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14/03/2014 - Minimum wage rise is "not enough" says Solidarity Union

minimumwageThe Solidarity Trade Union demanded a living wage for all workers yesterday after the government announced an overdue but derisory 3 per cent boost to the minimum wage.

The national minimum wage (NMW) is to increase by 19p an hour to £6.50 later this year.

Solidarity has called for the minimum wage to be brought in line with ithe living wage level of £7.65.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity said:

"ConDem Chancellor, George Osborne, got hopes up when he spoke about a rise o £7. That would have been a big step towards matching the living wage rate that people need."

"What many don't understand is that through in work benefits the government is subsidising bad employers who don't want to pay their workers a decent rate. There is no justification for public money to be spent in this way. If the minimum wage was raised to the living wage level it would improve the government's finances to the tune of £1.35 billion and would grow the economy by £3.15bn."

Unison union general secretary Dave Prentis repeated the call: "The government should have had the courage to step up and meet that target."

He added: "Across the country people are struggling to make ends meet. The sooner we move to a living wage the better.

"The real winners today will again be payday loan sharks who prey on working people unable to bridge the financial gap between what they earn and what their families need to survive."

The government said it had accepted recommendations by the Low Pay Commission, including future plans for bigger increases than in recent years.

A worker on the adult rate, working a 36-hour week, will get an extra £355 a year from October. The increase was the first real-terms rise in six years.