Campaigners and Trade Unionists are demanding that low paid hospitality workers should receive full pay when their employers take advantage of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This temporary scheme allows employers like fast food chains to claim for 80% of furloughed – or laid off – staff wages.
The renowned campaigers at War on want say: “Wealthy and profitable employers, such as McDonald’s, Wetherspoons, Burger King, KFC and Taco bell, are refusing to top up their workers’ income.
These workers, already on poverty wages are facing a 20% cut in pay. This will be devastating. Many are worried about how they will pay their bills and put food on the table.
Their employers can afford to top up the 80% the government is paying and ensure these workers get the 100% they deserve.”
The Daily Mirror reports that the 20% cut in wages is particularly galling when staff at the likes of Greggs and Costa Coffee will be paid in full.
According to Left Foot Forward, the home of political news and comment for UK progressives many staff were not being paid a living wage to begin with. Their calculations are based on the Living Wage Foundation’s definition which is different from the National Minimum Wage – they say: “The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by nearly 6,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”
Cllr Alan Hall has written to the Chief Executives of McDonald’s Wetherspoons, KFC and Taco Bell in support of the low paid workers.
The full text of the letter is:
“I am writing to you to express my concern about your treatment the workers of your business during the coronavirus crisis. Whilst I acknowledge the difficulties many businesses are facing for which the government has offered wage support, I am concerned that your business is failing to top up the government’s 80% support with 20% extra so that workers receive full pay. Given that many of your businesses’ workers were already struggling to get by on low wages, this will cause them considerable hardship.
It is the work of your employees that has made your business profitable. There is no better time than now for your business to engage seriously with your workforce through recognising an independent trade union. These workers have stood by your company during the good times. It is now time for your business to stand by them during the hard times.
Now is the time for us all to pull together.
Cllr Alan Hall
On 4th October 2018 there was an historic co-ordinated strike of hospitality workers. It was named “Fast Food Shutdown 4-10” (#FFS410). Workers in hospitality and food couriers in the gig economy took action across the UK to demand an end to poverty wages and for their right to a union to be respected.
Cllr Alan Hall explains to Chris Webb of the CWU, why it is important to show solidarity and support to young people on strike for the first time.