Cost of living crisis: More take on second jobs to help 'make ends meet'

Watch the video report by ITV Wales reporter, Mike Griffiths.

Charlene Lijertwood from Marshfield works full time as a school receptionist but has had to take on shifts in a pub once a week to keep up with the cost of living.

She is not alone as new research from Unison shows that more people in Wales are being forced to take on extra jobs to keep up with the cost of living crisis.

A survey of union members suggests that over 20% have looked to other sources of income to supplement their regular incomes. Meanwhile, others have been turning to second jobs to make ends meet.

Charlene said without another job, she would be struggling financially: "With the ever rising price crisis, we've decided that we both need to take on extra work. So I've decided to work in my local pub. It means I can walk there as well, so I'm not worried about fuel and the costs of getting there. And it's just a little part time job on top of that, just to make ends meet, because otherwise, we would be struggling."

Charalene Lijertwood now works in a pub as well as a school receptionist to help with the cost of bills. Credit: ITV Wales

Her husband is a firefighter and is also doing additional shifts with a weekend contract, resulting in the couple not spending as much time together. Charlene explained: "there may be weekends where we alternate the shifts. So on a Saturday I'll work, and on a Sunday he'll work. Which is difficult, because it limits the family time together."

She continued: "We're a family of four. We've got two children. We've got a nine year old and a six year old. So it's not just ourselves that we have to consider.

"We want them to stay healthy and to be able to socialise with friends - it's important for their childhood."

Everyday prices have risen sharply throughout the year and although the UK Government has taken steps to subsidise the latest rises in energy, campaigners are warning that many have already had to make some difficult choices.

General Secretary of the Welsh TUC, Shavanah Taj, said: "We know that tens of thousands of workers in Wales are telling us that they are in a position now where they have no choice but to take a second job or to take on a third job. But of course not everyone is going to be able to do that, because of childcare reasons, because of other caring responsibilities.

"People have got to the point where they are pawning their personal possessions. This is not sustainable. People deserve dignity and respect, and they deserve a quality of life outside of work."

Charlene added: "We shouldn't have to sacrifice the basics, you know. You shouldn't have to worry about can you put food on the table, can you put the heating on?

"I think if we weren't working extra shifts, we'd both be worrying... much like everybody else. We either decided we could let it overtake us, or we could try and do something about it, be proactive. We want to be in a position where we can still survive. We may not be in a position to save, but we're in a position to continue to survive."