New figures on low pay reinforce the importance of the campaign by the SSP for an immediate £10-an-hour minimum wage. And the urgency of pounding union leaderships into taking action in pursuit of this policy, which was agreed unanimously at the 2014 TUC conference.
A new publiciation by KPMG has revealed that 450,000 workers in Scotland - one in every five workers - earn below the so-called Living Wage, which was £7.85 at the time of their research, but has been uprated this week to £8.25-an-hour. And far from representing progress, this figure is a leap of another 27,000 workers in Scotland working for less than the Living Wage Foundation's (far too modest) hourly rate compared with last year.
Across the UK a shocking 5.84 million workers suffer such poverty pay. That includes 3.21 million in part-time jobs, a category which is three times as likely to be on low pay as those working full-time.
A disgraceful 90% of bar staff, 85% of waiters and waitresses, and 80% of kitchen and catering staff are condemned to work for this pittance. And the biggest single section of workers affected - 920,000 of us - are in retail and sales.
SICK TORY JOKES
All the guff about the Tories promising a 'National Living Wage' is designed to confuse the facts, not to eradicate poverty pay.
The idea of a voluntary 'Living Wage' - now £8.25-an-hour - is noble, but ignored by the vast majority of employers... and in any case still far too low to merit the title 'Living Wage', especially in the context of the Tory slaughter of Working Tax and Child Tax Credits.
The idea that the Tories' £7.20 is a 'national living wage' is a sick joke - made sicker still by excluding workers aged under-25.
The SSP is fighting for a national minimum wage, legally enforced, of £10, for all aged 16 or over. Here and now, not in 2020 or some other distant date.
That's the level required to have a decent, if modest, standard of living. It's the level needed to remove workers from reliance on tax-funded top-ups like Tax Credits. And it's the hourly rate the TUC agreed to campaign for over a year ago.
I'd appeal to anyone reading this to join us in fighting for this living minimum wage, on the streets, through your union, in your workplace. Help banish poverty pay in this rich country.