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Securing the living wage in a changing world of work

7th November 2018

The world of work is changing at a rapid pace, with the rise in self-employment, the use of technology and the automation of jobs, as well as the expansion and interaction with the ‘gig economy’.

In particular, we’re seeing over 3.9 million workers in the UK such as parents, carers, women and the underemployed who would like additional work to earn an extra income to help their family, or top up their wage.

However, with the expansion of the gig economy, there has been many cases of insecure and low paid work, where workers have had to bear the brunt.

Those workers who aren’t getting paid a living wage are unlikely to be able to cover their basic living costs, resulting in working people being unable to pay their rent, at risk of eviction, and unable to provide for their families.

For the gig economy to be an accessible and desirable means of employment, we need to see a radical reform of employment and tax law where the Government has a key role to play.

There is also a role to play for employers, employees and unions, who can get ahead now to provide solutions for those at the lower end of the economy. Those workers can be given the opportunity to reap the benefits of gig work, rather than mitigate the risks of low paid work.

The gig economy can present numerous opportunities to create a better working world for working people. With the right solutions, it can ensure better pay, more flexible work, and can empower workers to decide how and when they want to engage in the workplace. Flexible work in the gig economy can revolutionalise the working lives of these groups and others by helping people to maintain and develop their own professional skills while away from traditional employment and by providing additional income.

That’s what Community intends to do, and it’s why we have joined forces with Labour xchange, an independent platform that connects individuals to employers in an open and fair way.

It’s a unique platform that starts with the individual, and ensures every worker will always be paid, and is paid the real living wage. People can sign up and list their availability, which businesses then book as and when staff are required. The workers get work on their terms and for fair pay, while businesses get the staff they need, when they need them.

Labour xchange also ensures that workers are paid for their work within 24 hours, meaning people aren’t left in the lurch, unpaid and unable to predict and manage their finances. This system has led to increased wages and more security for working people. With incomes raised by over 30,000 since May and at least four working people avoiding eviction. As Jonathan Key, Founder of Labour xchange explained: “our platform is designed in the interests of working people, it is meant to secure decent wages and flexible work for those who need it.”

Our partnership with Labour xchange, has also helped secure legal advice, training and other benefits for those who work through the site, as they get three months free union membership, during which time they are entitled to all the same benefits as all of our members. This helps to ensure they aren’t exploited through poor working practices and can fully benefit from the changing world of work.

Making the gig economy work for workers, securing the real living wage, more flexible work and control for workers is not out of reach in the changing world of work.

You can sign up to Labour xchange, here today.