Latest News

St Joseph would have ‘downed tools to applaud Living Wage’, says bishop

Bishop Terence Drainey (Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

St Joseph the Worker would have “downed tools to applaud the Living Wage”, Bishop Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough has said.

The bishop, chairman of Caritas Social Action Network, an umbrella group for Catholic charities in England and Wales, said working people were “struggling to feed their families. This is something I know all too well in my Diocese of Middlesbrough.

“If we are to bring human dignity back into the world of work, movements towards adopting the Living Wage as well as ending the use of exploitative zero-hour contracts would be big steps indeed.

“Wouldn’t that have been something St Joseph would have downed tools to applaud?”

The bishop issued his message on the feast day of St Joseph the Worker. In Britain the minimum wage is £6.50 an hour. According to the campaign group the Living Wage Foundation, which calculates a Living Wage every year based on the cost of living, workers should be paid at least £7.85 or, if in London, £9.15.

Full text

Today marks the feast day of Saint Joseph the Worker, the day when we celebrate the dignity that work brings, the stability of a fair wage and the reassurance of good working conditions. Employment gives people a sense of purpose, allows them to progress and flourish as well as provide for themselves and their families.

For many people in the UK, however, work is just not providing enough. There are 6.7 million people living in poverty despite being in work. This is more than the combined number of people in poverty who are unemployed or retired. Not only this, but almost two-thirds of all children in poverty live in a family where at least one person is working.

More and more working people are forced to turn to foodbanks and charities for material support and benefit advice.

As trustee of CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), we know working people all across England and Wales are struggling to feed their families. This is something I know all too well in my diocese of Middlesbrough.

If we are to bring human dignity back into the world of work, movements towards adopting the Living Wage as well as ending the use of exploitative zero-hour contracts would be big steps indeed.

Wouldn’t that have been something Saint Joseph would have downed tools to applaud?