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Low-paid workers reliant on borrowing to pay bills: union

Research by Usdaw also found many workers believe their mental health has been affected.


Low-paid workers are having to borrow money to pay their bills and many say financial concerns are affecting their mental health, research reveals.

A survey of more than 10,000 retail, food production and other workers by Usdaw unearthed a series of problems they face as a result of low pay, short and zero-hours contracts and insecure work:

– More than nine out of 10 said they have seen no improvement in their financial situation over the past five years, and of these, 63% say they are worse off.

– Almost four out of five said they have had to rely on unsecured borrowing to pay everyday bills in the last 12 months.

– Two-thirds said financial worries are having an impact on their mental health.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general-secretary, said: “Low-paid and insecure work is a growing problem and a scourge on society that is holding back economic growth and affecting the well-being of the workforce.

“There is a clear need for significant labour market changes to ensure that the economy delivers for working people.”

Usdaw is launching a campaign at the TUC, which opens in Manchester on Sunday, calling for a £10 an hour minimum wage for all workers over 18, minimum contracts of 16 hours a week for all employees who want it, the right to a contract based on an individual’s normal hours of work, and an end to the misuse of zero-hour contracts.

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