GMB Support Over 30 Events In England And Wales As Part Of TUC Fair Pay Fortnight From Monday 16 February To Sunday 1 March
Tory peer Lord Wolfson should heed the call by Prime Minister David Cameron to pay £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London for NEXT staff says GMB.
GMB is supporting over 30 events across England and Wales as part of the TUC Fair Pay Fortnight 2015 which will run from Monday 16 February to Sunday 1 March. The list of events so far is set out below.
These events are an opportunity to highlight key TUC and union policy calls seeking to boost rates of wage growth for those on middle and low incomes, as well as reducing pay inequalities by cracking down on excessive executive pay at the top.
In particular GMB will use Fair Pay Fortnight to call on Lord Wolfson, Tory chair of NEXT, to heed the Prime Minister’s call to pay his staff a living wage of at least £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London.
NEXT employ 50,000 workers at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland.
NEXT currently pay £6.70 per hour to those 21 and over and £5.84 to those aged 18 to 20. GMB is aware of that many jobs are for 12.5 hours per week or less in some stores. Some store staff may get a bonus which the company claim can amount to an additional 4% to 7% on hourly rates. This leaves the majority of staff well below a living wage of £7.85 per hour and £9.20per hour in London.
In March NEXT reported a 12% increase in annual profits to £695m. NEXT says it expects profits in 2014 to rise by up to £770m. NEXT said January 2014 that it was generating more cash than can be invested in the business so it paid a special £300m dividend to shareholders.
This is the list of confirmed events from TUC Regions as follows in England and Wales: (Check with TUC media office below for times and locations)
16 February: Street stall, Dudley
19 February: Street stall, Halesowen
19 February: Leafleting, Worcester
21 February: Street stall, Swadlincote
23 February: Young workers’ street stall, Coventry University
26 February: CLASS event on fair pay, Birmingham
26 February: Pensioners Convention, Birmingham
28 February: TUC Midlands AGM, Birmingham
23 February: Cumbria Public Forum on fair pay and health, Carlisle
28 February: Street stall, Stockton
28 February: Street stall, Redcar
28 February: End Foul Pay stall and protest, St James’ Park
18 February: Street stall, Manchester City Centre
26 February: Living wage event with Manchester City of Commerce
28 February: Street stall, Leyland
28 February: Street stall, Chester
South East and London:
14 February Street stall, Cambridge
17 February: Street stall, Clapham Junction with BWTUC.
17 February: Young workers’ stall, South Thames College
18 February: Public meeting, Newport, Isle of Wight
26 February: Street stall, Chichester
27 February: Street stall, Hastings
16 February: Street stall, Gloucester
21 February: Street stall, Bristol
16 February: Street stall, Cardiff
18 February: Street stall, Wrexham
25 February: Street stall, Swansea
16 February: Young workers’ stall, University of Sheffield
18 February: Forgemasters visit, Sheffield
19 February: Street stall, Keighley
21 February: Street stall, Wetherby
21 February: Street stall, Hebden Bridge
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for retail staff, said “GMB will use these events across England and Wales during Fair Pay Fortnight to say that Tory peer Lord Wolfson should heed the call by Prime Minister David Cameron to pay £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London for NEXT staff.
It is time NEXT made work pay. If this was done, staff would not need their meagre wages to be topped up by taxpayers with family tax credits and housing benefits so as to make ends meet.
GMB members tell us that in their experience you need at least £10 an hour and a full working week to have a decent life free from benefits and tax credits. Less than £10 an hour means just existing not living. It means a life of isolation, unable to socialise. It means a life of constant anxiety over paying bills and of borrowing from friends, family and pay day loan sharks just to make ends meet. See notes to editors for what five GMB members on low pay recently told the union.
NEXT says that it is over-subscribed when offering jobs. This is a reflection on the level of youth unemployment across Europe not that NEXT jobs are so good.”
Contact: TUC Alex Rossiter on 0207 467 1285 or 07887 572 130 or GMB Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Inclusion & Diversity Officer on 07956 237178 or Mick Rix GMB National Officer on 07971 268343 or Martin Smith GMB National Organiser on 07974 251722 or GMB press office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.
Notes to editors
This is what five GMB members on low pay recently told the union:
“Watching your money is always a stress, questioning yourself, do we need this? can we go without that? It's a drain. Telling your children we can't afford things when their friends have them is heart breaking when they are crying and feel left out.”
"I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don't get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes.
“My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months."
“If I could do less hours but have a higher rate of pay, then I would be happier. In my current position the workload for me has increased since 2008 but wages have not kept up. I used to work regular overtime until it was stopped. Now when I have done my work for the week, I am shattered, as I have to cram in more responsibilities into my hours for no more money. If I could revert back to doing less in my working day, then I would consider more hours. I'm not workshy, but my health has to be a major consideration.”
“Difficult! If something went wrong with my car I couldn't commute to work nor could I buy a new one. The bus service costs too much to use daily and in my area is so unreliable I couldn't in good faith tell my employer I would never be late. With the wages being so low at times I feel depressed as I’m working to just stay alive. What sort of life is it that you work until you die and have no enjoyment or anything to show for your time on the earth!”