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TUC puts the pressure on for increased Minimum Wage


Over 1.5 million workers are now better off thanks the National Minimum Wage, but the rate needs to rise to between £4.50 and £5 per hour in future if low paid workers are to prevented from falling back into the poverty trap, the TUC's General Council says in a statement released on Friday.

The statement - which will be presented to the 132nd TUC Congress next month in Glasgow - outlines the need for further action on the minimum wage. The General Council, the TUC's governing body, is calling for:

· A substantial increase in the minimum wage next Autumn, moving from the £3.70 rate (which takes effect this October) to an hourly wage falling somewhere between £4.50 and £5

· The removal of the lower rate for workers under the age of 21 which currently allows employers to pay younger employees 40p less per hour than older workers (50p from October)

· The establishment of a regular uprating process to ensure that the gap is not allowed to widen between those on minimum wage rates and others on higher salaries

· The introduction of a minimum wage rate for 16 and 17 year olds.

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "The introduction of the minimum wage is one of this government's greatest achievements. The 10p increase is welcome, but is not enough. The minimum wage was introduced at a deliberately cautious level. Now it is clear - despite employer warnings - that the impact on jobs is negligible, the minimum wage should be uprated to a more realistic level. Discredited employer scaremongering should not be permanently built into the level of the minimum wage.

"The youth rate is indefensible. People doing the same job should get the same wage, good employers already recognise this and pay adult rates from the age of 18. Young people can have just as many responsibilities as their older colleagues."


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