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‘You still end up with nothing’: Reality of living in-work poverty revealed

October 18, 2017

London, UK. As the number of working families who live in poverty continues to rise in the UK, a new ‘On the front line’ article, published by SAGE Publishing in the journal Work, employment and Society, reveals the severe challenges that low pay, limited working hours and constrained employment opportunities bring.

Acknowledging that data on In Work Poverty (IWP) provides insight into the scale of the problem, researchers Jo McBride, of Newcastle University Business School, et al. suggest that, “The ‘voices’ and experiences of people living in this situation are currently lost in the statistics… Only by listening to first-hand accounts of people living through in-work poverty can their experiences be more deeply understood.” This article is one of Work, Employment and Society’s unscripted 'voice of the workers’ articles that are freely available to students and the general public.

Through a testimony given by Marcell Mbala, a part-time cleaner and community volunteer, an important insight into low-paid work, in work poverty (IWP), the use of foodbanks and underemployment in the UK is exposed. Marcell Mbala, who left college to get a job and financially support his partner and child discusses his struggles to make ends meet:

“This is the only job I’ve managed to get here. I need extra hours, but I only managed to find this part-time job and I’ve got heating to pay, electric, water bills, TV license, child support and rent. It’s a nightmare. Food, transport to work … you end up with nothing, sometimes you end up in debt.”

This article offers an important contribution to current academic and social policy debates around low-paid work, IWP the use of foodbanks, and underemployment.

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Find out more about “‘You end up with nothing’: The experience of being a statistic of ‘in-work poverty’ in the UK,” by Jo McBride et al., in Work, employment and society here. 

Work, employment & society’s ‘On the Front Line’ articles offer an accessible look at workers’ lives, highlighting current issues, and convey a sociological insight into the realities of work through the unscripted voice of workers. They are freely available to students and the general public.

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Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 1,000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. Our growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne. www.sagepublishing.com 

Work, employment and society (WES) is a leading international peer-reviewed journal of the British Sociological Association which publishes theoretically informed and original research on the sociology of work. WES covers all aspects of work, employment and unemployment and their connections with wider social processes and social structures. The journal is sociologically orientated but welcomes contributions from other disciplines which addresses the issues in a way that informs less debated aspects of the journal's remit, such as unpaid labour and the informal economy. The journal adheres to high standards of scholarship but sees no conflict between accessibility and scholarships; submissions must be clear and free from jargon. http://journals.sagepub.com/home/wes

The British Sociological Association’s charitable aim is to promote sociology. The BSA is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales. Company Number: 3890729. Registered Charity Number 1080235 www.britsoc.co.uk 

The BSA and SAGE publish four academic journals: Sociology; Work, employment and society; Cultural Sociology; and Sociological Research Online.

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