A new study has suggested almost one in five food workers may have run out of food because of a lack of money during the pandemic.
The shocking figure comes from a new report being launched by the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union which found that:
- 19% had run out of food because of a lack of money
- 40% had eaten less than they should because of a lack of cash
- Over a third (35%) ate less to make sure others in the house got a meal
- 21% relied on food from friends and relatives
- More than 7% had experience of using food banks
The scale of food poverty amongst food workers is shameful and represents a clear need to enshrine the right to food in law.
One female food retail responding as part of the research said: “The pay is terrible everywhere in these roles to be honest it’s not enough to cover bills and food - it’s just not good enough.”
While a male food production worker told the study: “I'm currently minimum wage, zero hours. A pay rise would mean I could start to get some more independence and perhaps escape what is a very difficult and unhealthy situation at home.”
The report will be formally launched at an event during the Scottish Trades Union Congress calling for new ‘right to food’ legislation and features contributions from over 200 workers from across the UK’s food production, distribution, food retail, hygiene, farming and fast food sectors.
Commenting on the Right to Food report, General Secretary Sarah Woolley said: “Our report highlights the shameful truth of food poverty in the food industry. No one should go without food in the 6th richest country in the world yet shamefully, too many food workers are struggling to earn enough to purchase the very food they produce.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the real key workers in this country - we can't allow them to be failed any longer. We can’t sit back while people are struggling to survive.
“The time is right for the right to food to be enshrined in law, to make food truly accessible, affordable, healthy, safe to eat and fairly produced by well-paid and protected staff throughout the food sector.”
To see the full report, please go to: https://bit.ly/BFAWU_RightToFoodReport