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My personal pledge - if elected, I will employ all staff, interns or not, on minimum-hour contracts at the Living Wage

Last week was Decent Jobs Week.

This was sponsored and organised by the TUC – to draw attention to the situation of lowpaid, insecure jobs, to a ‘recovery’ which is failing to produce decent jobs for many people, and to the plight of the hundreds of thousands on zero hours contracts and paid less than the minimum wage.

These are issues on which I feel especially strongly. I had already committed myself to work for the Living Wage as universal if I’m elected.

Last week, in Decent Jobs Week, I made a very personal pledge – to employ all staff, interns or not, on minimum hour contracts and at the Living Wage

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The TUC website makes clear the plight of so many workers in our society. 

‘Millions of people in the UK are trapped in lowpaid, insecure jobs. There are more than 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use, offering no steady work. Others, such as agency and casual workers, lose out on important rights and benefits.

The recovery is creating new jobs but many are of poor quality. As a result, more and more people struggle to pay their rent, mortgage and heat their homes. Women and young workers are particularly affected.’

That’s why, from 15 to 21 December, the TUC organised Decent Jobs Week, to raise awareness about Britain’s jobs’ crisis

 The TUC has highlighted the range of workers who are being left behind 

–      People like the agency workers who are paid half what others doing the same job get,

–      People like the 220,000 care workers being paid less than the minimum wage, the 300,000 of them on zero hours’ contracts

–      People like the thousands of delivery workers – now known as ‘self-employed lifestyle couriers’ - who deliver your parcels at 55p often 45p a time, with no sick pay, pension or holiday – and who can be sacked at the drop of a hat.

 These new employment problems are affecting a wide range of people across society - including young graduates.

The infamous unpaid internships are now acting as a new class barrier to entry into so many professions.

 As Intern Aware puts it

‘Internships are becoming essential for access to many professions. Because a high number are unpaid and unaffordable to those from ordinary backgrounds, too many young people are being excluded from the opportunities that they deserve.

Working for free doesn’t come cheap. Unpaid internships are overwhelmingly based in London, where the cost of living is amongst the highest in the UK.’

 The result is a grossly unfair hurdle which debt-laden poorer students simply cannot afford to jump.

‘While those who can afford to live for free are able to gain experience and get a foot on the career ladder- the vast majority are left behind. It is simply unfair.’

 Workers’ rights and pay have been eroded in a whole host of ways over these last years.

 This is something on which I feel very strongly. I am determined to work for Decent Jobs and better conditions.

I have already committed myself to work for the Living Wage for all, if elected.

Now here’s a very personal pledge.

If elected as an MP, I commit to employ all staff, whether interns or not, on minimum hour contracts and at the living wage level set by the Living Wage Foundation. 

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