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Employment

Labour members vote for £15 minimum wage and increase to statutory sick pay

Labour conference delegates have voted to raise the minimum wage to £15 per hour, following the resignation of employment shadow minister Andy McDonald after he refused to back down in his support for the motion.

Labour leader Keir Starmer stnads at a lectern at Labour conference in 2019

Labour leader Keir Starmer. Image: keirstarmer/Flickr

Labour party members have voted unanimously for a £15 minimum wage at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, barely a day after a shadow cabinet member resigned in protest over the issue.

Andy McDonald quit the shadow cabinet claiming he was instructed to argue against a £15 an hour national minimum wage and statutory sick pay at the living wage.

The former shadow employment rights and protections secretary said the Labour leader’s office “instructed me to go into a meeting to argue against a national minimum wage of £15 an hour and against statutory sick pay at the living wage”.

“Ten pounds an hour is what we were talking about in 2014, 2015. The world’s moved on, prices are rising, we see every day the pressures working people are under,” he continued.

Conference votes are not binding and do not mandate what will go into the Labour manifesto for their election campaign in 2024, however are important symbolically for the party,

The national living wage  – the legal minimum for those aged 23 and above – currently stands at £8.91 per hour, however the national minimum wage is lower, at £8.36 per hour for those aged 21 or 22. Employees aged 18 to 20 can expect to be paid a minimum of  £6.56, and those under-18 get £4.62.

Union Unite put forward a composite motion to be debated at the Labour Party Conference, which, among other motions such as banning fire and rehire, calls for the minimum wage to increase to £15 per hour. 

The wide-ranging Unite motion also demanded stronger union rights, higher taxes “on the very wealthiest”, an end to 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 grassroots group Momentum into their eight proposals for the September conference. 

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