Demands to give all key workers an immediate pay rise

Key workers should be given an immediate pay rise of at least £2 an hour, a leading trade union organisation has said.

Staff at Edinburgh's Drumbrae care home.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said the salary increase should be granted due to the vital role key workers are playing during the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent challenges facing society.

It is urging employers and the Government to consider the increase for NHS workers, carers, other emergency workers, frontline council workers, school support staff, nursery workers, retail workers, transport employees, and contact centre and factory staff.

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The STUC also wants the increase to apply to “unseen” public service workers, including those in the government, while it says the statutory minimum wage should be increased to £10 an hour for all staff.

STUC general secretary Rozanne Foyer said: “We know that the priority of key workers across the country during this crisis is keeping others well, safe and supplied.

“But just because that it their priority, it doesn’t mean we should forget their needs.

“We need to reverse the long-term trend of undervaluing these heroes and we need to start now.

“So many of these workers came into this crisis undervalued and underpaid. They are many of the same people who bore the brunt of the 2010 recession. More than half of them are women.

“We want to ensure that as we emerge from this current crisis, history does not repeat itself.”

Office for National Statistics data from last year highlighted by the STUC suggests a third of key workers earn £10 an hour or less.