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The government must not postpone a raise in the minimum wage

Published date
Today, the Chancellor is expected to announce plans to cut a scheduled raise in the minimum wage. This decision could cost low paid workers more than £640 a year and will disproportionately hurt women workers, many of whom have been working on the frontline during this pandemic.

Since the start of this pandemic, the government has failed women. And they look set to fail them again now.

Women would stand to gain the most from a rise in the minimum wage, as women make up the majority of those on the lowest pay in the private sector.

And it is women who lose out from a freeze to public sector pay, because women make up the majority of public sector workers.

Women have borne the brunt of this crisis

Working on the frontline on poverty pay as nursery workers, stacking shelves in supermarkets, cleaning hospitals and supporting care homes.

They’ve been keeping the country and our economy going - and people alive.

Of the 1 million lowest-paid workers, 99% are women.

 And it is women - working class, black and minority ethnic and disabled women, single mums - who bore the brunt of austerity, shouldering a staggering 86% of cuts to public spending and are worse off now than they were a decade ago

They deserve a rise in the minimum wage to the real living wage level, so they are paid a salary they and their families can afford to live on.

Two thirds of children growing up in poverty live in working households

Raising the minimum wage is not just the right thing to - it is the only thing to do.

With the right conditions, it can create more wealth for everyone.

Government can plough money into business with schemes like the Eat Out To Help Out, but we know business hoards that wealth.

By putting money directly in the hands of workers, in the hands of families, that wealth is fairly redistributed.

Low paid workers are the most likely to spend and to pay their taxes

And these are primarily women - doing the weekly shop, spending on our local high streets, buying school uniforms, books, paying to get the bus or train to work in our hospitals and care homes.

These women need this raise, and that is where we unions and the Labour Party make the difference.

The best way to secure fair and equal pay is through stronger unions and more collective bargaining.

When workers are organised, we win for ourselves a fairer slice of the wealth that we help create. And when we are organised, united as a working-class movement, we can hold this government to account.

That is how we trade unionists bring about change - and how we win a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

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