JULIE ELLIOTT: Highlighting cuts Scrooge bosses made to low-paid workers

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I’m the first to admit I’m no star singer, but I was happy to join fellow Labour MPS this month to record a Christmas single highlighting pay cuts made by Scrooge bosses to low-paid workers.

We wanted a catchy way of putting across the serious message of how firms are cutting perks due to the arrival of the National Living Wage – and we hope our National Living Rage song does the trick.

I’ve never been in a recording studio like that before, and it’s not something I’d normally do, but I feel most strongly that we need to draw attention to what is happening to those in low paid jobs.

It was back in April that this Government introduced the National Living Wage, which saw minimum pay for over 25s rise to £7.20 an hour. However, many workers are not benefitting from this at all.

Indeed, while long-serving staff at many big-name companies have seen an official ‘per hour’ wages increase, their take-home pay has actually fallen due to cuts in work perks, benefits and allowances.

Several famous High Street firms have now terminated double time on Sundays, cancelled Bank Holiday allowances and cut down on unsocial hours payments – leading to falling.

A raft of other post-Living Wage changes, including terminating free lunches, pension cuts and abolishing seasonal bonuses, have also left an estimated 624,000 people out of pocket since April.

A Christmas singalong may not sound like a traditional way of getting a message across, but we hope our single makes company bosses think twice and treat their employees both fairly and with respect.

If companies do not stop the practice of tearing up old contracts and reducing total pay, then the government must intervene – and we will be campaigning for this.

l Finally, as this is my last column for 2016, I would like to take the opportunity to send all my constituents and Echo readers best wishes for Christmas and a peaceful New Year.