Data from the Wage Indicator pay database covering five countries reveals that many of the key workers who have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 are on below)average wages. The research looked at nine jobs in childcare, call centres, retail, nursing, admin, logistics, warehouses and transport in the UK, German, Netherlands, France and Sweden. In the UK all occupations fell below the national average wage while in Germany it was all but one and in the Netherlands all but two. The situation for these workers was better in France and Sweden.
Research reveals extent of low pay among key workers
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Public services union IMPACT and general union SIPTU have welcomed a new parliamentary report that reveals the problems of low pay and poor working conditions in the early years sector. The unions are calling for increased investment and funding for the sector and action to tackle low pay with the need to set pay rates that recognise the responsibilities and qualifications of childcare workers, 98% of whom are women.
The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste