Campaigning for decent jobs

THIS TUC this week has launched a nationwide campaign for decent jobs for the millions of people in Britain who are trapped in low-paid, insecure jobs.

Decent jobs week, from 15th to 21st December, will involve a series of events across England and Wales that will raise awareness about the plight of workers trapped low wage jobs.

There are more than 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use, offering no steady work. Others, such as agency and casual workers, lose out on important rights and benefits. The recovery is creating new jobs but many are of poor quality. As a result, more and more people struggle to pay their rent, mortgage and heat their homes.

Women and young workers are particularly affected. For millions of people in the Britain the best Christmas present of all would be a decent, secure job that pays well. That is why the TUC is campaigning for:

Bristol Trades Union Council is one of dozens around the country that will be campaigning for decent jobs this week. BTUC’s campaign starts in Kingswood on Saturday 20th December 2014.

Why Kingswood? Because it has the country’s highest percentage of workers paid less than the Living Wage.

This trades council will be setting up a stall just outside the covered area of Kings Chase Shopping Centre, Regent Street, between Boswells Café and the Post Boxes.

The Living Wage is the least that workers need to earn to meet their basic needs, and so it is set higher than the Minimum Wage. The Living Wage outside London is £7.85 per hour, and shockingly 48 per cent of all workers in Kingswood are paid less than this, for women the figure is 56 per cent.


Workers across the country are having their living standards squeezed, with workers in South Gloucestershire having had their average pay cut by 84 per cent in real terms since 2010.

This has happened because employers are exploiting the workers of Kingswood, more than anywhere else in the country, at a time when jobs are hard to come by. Bristol Trades Union Council and the TUC want to help workers in Kingswood fight for Decent Jobs.

By Decent Jobs, they mean jobs that are secure, have guaranteed hours, and pay rates on or above the Living Wage.

Where workers are organised together in a trade union they tend to get better pay and conditions.

In those shops, factories and offices where there are no trade unions, some employers can set worker against worker driving down wages with poor working conditions and at worst forcing workers into zero-hours contracts.

As part of the same campaign the Communication Workers’ union is fighting to close the loophole that are being used by employers to deny a new generation of agency workers hard won rights to equal treatment.

Workers on zero-hours contracts earn nearly £300 a week less than permanent employees, according to a new TUC report.

Average weekly earnings for zero-hour workers are £188, compared with £479 for permanent staff, found the report by union organisation the TUC.

The TUC based its report on unpublished data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Zero-hours contracts mean employees work only when they are needed by employers, often at short notice. Their pay depends on how often they work. The TUC said its research also found that zero-hours workers were five times more likely to not qualify for statutory sick pay than permanent workers due to their lower level of pay.

“If the UK doesn’t create more well paid jobs with regular hours we will continue to have a two-tier workforce where many people are stuck in working poverty,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.