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Scottish Trades Union Congress 2020 ‘Claps and rainbows don’t pay the bills’

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer calls on Scottish and Welsh governments to give front line workers a decent pay rise

POVERTY pay has no place on the front line against Covid-19, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary will warn today as she calls for a wage rise for key workers.

In her keynote address to delegates at this year’s STUC congress, Roz Foyer will call on governments in Scotland and Westminster to bring forward decent pay rises for front-line workers.

The STUC is demanding an immediate £2 uplift for all key workers and an increase to at least £10 an hour in the minimum wage for workers of all ages. 

Alongside public-service workers such as NHS staff, carers, retail workers, cleaning and transport workers, an army of other workers including benefits and tax workers deserve recognition having worked from home to keep services alive.

The STUC says that the £25 billion increase in wealth among British billionaires during the pandemic could fund a pay rise of £2 per hour for every key worker in Britain. 

Ms Foyer will say: “Let’s not forget that although many of these crucial and highly skilled workers are still exhausted from the first wave, they’re being asked to do more, go faster, and reach further, in their work to take care of us, all over again. 

“Key workers are the cornerstone of our economy and our society. They keep people fed, healthy and cared for, and able to access the basic goods and services they need to live.

“Claps and rainbows don’t pay the bills.”

Ahead of analysis published next week, the STUC warns of the extent of low pay for key staff, with over a third of workers in Scotland in this category. 

Thirty-four per cent of key workers in Scotland are paid under £10 an hour, while the low pay highlights existing gender inequalities, with women twice as likely to be key workers as men.

Ms Foyer will add: “There is almost universal consensus that pay in social care and retail is a disgrace yet nothing has been done. In different ways these workers have kept our country together, just as they were doing before the start of the pandemic. 

“It is no coincidence whatsoever that the majority of these workers are women whose work has been undervalued for ever. That has to change.”

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