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Fighting Low Pay

It’s conference time for the GMB, and prompted by some members I looked at the state of policy development on low pay and the living wage. The GMB Policy is stated in its policy guide albeit dated 2021. I look at Labour’s “A new deal for working people” and note that the GMB’s minimum wage target is now too low and that Labour has none.

We are all aware that the Tories have nicked the name living wage, for the minimum wage, but the Living Wage Foundation, is still tracking what is needed to live. The CIPP reports them as saying,

The Real Living Wage Foundation has today (22 September 2022)  announced the new hourly rates for the Real Living Wage. Across the UK the rate will be £10.90, a £1.00 rise, and £11.95 in London, an uplift of 90p. This increase of 10.1% is the largest in the foundation’s history and marks the hourly rate at £1.40 above the National Living Wage of 9.50 for those aged 23 and over. The announcement of these rates was due in November but was brought forward in response to the rapidly increasing cost-of-living. The foundation calculates the rate from the real cost-of-living facing lower earners across the UK.

This is equivalent to £22,672 p.a, about 235% of the state pension and 14% higher than the Government’s national minimum wage.

GMB Policy, which I have extracted from the policy document says,

 “We believe that the National Minimum Wage should be at least £12 an hour, and we support higher £15 an hour demands on a sector basis.”  2021

The ONS stats, say that the CPI has risen from 111.13 in June 2021 to 126.7 in Nov 2022, again a 14% increase, suggesting that the £12 number is too low and that our minimum demand should now be £13.70, but anti-poverty campaigners, are setting £15 as the target for a national minimum wage.

The Labour Party is developing policy, best represented in its statement, “A new deal for working people“, they say,

Labour will continue to assess how to deliver its commitment to raising the living wage to ensure that it is adequate and addresses the rise in the cost of living and inflation.

Labour is demanding that the minimum wage is immediately raised to at least £10 per hour for all workers and will continue to evaluate what a real living wage should be.

Labour will continue to assess how to deliver its commitment to raising the National Living Wage to ensure that it is adequate and addresses the
rise in the cost of living and inflation since 2019.

A Labour Government will replace Universal Credit with a social security system that allows low-income earners on benefits to keep more of their take-home pay, and which offers a safety net for all.

Interestingly while low pay is one of the most significant causes of poverty, the disgraceful SSP regime is another cause. Labour say,

Labour will raise Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and make it available all workers, including the self-employed and those on low wages currently cut out by the lower earnings limit for eligibility.

Yet again no target, and let’s remember, most highly paid staff and public sector workers have wage related sick pay schemes.

Of course, string unions and collective bargaining is better.


Posted: 9th January 2023

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