With reports from the government that the economy is recovering, there is still the feeling that many working people are not benefiting at all, in fact most families are £1,600 worse off that they were in 2010.
It’s clear that anything other than a living wage will result in an increase in poverty, not to mention a large increase in work benefits and welfare claims.
For years employers have paid below the minimum wage which has been proven that in some cities like London even with the minimum wage it’s insufficient. In addition the minimum wage has stagnated to the point where in some areas benefits pay more.
The real answer to this problem is to increase the minimum wage to that of the living wage with a link to RPI, and to adopt a strict enforcement regime to combat unscrupulous employers who continue to pay less than the law dictates.
The GMB in partnership with Newham Council recently launched a campaign to “Pay by the Rules”. This campaign highlighted the fact that in many local authorities there are still employers who are paying below the minimum wage with weak enforcement by the HMRC.
In fact there have only been around two or three prosecutions against employers paying below the minimum wage, and when these bogus employers are taken through the courts, they pay feeble fine of approx. £500.
The joint campaign with Newham allows the council to work in partnership with the HMRC and carry out their own enforcement, gather considerable legal information, and be influential in getting the courts to implement higher fines.
This will result in far more cases being pursued, and greater fines which will assist in stamping out this practice in places like Newham.
On 1 October, the National Minimum Wage rises by 20p an hour to £6.70.
The youth rate for 18- to 20-year-olds the rise is 17p an hour to £5.30, while the youth rate for under 18s rises by 8p an hour to £3.87.
The apprentice rate rises by 57p an hour to £3.30 an hour. The rate applies to those apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.
All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.
Supermarket to pay above Living Wage
Supermarket chain Morrison’s is the latest retailer to announce a tidy pay rise, following on from the likes of rival Sainsbury’s and IKEA.
Morrison’s has announced that it will pay staff a minimum of £8.20 an hour from March 2016. This is up from Morrison’s’ current minimum of £6.83 an hour and will benefit more than 90,000 staff; the increase will apply to staff of all ages. It means that the supermarket will be paying above the voluntary Living Wage outside of London.
The present rate is £7.85 per hour across the UK while in London it is £9.15. These rates are due to rise during Living Wage Week in November.