Throughout the COVID-19 response, we have all relied on low-wage essential workers. Those who stack shelves, care for our most vulnerable in rest homes, and transport goods around the country have been putting themselves at risk to sustain the rest of us through lockdown.
Many of these essential jobs have been undervalued for too long, well before the pandemic, meaning many of these workers barely earn enough to live.
We believe these heroes deserve to earn a dignified wage.
Here’s our 3 point plan to help make this happen:
Introduce law to enable Fair Pay Agreements for essential workers as soon as possible. These Fair Pay Agreements would set out specific minimum standards for wages and working conditions. They would create a framework for employers and unions to negotiate, and once agreed upon, would become legal requirements for all people working in that sector.
Extend the living wage beyond core public sector workers to include contractors and government funded not-for-profit staff. This would mean workers such as hospital cleaners, would have their wages increased to a dignified, liveable wage.
Set up a hospitality sector working group. This would bring employers, unions and Government around the planning table to get the industry on a more sustainable footing going forward.