One in four shop workers are skipping meals each month to meet bill payments, according to research from a trade union.
This figure has leapt from 1 in 20 last year, as Britain’s lowest paid workers struggle amid the throes of cost of living crunch, according to a survey by Usdaw union.
Inflation is anticipated to soar past 13 per cent this autumn, according to predictions from the Bank of England.
The survey of more than 5,500 retail staff has revealed how the surging prices of petrol prices and other household costs have hit workers.
Nearly half of respondents said their ability to travel to their workplace had been impacted by heightened petrol prices and travel costs.
What’s more, seven in 10 retail workers said they had been reliant on insecure borrowing with six in 10 finding difficulties with making repayments.
“Many respondents talked of how increased fuel prices were leading them to cut down on shifts, to ask for a transfer to a store closer to home or even to consider leaving work altogether,” Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said.
Ministers had simply offered “sticking plasters that go nowhere near covering rising prices and bills,” Lillis added.
He called for “significant increases in minimum wage rates and fundamental reforms to end insecure work.”
Usdaw is calling for minimum wage rates of at least £12 per hour as a step towards £15 for all workers.
A HM Treasury spokesperson said: “We understand that people are struggling with rising prices which is why we have acted to protect the 8m most vulnerable British families through at least £1,200 of direct payments this year with additional support for pensioners and those claiming disability benefits. And every household will get £400 off their energy bills this winter.”
The spokesperson also said it was saving the “typical employee” more than £330 a year through a tax cut in July, “allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn and cutting fuel duty by 5p saving a typical family £100.”