Unions to plead for minimum wage rise

By politics.co.uk staff

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) will petition the government to raise the national minimum wage (NMW) to £6.14 per hour, it has confirmed.

TUC representatives will meet with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on Monday and ask it to recommend the 21p (3.5%) increase to ministers.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, argued that now growth had returned to the economy, the time was ripe to consider the wage bump.

“The minimum wage has already helped hundreds of thousands of families without any negative side effects,” he said.

“Its success has shown that the UK economy can easily cope with sensible labour market regulation that makes life at work fairer. Indeed, the UK’s economic problems seem to have been caused by too little regulation rather than too much.

The minimum wage is currently under consideration by the LPC, which will make conclusions for setting the rate for the year 2011-12.

The unions argue the increase would help close the pay gap between men and women, as minimum wage earners are more likely to be female – and suggests the move would save the government money in the long-run as people move off benefits and into work.

The TUC claims an extra £235 million in tax revenue would accrue to the Treasury with the 3.5% NMW rise.

Mr Barber added: “A rise in the minimum wage is needed to ensure that working families are not left in poverty, and most business organisations now agree that an increase of some sort would be affordable.

“It would certainly not be fair to make the low paid suffer real cuts in their pay when there is no economic necessity to do so, and while City bankers are still getting huge bonuses.”

A report out today confirmed that chief executives’ pay had jumped by 55% since last year.