TUC backs 20p rise in national minimum wage to £6 per hour

29 October 2009 by
TUC backs 20p rise in national minimum wage to £6 per hour

The TUC will argue that the national minimum wage (NMW) should be raised by 20p to £6 per hour when it meets the Low Pay Commission on Friday.

The commission, the independent body that advises the Government on the NMW, is meeting the TUC to discuss rates for the period from October 2010 to September 2011.

The union body will recommend that this 3.5% rise in the adult NMW is "both sensible and affordable" so that the earnings of workers in low pay sectors such as hospitality do not fall behind the rest of the country.

The adult minimum wage is currently £5.80, while workers aged 18-20 must get a minimum of £4.83, and those aged 16 and 17, £3.57. The TUC will recommend those rates are raised to £6, £5 and £3.69.

At last month's Labour Party conference, Gordon Brown announced 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 hospitality industry, which is currently getting to grips with new legislation preventing operators topping up minimum wage with tips, will oppose any large increases in NMW.

But 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.

"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."

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By Daniel Thomas

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