Poverty / Social Exclusion

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This page deals with poverty in the UK. Union and their members have always been concerned about poverty - William Beveridge called the TUC “the godfathers of the Beveridge report”.

Before the welfare state, many unions ran welfare services that were often the only place working people could turn to in times of need. Our experience of the problems with these services – unions simply weren’t big enough or rich enough to meet the standards we set for ourselves - meant that we became one of the main forces for the creation of social security. After Beveridge, unions negotiated strong occupational pension schemes that have helped this country to reduce the number of pensioners in poverty. Union members have been leaders in campaigns to defend the welfare state and have supported charities and voluntary organisations that have filled the gaps where the welfare state is patchy.

Here there are links to facts and arguments for trade unionists interested in or campaigning against poverty

The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) is organising informal sector workers in Somalia through a project funded by TUC Aid. A survey on pay and working conditions has been carried out in Mogadishu and Puntland as part of the initiative, followed by a workshop aimed at developing an action...
24 March 2015
Commenting on the report Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review published today (Tuesday) by the Work and Pensions Committee, which calls for an urgent review of the sanctions regime and an independent commission to look at the deaths of sanctioned claimants, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Targets are...
24 March 2015
A report published today (Thursday) by the TUC and Women’s Aid reveals the hidden misery of women trapped in financially abusive relationships, in many cases leaving them trapped in poverty and without any access to money for essentials, emergencies or for their children.
12 March 2015
Commenting on the report Time to Rethink Sanctions published today (Monday) by major UK churches and revealing that almost 100,000 children have been affected by benefit sanctions, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Something has gone badly wrong when 100,000 children are innocent victims of benefit sanctions. Under this government...
02 March 2015
Only one week to go - register now! This conference aims to bring together trade unionists, TUC unemployed workers centre staff and users and welfare campaign activists- to challenge the consensus narrative on Welfare and develop the agenda for a fight-back.
20 February 2015
We take a look at what happened at the TUC Making Work Pay? What role can the welfare state play in raising living standards? conference held on 8th December 2014. It focused on the impact of the current high levels of unemployment and falling average weekly earnings, low-paid workers and...
11 December 2014
Seasons Playhouse — a youth theatre group — will be hosting a play and community discussion about low incomes in Liverpool, as young people see it. Using input of over 140 young people from around Merseyside, they have created a play called “Brass Razoo”, to be shown during Living Wage...
24 October 2014
Today (Wednesday) as the Royal Court of Justice starts hearing a case against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), a TUC-backed film – in which severely disabled people explain how the fund has helped them – is being distributed online. A judicial review brought by three disabled people...
22 October 2014
Pensioner families across the UK will suffer social security cuts worth £6.38bn a year by the time the government’s welfare reforms have taken full affect, the TUC warns today (Sunday) ahead of a new report on the impact of social security cuts published later this week.
17 August 2014
Most people who lose their jobs will soon have to wait five weeks before they get any cash help, according to small print in the Universal Credit rules uncovered by the TUC as it launches a new campaign today (Wednesday), Saving Our Safety Net. A YouGov poll reports opposition of...
16 July 2014