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TUC make fresh call for NMW rate rise

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In its annual submission to the Low Pay Commission (LPC), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will today recommend an increase in the adult national minimum wage (NMW) to £5.35 up from £4.85 per hour.

The TUC say that the rate rise would be both fair and affordable and would give an increase above the projected growth in earnings while boosting the pay packets of up to two million workers.

The union body argue that the rate rise from £3.60 in 1999 to £4.85 in 2004 has had no detrimental effect on business or the economy. The TUC point to an increase of 4.9% in the number of jobs in the low paying sectors which they say is directly attributable to the introduction of a NMW.

Calls for the adult NMW to apply from the age of 18 rather than 22 will also be made today. Alongside recommendations for an interim review for younger workers (16 – 17 year olds) who were afforded a minimum wage of £3.00 per hour for the first time this October.

Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary said:

“This increase would be fair and affordable. The TUC has taken a considered and constructive approach to the minimum wage. We have looked at the hard evidence and worked with our partners on the Commission to ensure that the wage is set at the right level to benefit business and the target number of low-paid employees.”

Campaigning pressure group the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), however, believe that the NMW rate should be regionalised.

Stephen Alambritis of the FSB told HRZone: “There is a more important case for a regionalisation of the national minimum wage to ensure that it doesn’t start to lose jobs. We are talking about regions including the South West and North East where we are recommending a slightly lower level than in the south. As the NMW progresses there would be a logic for regionalisation.”

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