TUC pushes for £5 minimum wage

The
TUC is calling for a "substantial increase in minimum wage".

The
TUC is to met with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) today (Monday) in an effort to
get the National Minimum Wage increased. The Low Pay Commission is currently
meeting to consider increases for October 2003 and October 2004.

The
TUC’s target figure is £5.00-£5.30 per hour by 2004.

The
TUC also wants the adult rate paid from age 18, not 22.

TUC
general secretary John Monks said: "The Low Pay Commission must decide on
the new rates based on the evidence before it. However, this is a negotiating
situation, so it is not surprising that the CBI’s opening bid of £4.50 by 2003
is a low one. This figure is not acceptable to the TUC, but there are good
reasons to suspect that this is not their final word.

"The
CBI’s survey predicts that significant job losses will result from raising the
minimum wage above £4.50. They say something similar every time that the rate
is discussed. There is an element of ‘crying wolf’ here.

"In
fact, the minimum wage has had no effect on employment levels, including in the
low paying sectors. The ‘headroom’ for the minimum wage is much bigger than we
originally thought. There is now room for the commission to be much
bolder."

By Quentin Reade

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