I was looking forwards to making an occasion of the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise march and rally in October until we had to back out when my son caught a tummy bug. I had experienced TUC marches before, and found them suitable for sharing with friends and family and we consoled ourselves with knowing that our little one had enjoyed his first march at Tolpuddle earlier this year.
This experience was probably what provided me with the final push I needed to motivate me to join together with local friends, trade union representatives and campaigners in Hampshire to raise the profile of low pay rises and the living wage. This being one of the broad, mainstream, trade union issues featured in the TUC’s Campaign Plan in the run-up to the general election.
We know that the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage is rising as the cost of living continues to outstrip pay. Real wages of full-time workers in the South East fell by £2500 between 2010 and 2013. This is causing families to have to cut back and make difficult decisions on spending, we are seeing a rise in the use of food banks and payday loans and, as the mystery Prospect member puts into words much better than can I, this is effecting the squeezed middle.
The TUC believes that many employers can afford to pay more without putting jobs at risk, and this is especially the case for the lowest paid. They want us to urge more local employers to make sure their staff and those in their supply chains get at least the living wage.
All of us felt that these were real issues that we had experienced in our families, workplaces and communities and could directly relate to, however we wanted to involve the broader local community in our campaign.
We decided to set up the Winchester & District Trades Council (W&DTC) to help us to pursue this aim and, in doing so, to promote a positive message of trade unions to a public who may be less familiar with the benefits we offer to society. Read More…