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Low-paid workers in South Yorkshire unable to survive Tier-3 lockdown, unions warn

LOW-PAID workers in South Yorkshire will be unable to survive when the county is subjected to a Tier-3 Covid lockdown from Saturday, unions in Sheffield warned today.

Sheffield Trades Union Council (TUC) said the government’s £41 million financial aid for South Yorkshire would go to “business, not workers” and create an “unacceptable” situation.

Minimum-wage workers in the city and in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster will be forced to live on 67 per cent of what is already a pittance under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s cut-price job-support scheme, which comes into force on Saturday.

Sheffield TUC said the city was already known as the “low-wage capital” of Britain, with more workers on the minimum wage or zero-hours contracts than in any other major urban centre.

Unions and political groups in the city are running a Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise campaign.

Sheffield TUC secretary Martin Mayer said: “You can’t live on the minimum wage, never mind two-thirds of it. This is unacceptable and will make low-paid workers pay for Tier-3 restrictions.

“Boris Johnson boasted of ‘levelling-up’ when he won the election last year. 

“Instead we’ve seen the poor get poorer and now they face destitution.

“At the very least, Boris Johnson should have guaranteed the minimum wage as the bottom line when workers are furloughed."

Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the Commons today: “So another great swathe of the north is put into lockdown.

“But families shouldn’t face financial ruin. The Chancellor must pay out to help out and put in place a fair deal to support jobs and livelihoods under lockdown.”

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