Fast Food Rights protest, Helen Pattison speaking, photo Judy Beishon

Fast Food Rights protest, Helen Pattison speaking, photo Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

We demand a real living wage

  • £10 an hour now
  • No age exemption
Jaime Davies, Bakers’ union member

Some workers will be excited for a pay rise in April as the National ‘Living’ Wage comes into force. But is it really a great deal for workers? Or is it fool’s gold?

The minimum wage is rising from £6.70 an hour to £7.20. But here’s the catch – it will only affect over-25s!

Even for them, a 50p increase is not enough to make up for years of rising costs of living. The chancellor, George Osborne, has said that the aim is for the living wage to be over £9 an hour by 2020. By then inflation will mean there is no real pay rise at all!

And the bosses will try to take advantage of this and divide workers. For example, where there are zero-hour contracts they could give fewer hours to the more ‘expensive’ over-25s compared to the ‘cheaper’ younger workers.

The Treasury tries to justify the age exemption by saying “the priority is to secure work and gain experience.” The millionaires’ cabinet seem to be ignoring the reality that prices and bills are the same whatever your age! How are young people supposed to be able to live independently, start a family or just enjoy life?

Fast food rights

We have no option but to keep fighting for a £10 an hour minimum wage now for workers of all ages and an end to zero-hour contracts. We must also demand the right to organise in trade unions in workplaces that don’t recognise them – including the multi-million pound fast food companies.

The Tories are only raising the minimum wage at all because they have felt pressure from trade unions and campaigns like Fast Food Rights, which was launched by the bakers’ union BFAWU, Youth Fight for Jobs and others.

We must be united and organised to continue fighting for a real pay rise that puts workers’ needs before the bosses’ greed. We can win a real living wage and oust this hated and divided government.

The Trade Union Congress must show a lead in coordinating action by other workers with the junior doctors, as a step towards a 24-hour general strike.

Join the protest in your local area on 1 April for a proper living wage, decent contracts and trade union rights. If nothing is planned near you yet, consider organising a protest or meeting.