Socialist Worker

Reports show the greed of the bosses

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2585

GMB members protesting at an Amazon depot last week

GMB members protesting at an Amazon depot last week


Three reports in the last few days underline how the decline of union membership and militancy in workplaces is allowing many bosses to grab more from their workers. And this is further hitting living standards.

  • Agency workers were paid £400 million less this year than other staff because they suffer a "pay penalty".

The pay gap costs the average agency admin worker almost £1,000 a year, said the Resolution Foundation.

Agency workers' contracts are being widely "abused", said the foundation.

Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said, "Agency workers deserve to be paid the same as employees if they're doing the same job, so the government should look to close the loophole that allows agency workers to sign away their right to equal pay.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said, "Two people working next to each other, doing the same job, should get the same pay rates. But too often agency workers are treated like second-class citizens.

"That's because there's a loophole in the law that allows bad bosses to deny agency workers equal pay.

"It's time to end this undercutters' charter and for the government to scrap this loophole."

  • Research carried out for the Bank of England has found increasing levels of financial distress among households in 2017, and more people saying they expect their personal finance situation to deteriorate in 2018 than to improve.

The survey, carried out by the research firm NMG Consulting on behalf of the Bank, found the highest percentage of households reporting mortgage debts of more than four times their earnings than at any time since 2013. It also said the proportion with debt repayments representing more than 40 percent of income had risen over the past year.

These figures will worsen if interest rates continue to rise.

  • Over a billion hours of paid overtime were worked in Britain last year. But higher rate pay for overtime working is becoming a thing of the past. The world of the “flexible” workforce means workers are simply expected to do more for no better rate than normal hours.

One in ten workers did paid overtime in Britain in the last year but only a fifth of them got at least a “time and a half” pay premium for those hours, according to a new report by the Resolution Foundation.

This trend is hardly mentioned when discussing pay, despite the fact that 2.6 million workers do paid overtime in their main jobs, nearly three times as many as are on zero-hours contracts.

Men are far more likely to receive a premium from doing paid overtime. Last year, their typical overtime premium was 23 per cent, while for women it was zero.

It’s time for the one-sided class war to end and for union leaders to make a resolution to encourage a fightback in 2018.


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