One in six Atherstone workers get less than real living wage including key coronavirus frontline staff

  Posted: 04.04.20 at 11:22 by Nick Hudson

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NEW SURVEY SHOWS HUNDREDS OF JOBS DUBBED CRITICAL TO COVID-19 FIGHT IN FOUNDATION’S ‘BELOW’ BRACKET

ONE in six Atherstone and district employees earn less than the so-called “real living wage” calculated by the charity the Living Wage Foundation.

They include hundreds of key workers dubbed critical to the fight against the coronavirus crisis by the Government, such as carers, hospital cleaners and porters and teaching assistants.

A new survey shows that approximately 8,000 jobs in North Warwickshire – 16.9 per cent of the borough's employed population – get less than the Living Wage Foundation rate of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 if you work inside London).

Over the last five years the estimated percentage of worker in Atherstone and beyond who fell below the RLW line was almost a quarter in 2014 (23.2 per cent) and encompassed 10,000 workers the following year.

The percentage of employees experiencing financial penury has slowly decreased since 2014.

Atherstone is faring better than neighbouring Nuneaton and Bedworth whose percentage of workers earning less than the RLW in 2015 was nearly a third (31.4 per cent) with 13,000 employees in that category.

Last year Nuneaton and Bedworth saw those figures fall to 22.1 per cent still below the recommended rate – a total of 9,000 workers.

The scheme is separate to the statutory National Living Wage, which is the legally-binding hourly rate for workers aged 25 and over. The government raised the National Living Wage to £8.72 an hour this week.

The GMB union said the coronavirus crisis had shone a light on the “rock-bottom pay” of the people “expected to risk their health to protect us”. It says more than three million workers could be affected and called for key workers’ wages to be raised.

Economists have, however, urged against further wage rises before the full toll of the crisis is clear.

Increases in the statutory minimum wage rates kicked in from Wednesday.

The statutory rate for over-25s – the national living wage – went up from £8.21 an hour to £8.72, while the national minimum wage from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21- to 24-year-olds, from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18- to 20-year-olds and from £4.35 to £4.55 for under-18s.

The hourly rate for apprentices increases from £3.90 to £4.15.

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