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Almost one in five food workers have gone hungry during the pandemic, new study finds

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union's findings show 40% of staff in the industry had eaten less than they should because of a lack of cash over the past year

A SHOCKING new study has suggested almost one in five food workers have gone hungry because of a lack of money during the pandemic. 

The Right to Food report, published by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) today, shows 40 per cent of staff in the industry had eaten less than they should because of a lack of cash over the past year. 

Testimony from union members showed more than a fifth of workers relied on food from friends and relatives, while 7 per cent had experience of using foodbanks. 

A male food production worker told the study he was stuck on a minimum-wage zero-hours contract, which has led to “a very difficult and unhealthy situation at home.” 

The findings were unveiled at an STUC congress fringe event calling for new “right to food” legislation.

The BFAWU said that the scale of food poverty among food workers was “shameful” and represented a clear need to “enshrine the right to food in law.”

BFAWU general secretary Sarah Woolley said: “Our report highlights the shameful truth of food poverty in the food industry.

“No-one should go without food in the sixth-richest country in the world, yet, shamefully, too many food workers are struggling to earn enough to purchase the very food they produce.

“The pandemic has shone a light on the real key workers in this country — we can’t allow them to be failed any longer. We can’t sit back while people are struggling to survive.

“The time is right for the right to food to be enshrined in law, to make food truly accessible, affordable, healthy, safe to eat and fairly produced by well-paid and protected staff throughout the food sector.”

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