UNISON and Child Poverty Action Group call on UK government to make work fair

Unison ScotlandChild Poverty Action Group in ScotlandThe Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and UNISON have joined together to call on political parties to lay out policies to tackle in-work poverty.

The call comes as the child poverty charity and trade union release their report Fair Work and Decent Childhoods – policies for those who work to live lives free of poverty. The two organisations call for investment in the social security system, a boost to work incentives for parents in Universal Credit and action to tackle the drivers of benefit spending, such as low pay, high housing costs and high childcare costs.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “The new UK government will inherit a child poverty crisis with a shocking 59 per cent of poor children in Scotland living in working families. For the future of our children and our economy we need urgent action to make work fair for parents and allow them to give their children the decent childhoods they deserve. That’s why as anti-poverty campaigners and trade unionists we have united in setting out three key priorities for the new government – decent pay, family friendly workplaces and investment in in-work benefits.”

Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish organiser, added: “It is an utter scandal that so many are low paid in Scotland. UNISON has to fight in some sectors to get the minimum wage paid never mind the living wage. We have joined with anti-poverty campaigners to call on the next UK Government to tackle work insecurity, rebalance employment rights, and support work life balance and high quality childcare. Out evidence is parents overwhelmingly want to work they just deserve fair pay and decent family friendly jobs.”

UNISON and CPAG call on the next UK government to:

  • Increase the national minimum wage, support the living wage and boost family-friendly jobs
  • Demonstrate its leadership and ambition by encouraging more employers to pay the Living Wage
  • The aim should be a National Minimum Wage at a Living Wage level.
  • Outlaw exploitative zero hours contracts, and short hour contracts where they undermine parents ability to juggle work and childcare responsibilities
  • Employers should publish their pay and pay ratios
  • A new era of corporate democracy based on a constructive relationship between trade unions and employers in both the public and private sector.
  • Boost work incentives for parents in universal credit
  • A universal credit work allowance for second earners, and an improved allowance for single parents, allowing low income families to keep more of their earnings,
  • Invest in back to work support at local level that emphasises the strong, positive relationships with advisers that are proven to work.
  • End employment tribunal fees which have shut so many workers out from access to justice in the workplace.
  • Cuts in health and safety provisions should be reinstated and enforcement strengthened.
  • Develop an ambitious childcare strategy based around a supply-side, universal model. High quality childcare, free at the point of use. Parents need to changed workplaces with a year’s paid maternity leave, extended paternal leave and improved flexible working rights. For childcare staff we need fair pay, training, preparation time and study leave and enhanced
  • Think and talk in terms of ‘social security’ not ‘welfare’.
  • Ensure child benefit is never rolled into universal credit.
  • Introduce a ‘triple lock’ for children’s benefits so that benefits are uprated in line with earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent, whichever is greater.
  • Support a shift toward investment in housing supply to ensure quality secure housing is affordable for working families
  • Tackle the drivers of benefit spending. Low pay, high housing costs and high childcare costs
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