Living Wage Foundation, a leading campaigning body in the UK that aims to push employers into paying a living wage, has reportedly raised the national ‘real living wage’ by 40p to £9.90 per hour, benefitting more than 300,000 workers across the UK that will receive a raise in pay soon. This move comes amid growing fears regarding a squeeze on the households incomes for this winter season.
As per the foundation's minimum hourly rate increase, workers in London will have their pay boost by 20p, making London workers, whose employers had voluntarily signed up for the pay measure, receive a minimum wage of £11.05 per hour. It is reported that this change will apply to more than 9,000 employers in the country.
This has put the UK government under immense pressure as it faces growing criticism over purported cuts to the universal credit scheme and its proposed plan to elevate taxes on workers in 2022.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC), stated that the figures put forth by the Living Wage Foundation signify that the government needs to take urgent action and raise the legal minimum wage to £10 per hour, while also banning zero-hours contracts and allow trade union more access to workplaces so they can negotiate for improved pay deals.
O’Grady added that modern Britain is rife with low pay, where millions have jobs that do not provide enough to pay their bills or put food on their table.
The real living wage, which is used by employers including Aviva, Taylor Wimpey, and the football club Everton, will now be higher than the government’s national wage by almost £1. The National Living Wage currently is £8.91 per hour for individuals above the age of 23.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had stated that the national minimum wage will rise to £9.50 next April during the annual budget announcement that took place last month.
The Living Wage Foundation calculates the living wage according to what people need to survive, which includes costs of food, rent, energy, and fuel. It has been reported that the rise in fuel costs as well as rent, has mostly driven up this year’s hourly rates.
However, the charity has warned that as many as 5 million workers in Britain are at risk of severe hardship as they earn less than the rate. This makes them extremely vulnerable to increasing energy bills and rising inflation for the coming cold season.
Katherine Chapman, director of the foundation, stated that higher pay needs to be at the center of Britain’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. With millions trapped in working poverty, including the social care workers and cleaners that were hailed as ‘essential’ during the pandemic.