‘THE TUC and its affiliates must fight for the policy they voted for, to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour,’ Bakers Union Regional Officer Roy Streeter told News Line yesterday.
Streeter was responding to the Tory-led coalition government’s move to name 70 companies that have failed to pay workers the minimum wage.
The worst offender was care provider East Midlands Crossroads, which owed £37,500 to 184 workers.
The TUC has said that it is not enough to ‘name and shame companies’ that fail to pay their workers the minimum wage, that the managers of the guilty companies should be prosecuted.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: ‘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.
‘The latest naming and shaming 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.
‘That would be the biggest increase since 2008 if it is accepted by the government. A decision will be made in the coming weeks.’
However Bakers Union’s Roy Streeter says that the TUC is going back on the resolution, passed unanimously at its annual conference committing the TUC to campaign to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour.
He said that the TUC must fight for this, rather than lauding a mere 20p increase in the current minimum wage to a measly £6.70 an hour.
Streeter added: ‘We were the union that took the £10 an hour minimum wage motion to conference. They all voted for that motion, it was passed unanimouly.
‘That is now the policy of the TUC and its affiliates. And £10 an hour minimum, that is a minimum, it is just the starting point.
‘The motion also stated that £10 an hour would be the minimum for under 18 year olds as well.
‘It is about the job you do not the age of the person.
‘When the early day motion 451 “increasing the national minimum wage to £10 an hour” was passed, the TUC leadership congratulated Congress for passing the motion.
‘The TUC committed itself to a campaign to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour. The motion also addresses the scandal that apprentices can be paid as little as £2.73 an hour and under 18 as little as £3.79.
‘The TUC and affiliates must fight for what is now their policy – £10 an hour minimum wage.
‘They have no right to move away from that, that is what they voted for.’
Martin Smith, GMB National Organiser, said ‘Naming and shaming these 70 employers is to be welcomed as far too few wage dodging employers not paying the national minimum wage have been brought to justice.
‘Government needs to make a real commitment to making work pay by more aggressively seeking out offenders to prosecute them.
‘The enforcement rules should also be changed so that trade unions can make complaints to HMRC on behalf of members.
‘As part of the public disgracing for the firms named, the GMB is calling for the directors of these companies to be placed on a “wage offenders register” at Companies House and be deemed an unfit person to hold any further directorships.’
Smith added: ‘The Low Pay Commission should recommend a rate of at least £7 per hour from October 2014 to make up the ground lost since 2006.’
This, too, represents a massive capitulation of the GMB union as it was also at the TUC Congress and also voted for the resolution for a minimum wage of £10 an hour.