolate.

“It’s time the government did the right thing and gave a well-earned pay rise to all those caring for us, running essential local services and keeping us safe while the virus rages.

“That’s the best way of thanking them all for everything they do and protecting our vital public services.”

Notes to editors:
– The real living wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually (and is different from the government’s national living minimum wage, currently £8.72 an hour for those aged over 25).
– The UK living wage for outside of London from today is £9.50 per hour. The London living wage is £10.85 per hour. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and employers choose to pay the living wage on a voluntary basis.
– Living Wage Week runs from 9-15 November 2020. It is a UK-wide celebration of the almost 7,000 employers that have voluntarily committed to ensure employees and sub-contracted staff earn a real living wage.
– NHS staff employed on the bottom point of salary band two (the lowest of pay scales in the NHS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland currently earn £9.21 an hour. The lowest hourly rate of pay in the NHS in Scotland is £9.45. Band two staff living in London will still earn more than the London living wage.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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