Bill to abolish minimum wage withdrawn

Unions have welcomed the withdrawal of a Conservative attempt to abolish the statutory minimum wage, and have pledged to continue to fight future moves to scrap it.

Conservative MP Christopher Chope’s Employment Opportunities Bill has been removed from the House of Commons legislation list, after originally being listed as third for debate this Thursday. Chope had previously urged ministers to allow employers to opt out of the the minimum wage legislation, in an effort to boost employment in the recession. He is expected try again to get his Bill through Parliament on 12 June.

Chope told the Commons on the submission of his Private Member’s Bill that employers and employees should be allowed to “freely negotiate” their own level of remuneration during a tough economic climate.

Dave Prentis, general secretary for union Unison, said: “I am delighted that Christopher Chope and his Tory cabal have failed in their attempt to turn the clock back to the days of poverty pay, where workers are exploited by unscrupulous bosses.

“We fought long and hard to establish the statutory national minimum wage, in the teeth of opposition and unfounded scaremongering about massive job losses. We will continue to resist any attempt to dilute or abolish it.”

The government announced last week that the minimum wage would rise by 7p to £5.80 an hour from October.

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