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Around one in three key (33%) workers earn less than £10 an hour according to a new analysis by the TUC, published today (Wednesday).
  • Analysis published as new minimum and living wage rates come in tomorrow 

  • Union body calls on ministers to raise minimum wage to £10 an hour  

Around one in three key (33%) workers earn less than £10 an hour according to a new analysis by the TUC, published today (Wednesday). 

The analysis – published ahead the new national living wage (NLW) and national minimum wage (NMW) rates coming into force tomorrow (Thursday 1 April) – reveals that around 3.2 million key workers are paid less than £10 an hour. 

This makes it harder to pay bills and put food on the table, says the TUC. 

Key workers being paid less than £10 an hour include: 

  • Retail workers: Three-quarters (75%) of retail workers are paid less than £10 an hour. That’s around 1 million retail assistants, cashiers and shelf fillers. 

  • Carers: More than three in five (62%) (440,000) carers earn under £10 an hour.  

  • Teaching assistants: Nearly seven in 10 (69%) (340,000) teaching and education support assistants are paid less than £10 an hour.  

The TUC argues that all key workers deserve a “decent” pay rise as they have been expected to continue to work throughout lockdown and local restrictions, during the height of the pandemic. 

The union body says that retail workers have been keeping essential shops going, often in conditions that don’t allow for proper social distancing. And care workers have been looking after some of the most vulnerable – and putting themselves at risk to do so.  

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our shop assistants, carers and school support staff have worked around the clock to keep the country going through the pandemic – often at great personal risk to their health. 

“But those expecting a decent pay increase tomorrow have been let down by the government’s decision to row back on the full rise they were promised. 

“Ministers must get the minimum wage up to £10 an hour to stop millions of working people from living in poverty.” 

Editors note

Notes to editors:  
- Statistics are based on TUC analysis of the Labour Force Survey for Q3 2020. 
- NLW and NMW rates: The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. You must be at least school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage. And from today (Thursday 1 April) you will receive the National Living Wage from age 23. From today the new rates will be: 

April 2020  

From 1 April 2021 






Age 21-22 




Age 18-20 




Age 16-17 








- In November the TUC warned that public sector key workers were being paid over £1,000 less today than a decade ago:  
- In the spending review in November the chancellor announced that he would freeze public sector pay this year. This follows a decade of pay freezes and caps. Public sector pay was frozen from 2011-13 and then capped at a 1% annual increase until 2018. 
- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.  


TUC press office    
020 7467 1248   

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