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94,000 jobs in social care were deemed ‘insecure’ in London

New research from the Living Wage Foundation has revealed the highest number of insecure jobs reside in the capital, with health and social care roles taking a partly big hit.

The research, which was published yesterday, included analysis from data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which found that that workers in London are more likely to have jobs that involve variable working hours or shift work compared to the rest of the UK – 64% of Londoners work these types of jobs compared to 54% outside of the city.

red double-decker bus passing Palace of Westminster, London during daytime

In addition, experts discovered London grafters are more likely to experience shift cancellations – 35% of Londoners with variable hours said they have experienced unexpected shift cancellations compared to 25% of workers within the rest of the UK.

Alone, these findings are far from satisfactory, but paired with the continuing cost-of-living crisis, it makes them all the more devastating. From the workers who frequently experience shift cuts, 92% claimed they don’t receive their regular pay when this occurs, making it even harder to make ends meet.

However, in a bid to provide some support, Citizens UK is calling on the next government to introduce policies that will strengthen people’s rights and access to predictable, sufficient working hours. This would involve introducing a new right to an employment contract that reflects actual hours worked; requiring employers to provide four weeks’ minimum notice of shifts with reasonable compensation for short notice shift cancellations; and requiring employers to provide a minimum number of guaranteed hours. 

Against this backdrop, the UK’s largest people-powered campaign group who work towards achieving equal rights, have also set up the Making London a Living Wage City project, which is working to tackle issues of low pay and insecure work through Living Wage and Living Hours accreditations. It aims to put over £635m back into the pockets of low paid workers and ensure at least 10,000 workers in London benefit from the security of Living Hours by accrediting businesses to become Living Wage and Living Hours Employers. 

Michael, a Driver Fitter who works in the Newham area for Enabled Living – a council owned company which provides a number of services, including medical equipment, to help Newham residents live independently, said: ‘Working at Enabled Living allows me to have a fair wage, rely on secure shifts and I have working hours that help me look after my children and elderly parents. It has changed my life for the better.’

‘I previously worked in retail and often worked a lot of overtime and had much longer days, but everyone was always paid the same, despite extra hours worked,’ Michael said. ‘I was never able to support my family the way I can now. I couldn’t give my daughter the time she needed to learn and develop. The money I earn now has allowed me to pay for extra curriculum tuition for my daughter, which has allowed her to pass her 11+.’

Michael added: ‘I don’t think she’d be in that position if I wasn’t working for a Living Hours employer. Having decent and regular hours has allowed me to plan ahead for the future, this helps not just myself but my family too.’

Gina Rodriguez, a previous hospitality worker and leader on the Making London a Living Wage City Steering Group, said: ‘The issue of low pay remains so close to my heart. It makes me sad to know there are people right now who are living how I was 15 years ago – working hard but still in poverty. With the cost-of-living crisis, too many low-paid workers are worrying about whether they can afford to turn the heating on during winter or if they’ll be able to afford groceries. This shouldn’t happen in one of the richest cities in the world.’

Image: Aron Van de Pol

More on this topic:

Over 1,000 carers have completed their training in Birmingham

Over 3 million workers in England will have major illnesses by 2040 – study

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