Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/364/5979
Bosses Think Minimum Wage Too High
"TONY BLAIR is hypocritical and can't be trusted. He has repeatedly refused to repeal Tory anti-trade union laws which prevent workers from protecting themselves.
"Workers' rights have not improved under New Labour. Britain has continued to opt out of European Union guidelines intended to protect workers, such as the maximum 48 hour week.
"The government has implemented insulting minimum wage levels, whilst failing (till now) to set a minimum wage at all for workers under 18."
That was a PCS member commenting on Blair's speech at conference.
On 1 October, the national minimum wage gets its yearly increase. The adult rate rises from £4.50 to £4.85 an hour, the rate for 18-21 year-olds will rise to £4.10 an hour. And 16 and 17-year olds will now get some form of minimum wage as they do in many other European countries, even though it is only a pitifully low £3 an hour.
Many people would agree with the PCS member's assessment of the minimum wage level as 'insulting'. The bosses' organisation CBI, though, think it is too high! They would be monitoring the impact of the rise on employers' profit margins to see if the government had "overdone it".
In fact, new figures show that employment has grown in sectors where the minimum wage has had the most impact. But that has been in a period of relatively high profits. The CBI's outburst shows that the bosses may use any weakness in the trade unions to try and weaken still further the minimum wage laws.
In The Socialist 2 October 2004:
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