In-Work Poverty and the Living Wage: The UK Experience Opportunities? Spain

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1 In-Work Poverty and the Living Wage: The UK Experience Opportunities? Spain

2 In work poverty and the living wage Workshop aims: To set out the situation of in work poverty in the UK and stimulate discussion in the Spanish context. To share knowledge on the policy responses to in-work poverty Discuss campaigning responses based on the experience of Scotland and the UK

3 In work poverty and the living wage Workshop format: Part 1: Causes and consequences: sharing our understanding of in-work poverty and the responses to it Feedback the Spanish situation Part 2: Campaigning against in-work poverty The Living Wage Feedback Campaigning in a Spanish context

4 In-work Poverty in the UK Proportion of poor households accounted for by working households has been increasing in the UK for last 10 years Before the recession more than half of children in poverty were living in households where someone was in work In % of poor children had working parents, by 2009 it was 60%. Number of working age adults in poverty has increased by almost 1 million since ,000 are in employment

5 Employment and In-work Poverty In % of women and 14% of male employees in the UK were paid less than 7.50 an hour. Down by 11% and 3% respectively since Most of the fall came up to 2006 Around 5.1 million people were low paid in 2010, with around 46% in wholesale and retail. 45% of part-time workers were low paid Still significant churn in the labour market. ½ of all men and 1/3 of all women making a new claim for JSA were claiming less than 6 months before

6 Incomes & Employment

7 In-Work Poverty In Spain What is the picture of in-work poverty in Spain: What are the levels of in-work poverty? Are the trends getting better or worse? Who is affected young people, women, migrants? What are the issues facing those in work and on low pay in Spain?

8 Policy to Address In-Work Poverty Key element of UK anti-poverty policy has been to make work pay central of the welfare reform agenda for 10 years and most recent reforms Main policy developments include introduction of National Minimum Wage in 1999, and a range of Tax Credits paid to people in low paid employment Also a range of policies to improve skills and employability However, most policies have been focused on improving work incentives rather than addressing poverty

9 Problem Policies & In-Work Poverty NMW had a significant impact on in-work poverty. However it has not been set in line with needs but with what can be 'afforded' Also few resources devoted to enforcing the NMW few prosecutions and evidence of abuse in some sectors Increasing interest by some policy makers at local and national levels at potential to use public procurement as a means of addressing low pay Still a 'minority interest' in policy terms focus remains on jobs rather than quality

10 Policy responses in Spain What are national Governments doing to address in-work poverty across Europe: Is it a policy priority in existing strategies? Is it recognised as an issue? Minimum wage frozen for 2012 what is the impact of this on individuals and families. Is there a system of tax credits and do they help life people out of in-work poverty? What is the main policy responses to in work poverty

11 Campaigning Against In-work Poverty: Living Wages in the UK LW campaigns start from the position that incomes for many people are not adequate Make use of minimum income standards research to identify a target figure This is not a figure that is necessarily used in campaigns for statutory legal minimum pay although many argue it should be LW campaigns focus demands directly on employers, rather than seeking legislative redress to low pay

12 More than Money Benefits of a LW approach LW campaigns have roots in attempts to build grassroots demands for social change They are explicitly focused on building community power, as opposed to relying on expert lobbyists to create change They enable broad based coalitions to develop around very focused aims They also incorporate demands around working conditions hours, trade union recognition, training etc

13 London Living Wage Campaign Developing since mid 1990s, launched in 2001 Has been based on the development of a coalition of trade unions, faith groups, schools, community groups Campaign has been rooted in community demands (community organising) Has made a real difference - 24million to low paid workers Created a political consensus around issue of low pay

14 Scottish Living Wage Campaign Launched in 2007, first real successes in 2009 Not taken an explicitly community organising approach have sought to create political consensus Some big wins, Almost entire public sector in Scotland pay living wage of 7.20 Has significant implications for procurement policies and wider pay bargaining Need to focus on community campaigns to get to wider private sector

15 Scottish Living Wage Campaign

16 Living or Minimum Wage? There are many positive aspects to a living wage approach to addressing in work poverty improved pay for some, better conditions, new coalitions, stronger campaigns But: the approach is not comprehensive, some low paid workers may not be helped. 'Hardcore' private sector is difficult to change Is there a need for minimum wages to be based on what workers need to live on as opposed to the minimum

17 Campaigning against Low Pay What are anti-poverty campaigners doing to address inwork poverty? Are there active campaigns against low pay? Who is involved in the campaigns? (trade unions, faith groups, etc) What are the demands of the campaigns? Has there been any successes?

18 EAPN National Networks and Low Pay EAPN is developing a position paper on in-work poverty. We have repeatedly raised the issue at national and European level. Some points for final discussions: potential for co-ordinated action against in-work poverty in Spain? Consider who your targets would be? Policy change or action focused on employers? Who would be your partner?

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