Unions call for higher minimum wage

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Union leaders are to press for an above-inflation increase in the national minimum wage in 2012, arguing that this year’s rise was too modest.

The adult rate rose from £5.93 to £6.08 an hour this month, and the Low Pay Commission is currently considering what to advise the Government to do next year.

The TUC said in a submission to the commission that a rise by more than RPI inflation was both “necessary and affordable” and would help address the loss in the real value of the minimum wage cause by below-inflation increases in previous years.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Last year the LPC recommended a 2.5 per cent increase to the adult minimum wage rate which turned out to be too modest. Inflation is outstripping both average earnings and the minimum wage, causing a huge squeeze on living standards, particularly for the low paid.”

He said the LPC should also recommend the extension of the minimum wage to some domestic workers and seafarers and continue to tighten up on enforcement.