Sheffield Needs a Payrise

Panorama of Sheffield

The Sheffield Needs A Payrise (SNAP) research project follows the campaign of the same name and builds on the WISERD Spaces of New Localism Civil Society research project. It looks primarily into forms of grassroots, civil society and trade union working together to address issues of low pay and precariousness in work in Sheffield. SNAP is a campaign that has been initiated by Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC). The first impetus for the campaign was the earlier creation of the Britain Needs A Pay Rise organised by the National Trades Union Congress which was inaugurated in the autumn of 2014. STUC has sought to develop this campaign on a more grassroots basis.

Secondly, STUC was struck by a series of reports by the Resolution Foundation, which showed that the City of Sheffield has the largest proportion of its workforce paid below the National Living Wage (NLW). It has suffered the largest pay drop of the UK Core Cities since the onset of the 2008 recession, suffered most from issues of low pay, and consequently potentially had the most to gain from the introduction of the Conservative government’s National Living Wage. This highlighted to the STUC the necessity for greater campaigning around the issue of pay.

Finally, STUC has been impressed by the successes of innovative new organising strategies being deployed by unions such as the GMB, UNITE and BFAWU, and has sought to share best practice and replicate such work amongst union branches in the city. SNAP was officially launched on 14th October by John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, at a round table event with representatives from UNITE, BFAWU, the GMB and STUC.

Our project has sought to highlight best practice in addressing issues of low pay and precariousness and extends the impactful work of WISERD funded research by drawing on the links between civil society, employment and skills. The team will be presenting our research findings back to the community in Sheffield at an event organised by STUC.

This piece of work sits within our work package 1.4 which partakes in extensive research under the heading of – Spaces of Localism: Stakeholder Engagement and Economic Development in Wales and England, it is a project that Dr David Beel, Professor Martin Jones (Staffordshire University) and WISERD’s Director Professor Ian Rees Jones are jointly responsible for. This is a collaborative piece of work with colleagues Dr. David Etherington (Middlesex University) and Dr. Robert Jefferey and Dr. Peter Thomas (Sheffield Hallam University).

Since this was written Dr Beel and his colleagues have presented research at Forging an Inclusive Labour Market, Empowering Workers and Communities: An Interim Report on Low Pay and Precarious Work in Sheffield. This was a knowledge exchange workshop with research participants and interested;stakeholders.

Image credit: 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)