UK’s Trades Union Congress calls for large rise in minimum wage

The call for the rise of the minimum wage to 15 pounds ($17.7) an hour comes amid a series of strikes.

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists, in London
Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the UK's Trades Union Congress, speaks during an interview [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for action from the government to set about increasing the minimum wage to 15 pounds ($17.7) an hour “as soon as possible”.

It comes amid a summer of significant industrial action as leading unions have raised frustrations over declines in real pay amid soaring inflation.

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Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that workers saw their pay lag behind inflation at a record rate over the three months to June.

Regular pay, excluding bonuses, increased by 4.7 percent over the quarter but failed to keep up with rampant inflation, which struck 9.4 percent in June and accelerated to another 40-year high last month.

Port workers at Felixstowe have already been on strike this week.

Postal deliveries are also set to be disrupted due to strikes by Royal Mail workers who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) while journalists at Daily Mirror owner Reach will also strike on Friday.

The current minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over is 9.50 pounds – with lower rates for younger employees.

‘Collective bargaining’

The TUC has said the government must deliver a “plan to strengthen and extend collective bargaining across the economy” to help boost pay for workers.

Proposals also include corporate governance reforms and a “life-long learning and skills strategy” designed to address labour shortages.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living.

“But 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,” she said.

“We can’t keep lurching from crisis to crisis. Working families need long-term financial security – that means reversing the destructive trend of standstill wages,” O’Grady said. “Ministers should introduce fair pay agreements to get pay and productivity rising in low-paid sectors.”

Source: News Agencies