THE coalition government has named 70 companies that won’t pay workers the minimum wage.
Even the government says that the 100 cases in the care sector being investigated are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
The non-payers are a broad church from Delcom Systems in Salisbury, which owes £11,730 to its staff, to the Apostolic Church in London owing £8,300 and the Young Friends Nursery in Hove whose workers have been underpaid by £6,700.
Yesterday, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called for more prosecutions and higher fines for those companies that will not pay the minimum wage, saying: ‘Cheating bosses who fleece their workers out of their hard-earned pay must end up in court – and there are still lots of under-paying employers who are getting away with it.’ O’Grady clearly does not believe in trade union action against low pay!
The naming of the 70 comes a day after the Low Pay Commission recommended a 3% rise in the adult minimum wage, from £6.50 an hour to £6.70 an hour from October. This is hardly breaking the bank, at a time when MPs and Tory leaders such as Rifkind complain that they cannot survive on an MP’s pay of over £60,000, plus expenses!
The fact that this will be the biggest increase in the minimum wage since 2008, if it is accepted by the government, emphasises just how the poor have suffered under both Labour and Tory regimes.
Such a rise will also mean that the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds goes up to £5.30 an hour, to £3.87 for 16 and 17-year-olds and to £2.80 an hour for apprentices, emphasising that the younger you are, the more brutally you are exploited.
Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said last year that the minimum wage would rise to £8 an hour over the course of the next parliament if his party wins the general election. This means that over a Labour five year term, working class adults will get a rise of 30 pence an hour, for each year – Miliband cannot be serious! Yet he is!
The TUC has also reported that nationally one in five jobs pays under the living wage, currently set at £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of Britain. In some parliamentary constituencies more than half of the people working there earn less than this.
Birmingham Northfield tops the list of living wage blackspots with 53.4 per cent of people working there earning less than £7.85 an hour, followed by Kingswood near Bristol (51 per cent) and Dwyfor Meirionnydd in north Wales (50.9 per cent).
In other parts of Britain, a substantial number of workers also get paid less than the living wage – in Harrow West in north west London (48.9 per cent), Chingford and Woodford Green in north east London (48.3 per cent), East Yorkshire (42.4 per cent), Blackpool South (42.1 per cent), South East Cornwall (40.2 per cent), Heywood and Middleton in Greater Manchester (39.8 per cent) and Rhondda in south Wales (38.9 per cent).
For working women the picture is even bleaker. Well over half of women working in Birmingham Northfield (63.1 per cent), Kingswood (59.6 per cent) and East Yorkshire (58.7 per cent) take home less than the living wage. And over half of women working in Heywood and Middleton (53.9 per cent), Dwyfor Meirionnydd (53.1 per cent) and Blackpool South (50.7 per cent) earn less than £7.85 an hour.
This the reality of low paid UK. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady acts as if this low pay is nothing at all to do with the TUC. In fact, the TUC has allowed this situation to happen, and done exactly nothing about it.
At the recent TUC Congress, O’Grady went out of her way to see that there was no resolution even saying, as at the previous two TUC Congresses, that a general strike was still on the table and on the agenda of the TUC.
Also the 2014 TUC Congress passed a motion from the Bakers Union that the national minimum wage must be £10 an hour. Nothing has happened about organising a fight for this resolution since the Congress. O’Grady has forgotten it – ie dumped it. The bankruptcy of the TUC leadership has helped make low wage UK a reality.
To put an end to low paid UK a new and revolutionary leadership is required in the trade unions, to mobilise the working class to put an end to capitalism with a general strike leading to a socialist revolution. There is no other way!