Harrogate Socialists held a street stall in the town centre today, campaigning for the abolition of zero-hour contracts and a living wage of £10 an hour.
The current legal minimum wage is only £6.31 an hour. One in five workers earn less than the ‘living wage’ (£8.80 in greater London and £7.75 elsewhere in Britain). However, even that isn’t enough to actually live on with food prices increasing by 15% over the last four years and energy prices by 35%.
More than one in ten employers now use zero-hour contracts which leave workers facing the insecurity of no guaranteed hours or guaranteed income. Jobseekers can also lose their benefits for up to three years if they refuse to take a zero-hour contract job.
We organised a petition containing the following demands:
- For secure jobs with guaranteed hours – Scrap zero-hour contracts
- £10 an hour minimum wage with no youth exemptions
- Abolish workfare and all unpaid work schemes
- Share out the work – For a 35-hour working week with no loss of pay. No increase in retirement age
- Bailout workers not bankers. Stop public sector cuts. Nationalise big industries threatened with closure or large-scale job losses
- For government investment in well-paid, socially useful jobs with full trade union rights for workers
A security guard who signed our petition was on a zero-hours contract and had been offered only 4 hours work in the past month. Two workers at McDonald’s on the minimum wage signed our petition and also took application forms for the Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU). The recent conference of the BFAWU called for a living wage of £10 an hour for all workers. The union has also launched the Fast Food Rights initiative with the aim of organising largely non-unionised fast food workers to fight for better pay and conditions.
For further details about the Fast Food Rights campaign, see: