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Calls for £15-an-hour minimum wage

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the minimum wage to be upped to £15 an hour.

The union body has set out a plan for pay growth as workers struggle to stay afloat in a period of rising inflation and soaring energy bills. It says the government needs to “transition the economy to high-wage, high-skilled and secure jobs,” and “shift our economic model away from a reliance on low-paid and insecure work”.

The TUC’s plan is underpinned by a £15 minimum wage – up from the £9.50 an hour minimum paid at the moment.

As part of its package of measures to deal with the cost of living crisis, the TUC is also calling for the minimum wage to be uprated by at least inflation this October – as opposed to April next year when the uprating is due.

The TUC said the government must deliver a return to normal wage growth so workers get proper pay rises for the first time in more than a decade. It called for sustained pay growth, year on year, so that median wages reach £20 an hour as soon as possible.

Since the minimum wage was introduced, its level as a proportion of the median wage has increased – starting at 47% in 1999 and expected to reach 66% by 2024, although the TUC said that a more ambitious target of 75% is the “logical next step”.

According to the TUC, between 1997 and 2010 nominal wages grew by an average of 3.8% a year. It says that at the very least, we need to see this level of growth again as this would deliver a £20 median wage by 2030.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Millions of low-paid workers live wage packet to wage packet, struggling to get by – and they are now being pushed to the brink by eye-watering bills and soaring prices.

“For too long workers have been told that businesses can’t afford to pay them more. But again and again the evidence has shown that firms are still making profits and increasing jobs – we can afford higher wages.”

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