Minimum wage of £ 15: who claims it and could it happen?

Who calls for a minimum wage of £ 15?

Union Unite presented a composite motion for debate at the Labor Party conference, which, among other motions such as banning fires and rehiring, calls for an increase in the minimum wage to £ 15 an hour. It was adopted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon.

The far-reaching motion also demanded stronger union rights, higher taxes “for the richest”, the end of zero-hour contracts and a “better work-life balance”.

The £ 15 minimum wage section of the motion was submitted by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, and adopted by the Momentum core group in their eight proposals for the September conference.

Former leader Jeremy Corbyn also told the BBC that a minimum wage of £ 15 an hour was something the party “should support and campaign for”.

Why are they asking for a minimum wage of £ 15?

Raising the minimum wage to £ 15 an hour would lift large numbers of workers out of poverty, remove the welfare burden on taxpayers and create an environment conducive to small business development, according to the popular Momentum movement, which supports the motion. .

“We need to be more ambitious in our approach to the national minimum wage,” MP McDonald told PoliticsJoe.

“Ten pounds an hour is what we were talking about in 2014, 2015. The world has changed, prices are rising, we see the pressures on workers every day. “

The GMB Union campaigned for a minimum wage of £ 15 for social workers to ensure safe staff and high labor utilization. The union also argues that raising their wages could further motivate healthcare workers who are at risk of getting the coronavirus vaccine or losing their jobs, after the vaccine was made mandatory for nursing home workers.

“We have always said that the best way to tackle vaccine hesitancy in the workforce is to properly assess and pay workers a salary that better reflects the valuable work they do. £ 15 per hour no less, ”said Kelly Andrews, GMB’s national care manager.

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How much would £ 15 per hour per year / as a salary?

A person working 40 hours a week and earning £ 15 an hour would earn an annual salary of £ 31,200 before taxes or other deductions.

This is around £ 200 less than the median annual salary for full-time employees, which was £ 31.46 for the 2019/2020 tax year, according to ONS statistics. While 2020 has been a difficult year for many jobs, “annual salary estimates are largely unaffected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic” according to the report.

Is a minimum wage of £ 15 economically viable?

With more than half of the entire UK workforce making less than £ 15 an hour, many have questioned whether a minimum wage of £ 15 would actually work.

The median hourly wage for all employees in 2020 was £ 13.68 per hour. So not only will occupations such as cleaners, waiters, and retail workers who have long earned minimum wage receive a significant pay rise, but so will many college-level jobs.

Breaking wages down into hourly wages, the average salary for paramedics (excluding paramedics) is £ 12.33. Legal secretaries earn an average of £ 10.75 an hour and financial officers £ 12.90.

The average teaching assistant earns a salary of £ 17,904, which breaks down to just £ 8.61 per hour, 30 pence less than the minimum wage for someone over 23.

There are two main concerns for raising the minimum wage to such levels, says LSE economics professor Alan Manning.

First, if employers are unable to pay wages at the government-prescribed level, they will have to employ fewer staff, he said, which will lead to layoffs or the cessation of hiring new ones. workers.

Second, Manning says it could impact motivations for getting jobs that require higher levels of training, skills, or stress.

“Fifteen pounds an hour is probably more than a lot of nurses pay, and they’ve had three years of training. If you suddenly say any job pays £ 15 an hour, why is anyone going to be trained as a nurse? Manning said.

“It’s risky in the sense that just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it’s going to be good in training. ”

However, those campaigning for a £ 15 minimum wage “are not talking about the minimum wage today, they are talking about aspirations for the future,” Manning added.

“I’d try ten pounds an hour, watch what happens next, and hopefully you can push a little harder, you know, a more gradual approach up to 15 pounds.”

When might we see a £ 15 minimum wage implemented?

The next general election is set for May 2, 2024, and as Labor would not be able to make changes to the national living wage by then, it would be from then that a minimum wage of £ 15 could , hypothetically, to be on the cards.

“We’ll do an assessment of this, which I think is the responsible thing to do, closer to the general election,” said Nick Thomas-Symonds, Shadow’s Home Secretary.

Ahead of the next general election, Labor reportedly ready to ‘assess’ whether a £ 15 minimum wage is sustainable

The national salary will eventually reach £ 15, according to The Resolution Foundation, but this is not “an economically viable policy in the short to medium term”.

If the national minimum wage were to increase by 4 percent per year – a fairly typical rate of increase for the minimum wage – it would reach £ 15 an hour by the mid-2030s.

“We’re basically saying £ 15 is unsustainable in the short term and inevitable in the long term,” a spokesperson told The Big Issue.

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