Correspondence between Damian Collins MP and a constituent on the issue of key workers’ pay

Chrissie Cooper, Folkestone and Hythe Constituency Labour Party Secretary, has kindly allowed us to share her recent e-mail correspondence with Damian Collins MP, on the issue of key workers’ pay. Please find the exchange below:

Dear Damian Collins MP,

Key workers got this country through the pandemic. They headed out to work when the rest of the country stayed at home – putting themselves and their families at risk. It’s time to end the low pay and insecure work that leave many of these workers struggling, and make sure every key worker gets a payrise.

I’m writing today to ask you to:
· Raise the minimum wage – which will up the pay of two million key workers overnight
· Give meaningful pay rises to the four million key workers in the public sector
· Ban the zero hours contracts which penalise key workers in health, social care and retail.

The coronavirus crisis demonstrated how much we all owe to all our key workers – healthcare staff, care workers, retail and delivery workers, public transport workers, teachers and support staff, cleaners, energy workers and so many others.

But the fact is, many of these workers – an estimated two million – are on the national minimum wage. And many are in insecure work, employed on zero hours contracts with poor terms and conditions.

The government can raise the minimum wage. It can use its powers to ban zero hours contracts. And it directly sets the wages of four million key workers in the public sector. It’s time for ministers to act – and give all our key workers the payrise they have earned.

Sincerely,

Chrissie Cooper
[Address supplied]

Damian Collins replied:

Dear Ms Cooper,

Thank you for writing to me about the pay and conditions of key workers. Please accept my apologies about the delay in responding to you.

Key workers all have our admiration for their work to keep the country going during the the Covid-19 pandemic. A substantial number of key workers are paid at or just above the National Minimum Wage. It is right that we support these workers as they are supporting the country during this crisis. This is why the Government 2020 increased the National Living Wage on 1 April.

Many key workers including delivery drivers, supermarket assistants and those working in the social car sector work for private companies. The Government has little influence over the renumeration set by these firms but ministers did raise the National Living Wage to £8.72 in April. This means that full-time workers on the NLW will see their pay increase by £930 this year. The Government also raised the National Insurance threshold to £9,500, saving employees £100 a year, and has frozen fuel duty for the tenth year in a row to help with the cost of living.

Kind regards,

Damian Collins
Member of Parliament for Folkestone and HytheEmail: damian.collins.mp@parliament.uk
Phone: 020 7219 7072