£10 an hour now!

Six million earn less than living wage

£10 an hour now!

Vladimir Bortun

The Trades Union Congress reports that nearly six million workers in the UK earn less than the voluntary ‘living wage’ (currently £7.85 an hour and £9.15 an hour in London).

And the proportion of workers earning less than the living wage has increased in recent years.

The bosses’ policy of low wages has been central in securing ever growing profits for the ‘1%’ super-rich, while the number of working families having to claim benefits and use foodbanks has soared.

These latest figures plainly contradict the Tories’ claim that they have raised the living standards of working people. In fact, the tax credit cuts that millionaire Prime Minister Cameron insists on putting through will send a further 200,000 children into poverty by 2016.

The increase in the national minimum wage next year – from £6.70 an hour to £7.20 an hour (only for those over 25) – will not repair the damage that these cuts will bring about. But even this miserly increase has led bosses to threaten job cuts in order to maintain company profits.


Retiring Costa Coffee boss Andrew Harrison, who pocketed £4.6 million in pay and bonuses last year, said he’ll increase prices to pay the raise to 34,000 of its staff who currently earn less than £7.20.

The minimum wage, which is expected to increase to £9 an hour by 2020, will not keep up with the increase in the rate of the real living wage. It means that in five years’ time the proportion of people earning less than the living wage will be even higher.

That is why we need to campaign through our trade unions for a £10 an hour minimum wage now as a step towards a real living wage. Only an increase on this scale would really halt the decline in living standards of working people.