The TUC is pushing for the national minimum wage (NMW) to be raised by 20p to £6 per hour ahead of a meeting with the Low Pay Commission.
The union body is meeting with the commission to discuss rates for the period from October 2010 to September 2011. The TUC will recommend that this 3.5% rise in the adult NMW is “both sensible and affordable”.
The adult minimum wage is currently £5.80. Workers aged 18-20 get £4.83, and those aged 16 and 17 get £3.57. The TUC will recommend those rates are raised to £6, £5 and £3.69.
Gordon Brown announced at the Labour Party conference last month that the NMW would increase in each of the next five years, a move that the CBI criticised as threatening the independence of the Low Pay Commission.
The TUC believes that the 20p increase would benefit around one million vulnerable workers and help address the gender pay gap, as two in three (66%) of those benefiting will be female.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “It is predictable that some employer groups are saying that any increase in the minimum wage will threaten jobs and that £6 is too much,” he said.
“However, raising the minimum wage has already helped thousands of families without causing significant job losses. The effect of a further reasonable increase on employer pay bills will be modest, and companies should find them easy to absorb.”