New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

56 pence and all is well

by New Worker correspondent

TO REINFORCE the point about care workers leaving for supermarkets, on Monday GMB announced that it had secured a deal with supermarket chain Asda that their workers will now get £10.10 basic rate, an increase from £9.66.

National Officer Nadine Houghton said: “It is fantastic news that people working in Asda stores will have more money in their pockets. It is what they deserve and urgently needed with the rising cost of living.”

Just a few weeks earlier GMB denounced the fact that more than half Asda workers had been forced to use payday lenders, foodbanks, or borrow money from family and friends in the previous year.

These shocking facts came from a survey of 2,000 predominantly women working for Asda. Before the 56 pence per hour rise Asda was the worst-paying of the major supermarket chains.

The details of the survey show that 70 per cent found that the cost-of-living crisis is having a negative effect on their mental health, more than half had had to borrow money off family and friends in the last year, and more seriously 12 per cent resorted to a payday lender in the last year and eight percent per cent had used a foodbank. This in a company whose operating profits rose 42 percent to £693.1 million in 2021, in contrast to 2020 levels.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has also warned that decently paid jobs are vanishing and that the only growth areas in the jobs market are in unskilled, and therefore lower-paid, jobs.

Whilst it found that the number of vacancies has been at least 20 per cent above pre-pandemic levels since Autumn 2021, these are in lower-paid jobs. Vacancies for drivers were 80 per cent higher in the five months to February 2022, and vacancies for warehouse workers had doubled, whilst confirming Hft’s findings, nursing and midwifery jobs have declined when compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Xiaowei Xu, of the IFS, said this might be a long-term trend with more people getting into the habit of home deliveries after relying on them in the pandemic. What a great outlook for the working class.