Trade Unions demand £8 minimumn wage
Trade Union representatives today pledged to press for a "living wage" of £8 an hour ahead of an increase in the statutory rate from tomorrow which will see it break through the £6 barrier for the first time.
The adult rate jumps by 15p to £6.08 from Saturday, by 6p to £4.98 for 18- to 20-year-olds, and up by 4p to £3.68 for 16- and 17-year-olds, while the apprentice rate goes up by 10p to £2.60.
The TUC said estimates suggested that the 2.5% increase in the adult minimum wage should benefit the public finances by £230 million as tax and national insurance rates increase and the benefits bill falls.
Unison said today it will continue to campaign for a "substantial" increase, in line with the rising cost of living, adding it believed there should be a living wage of £8 an hour.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: "More than 10 years on, the minimum wage has become a valuable safety net for millions of workers. It is a lasting legacy of the trade union and labour movement
"The rise to £6.08 is a welcome cushion, but with the price of everyday essentials such as food, gas and electricity going up massively, it won't lift enough working people out of the poverty trap.
"We want a more substantial figure and a decent living wage for all - a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, regardless of age. Good employers should be looking at the mounting pressures on their workforce and paying them more than the absolute minimum.
"The Government must be vigilant in enforcing the minimum wage - those earning the least should not have to suffer the most because of the recession. Without decent pay they will sink further into poverty and the economy will fail to recover."
The TUC has estimated that almost 900,000 workers, mainly women, will get a pay rise because of the increase in the minimum wage.