“I feel like a Roman gladiator in the ring, clapped by cheering crowds as I risk death.” These words from a brave care worker stopped me in my tracks. I heard them through my work with the Living Wage Foundation. This person, who asked to remain anonymous, does vital work on a zero-hours contract, paid just £8.72 an hour. The clapping on a Thursday is a kind gesture – but it won’t pay the rent.
The fate of the country is in the hands of people like this brave care worker. It is just morally wrong for them to face infection and potential death and to do it for poverty pay. Almost half of all care workers are earning below the foundation’s Real Living Wage.
For me this is simply unacceptable. And while so many of us across the country take to our doorsteps every Thursday at 8pm to clap for carers and other key workers, this week my prayer is that we begin to show real compassion and protect our key workers – whether British, European or even former refugees – who are the most at-risk group when it comes to catching Covid-19.
They are literally risking their lives for us, day in, day out, and they do it for a wage that means they struggle to stay afloat financially.
— John Sentamu (@JohnSentamu) May 28, 2020