Monday, 29 September 2008
Minimum wage rise needs enforcement
The Welsh TUC has welcomed news that about 50,000 low-paid workers in Wales will benefit from next week's increase in the National Mininum Wage, which is going up to £5.73 per hour, from £5.52 (£3.53 from £3.40 for workers aged under 18). Its not surprising that Wales has a disproportionately high number of workers who will benefit from this rise. Of course, any increase in the minimum wage levels are to be welcomed. However, with fast rises in the cost of food and fuel, a 3.8% increase is not enough. The minimum wage is an important safety net to guarantee a basic income, but inequality will continue to grow unless the minimum wage levels are substantially increased. UNISON says that workers should get a minimum of £6.75, and that the practice of discriminating against younger workers should end. That would be a good start.
As I've reported previously there are only 8 minimum wage enforcement officers based in Cardiff to cover the whole of Wales. Firms who have been caught not paying have escaped prosecution. Not a great incentive to comply with the legislation! We need more enforcement officers and tough penalties for those employers caught breaking the law. Otherwise, bad employers will continue with bad practices and inequality will continue to grow.
(thanks to beauboD'Or for the picture)