Tag Archives: frontline workers

Facing shocking levels of violence at work – yet not paid enough to live on: 57% of UK retail staff say their wages barely cover basic expenses, despite many working more hours than ever

  • Study finds that UK shop workers are faring much worse financially than European counterparts
  • One in ten use food banks and nearly a third rely on friends and family to help with living expenses
  • 43% are clocking up more hours than they ever have – rising to 60% for those in wholesale roles

Following the release of the British Retail Consortium’s Crime Survey 2024 Report, revealing a 50% rise in abuse and violence aimed at shop staff, new data shows that more than half of UK retail workers say their wages barely meet even basic living costs – despite many putting in longer hours than ever to keep up with inflated expenses.

Frontline staff across several industries, including retail and wholesale, were polled in the pan-European study by workforce management experts Quinyx.  Four in ten UK retail employees (43%) said they’re working more hours than they ever have in order to meet increased living costs and support their families. For those in wholesale jobs, this rises to 60%.

Pointing to a significant financial disparity between retail staff in the UK and those in other parts of Europe, UK employees were much more likely to say their wages barely cover living costs (57%) than their counterparts in The Netherlands (31%), the Nordics (33%) and Germany (39%). For wholesale workers, the gap is even greater – 57% of UK staff, compared to 18% in The Netherlands, 22% in the Nordics and 27% in Germany say they can barely afford basic living expenses.

Despite a third (33%) of retail staff receiving a pay rise last year, 10% said they’d had to use food banks, while 29% had to accept financial support from friends and family to cover basic costs.

Toma Pagojute, chief HR officer at Quinyx, says: “The British Retail Consortium’s findings are shocking, and while no amount of pay would make the current situation acceptable, the fact that many retail staff are barely scraping by financially seems like another insult.

“If there’s a positive to take from the BRC report, it’s that it is shedding greater light on retail crime and encouraging action to make frontline workers safer. We hope it also brings opportunities to review employees’ experiences as a whole, considering all factors that can affect their mental and physical health.

“Pay is part of that, particularly as we’re still facing higher interest rates and increased living costs. In addition to any legislation brought in regarding customer behaviour and staff protection, employers should always consider the wellbeing of their workforce and look for ways to help frontliners feel less stressed, overwhelmed and overworked. This might be through flexible scheduling or improved communications – and generally making staff feel like they matter and their contributions are valued.”

Gwynedd garage plans for future growth after supporting community through Covid

AN AWARD-WINNING garage which came to the rescue of frontline workers during the Coronavirus pandemic has experienced a surge in growth and customers.

Arwyn Hughes launched Arwyn’s Garage (Garej Arwyn) in 2004 on the site of his Dad Gwyndaf’s former haulage business.

It was just Arwyn, working out of a unit on Penygroes Industrial Estate and using his years of skills and experience as a mechanic to service and repair cars and fine-tune a range of vehicles, from Land Rovers to Audis and more.

Seventeen years later and the 46 year-old employs 23 people out of three workshops in the Gwynedd village.

A Mitsubishi Master Technician, Arwyn is also well-known for the support he gave to his community in lockdown, offering free courtesy cars to NHS and frontline staff so they could get to and from work safely.

He is now focused on continuing to grow the business while ensuring the safety of his team and customers, after what he describes as a “strange and challenging” 12 months.

“It has been a year unlike any other, but we have been able to carry on by introducing health and safety measures, ensuring social distancing and operating out of the three workshops,” said Arwyn, whose partner Aimi and son Cian also work in the business.

“We’ve been around for many years, but this has been a strange and challenging time for everyone, nobody has ever experienced anything like this before.

“We were all in unchartered territory and there was so much pressure on our frontline workers that we wanted to do something to help them, so we started to give discounts on labour for MOTs and servicing and provided free courtesy cars to get them to and from work safely.

“We were just glad to be able to help and give something back to people in the village who have supported us over the years.”

As member of the Good Garage Scheme, the business has won many awards.

Arwyn has also been successful with AGT (Arwyn’s Garage Tuning) and for more than five years has been one of Celtic Tuning’s network of dealerships across 19 countries worldwide.

“We have grown and grown, and it’s largely been down to dedication and hard work,” said Arwyn, a former pupil at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle.

“I started out on my own and was later joined by a mechanic, then an apprentice, and from there I built things up slowly.

“I think reputation and word of mouth has played a part; before Coronavirus we had customers from as far away as Scotland coming here to use our services and facilities, so we hope to see that continue when lockdown is lifted, and it is safe to do so.”

He added: “I still get involved with fixing cars, getting my hands dirty and being there in the garage – that’s all I have ever done since leaving school.

“We will keep going and keep growing, that’s my vision and with the team I have around me I know we can achieve it.”

Visit www.garejarwyn.co.uk for more information or call 01286 882 299. Alternatively, email info@garejarwyn.co.uk.

COMPETITION: Arwyn’s Garage is giving away an official Wales rugby union shirt to celebrate the Guinness Six Nations tournament. To enter the prize draw, customers need to bring their vehicle to the garage to use one of the services on offer up until March 20. Anyone already booked in will be automatically entered into the draw. For terms and conditions visit the website.