19/03/2015 - National minimum wage to rise by 20p an hour to £6.70

minimumwage2The national minimum wage will increase by 20p an hour to 6.70 from October, the government has announced.


The changes will affect more than 1.4 million workers.


The statutory minimum for 18 to 20-year-olds will also go up by 3% from October, from £5.13 to £5.30, and by 2% for 16 and 17-year-olds, taking the rate to £3.87, as the Low Pay Commission advised.


But the government has rejected the commission's proposed miserly 7p an hour increase in the apprenticeship rate, choosing instead to increase it by 57p an hour.


The rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age.


Solidarity accepts that barring an increase in inflation between now and October 2015 (when the new minimum wage is introduced) the 3% increase should be worth at least 3% in real terms, when adjusted for the inflation - or in this case the deflation - that applies to the goods which the poorest spend most money on (excluding alcohol and tobacco!).


Whilst Solidarity welcomes these rises in the Minimum Wage rates we don't believe they go far enough.


Our Workers' Charter calls on candidates at the forthcoming General Election to raise the Minimum Wage to the same rate as the Living Wage.


The Living Wage (excluding London) is currently £7.88 per hour. It is based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living. The rate in London is higher.


It is promoted on a voluntary basis by the Living Wage Foundation. It has received widespread political support and limited adoption by employers.


Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "Our Union believes that the Minimum Wage rate should be based on the same calculations as the Living Wage. This would lift many out of in-work poverty and make our society more Just and cohesive. It will be interesting to see how many candidates at the General Election share this view."