Why we’re backing the Fairness Pledge 2010
Nearly 60% of British children who fall below the poverty line live in households where at least one adult is in work. Children growing up in poor households are more likely to have poor health, to perform badly at school, to become teenage parents, and to come into early contact with the police.
This costs us all in many ways. Shamefully, we also have the largest gender pay gap in the EU, and two thirds of low paid workers are women, meaning poverty in the UK has a female face. Thousands of people are known not to be receiving even the minimum wage of £5.80. And yet poverty experts report that a single adult, working full time, needs to earn at least £6.88 an hour to reach the most basic weekly standard of living; and much more in cities like London.
In 2010, this is a sad state of affairs. Those who did the least to cause the current recession are suffering the most. That’s why the TUC, along with 14 other organisations, has joined the Fair Pay Network to call upon all prospective parliamentary candidates in the 2010 general election to pledge to act in support of those receiving poverty pay in their constituency by endorsing five urgent asks:
The Candidate’s pledge: Fast Forward to Fairness
- Safeguard the poorest: I commit to support an annual increase of the National Minimum Wage in real terms; to encourage the independence of the Low Pay Commission and to support a meaningful increase in resources for NMW enforcement
- Spend our money ethically: I commit to actively encourage and support my local authority in the introduction of ‘living wage clauses’ in every single public procurement contract that it awards to private contractors.
- Learn from the best: I pledge to follow the example of employers like London Olympics 2012, Barclays and KPMG and generate employer interest in and support initiatives to introduce living wage policies in the public, private and third sectors as soon as possible.
- End discrimination: I commit to actively encourage the government to strengthen laws relating to pay discrimination on the grounds of gender, race and disability by requiring all organisations to publish pay audits showing pay rates for men and women, including ethnicity and disability, at all levels.
- Public Sector in the Vanguard: I commit to parliamentary activity to root out low pay in the public sector in which almost a quarter of all low-paid jobs reside.
And please pass the message on to your friends and colleagues – or even people you don’t like and hardly know (here are the Twitter and Facebook links!). This election could be a real chance to get fair pay on the political agenda.