Workers should be paid at least £5.35 per hour, according to trade union Usdaw.
Usdaw has submitted evidence to the Low Pay Commission, which is carrying out a consultation exercise before recommending new minimum rates to the Government.
After researching the impact of previous minimum rate rises, Usdaw now calls for:
- The adult rate of the National Minimum Wage to be uprated to a secure flat rate between £5.35 and £5.95 per hour.
- The lower rate for 18- to 21-year-olds to be abolished altogether and for the full adult rate to be paid from the age of 18.
- The young workers’ rate (for those aged 16 or 17) to be set at around 80 per cent of the rates given to workers aged 18 and above.
Usdaw also said that employers’ suggestions that further increases in the National Minimum Wage would lead to job losses and company failures are wrong.
“We’ve been here before with this sort of scaremongering from employers’ organisations,” said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. “The facts speak for themselves in this regard. In the six months following the 30 pence per hour increase in the National Minimum Wage in October 2003, employment in retailing went up, not down, by 86,000.
“The National Minimum Wage has been one of the big success stories of recent years, and has made a valuable contribution to combating low pay levels. Usdaw wants the Low Pay Commission to make bold recommendations that would make major inroads to eradicating low pay,” he said.
The British Retail Consortium has warned that another rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to £5.20 could lead to more than 20,000 jobs being lost and would cost the retail sector an extra £2.7bn.