O’Grady says minimum wage must increase next year or leave low-paid workers behind
The message comes at the same time as a warning that low-paid workers risk being left further behind unless the government increases the National Minimum Wage next year and ensures that it at least keeps pace with inflation and average earnings growth.
The TUC, which will later this morning present evidence to the Low Pay Commission on the level it would like to see the minimum wage set at next year, says that with ongoing cuts to tax-credits and benefits the incomes of hard-pressed families are being squeezed even tighter. As a result an increasing number of households are relying upon the minimum wage to make ends meet.
Despite inflation currently running at 2.6 per cent the government last month announced a minimum wage increase of just 1.8 per cent for adults and a freeze in the rate for younger people. This has resulted in a real-terms pay cut for around 940,000 minimum wage workers.
With the economy forecast to grow over the next year and average earnings expected to increase the TUC believes that there is more room for the minimum wage to rise above inflation next year.
The TUC will also repeat its call for companies that flout the minimum wage to be publicly named and shamed.
TUC general secretary designate Frances O’Grady said: “Last month’s minimum wage increase amounted to a real-terms pay cut for hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers.
“With many hard-pressed families facing cuts to their benefits and tax credits, the minimum wage is becoming even more of a vital lifeline. At the very least it needs to keep pace with inflation.
“Last month’s growth forecasts show there will be more capacity to increase the minimum wage rates in 2013 and the Low Pay Commission must be bolder with the rates it puts to ministers. As the economy recovers larger rises will be needed.
“In addition, minimum wage enforcement needs to be more visible. The minority of employers who deliberately set out to cheat workers and undercut honest businesses must be publicly named and shamed.”
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