Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tory plan to scrap the Minimum Wage...

Sad to hear on BBC radio last night about a Tory plan to scrap one of Labour's greatest achievements - the successful establishment of a national minimum wage.

When Labour brought in the UK's first national floor under wages a dozen years ago, the Tory front bench fought it tooth and nail.

It took a historic all-night session of Parliament for the Blair Government to get the legislation through the House of Commons to protect millions of low-paid workers exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

Since then, the National Minimum Wage has steadily risen, lifting millions out of poverty pay.

A minimum wage was one of the headline demands of the founders of the Labour Party almost a century earlier. It was an idea even supported by Winston Churchill - but of course opposed by today's hard-right Conservatives.

I well remember one Peter Bone bragging to the 1995 Tory Party Conference that he paid his travel agency staff a paltry 87 pence an hour and that if a minimum wage would mean they wouldn't have a job at all.

And I recall being sickened to the core by the thunderous applause Mr Bone received for his speech from the Tory faithful.

Mr Bone was supporting the official Tory line that Labour's minimum wage would destroy a million jobs. Like much Tory doctrine, that proved to be total nonsense of course.

Today, Mr Bone is Tory MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire - and he's still fighting the minimum wage.

Even the main employers organisation, the CBI, now accepts the success of the National Minimum Wage.

Last night BBC Radio Four focused their series 'Where did it all go right?' on the National Minimum Wage. The CBI spokesperson put the Minimum Wage in perspective with the following words:

With 12 years good experience, just as the National Minimum wage has been successful for the Labour Party, it has also been successful for the Labour movement and has not cost jobs. I don't see any appetite to withdraw the Minimum wage...

But it wasn't difficult for the BBC to find the old guard of Cameron's Conservative Party calling for the National Minimum Wage to be scrapped, as a luxury that cannot be afforded, particularly in a recession.

My personal view is that the Minimum Wage is one of the most positive changes for good brought in by Labour. It's needed more in a recession even than in the good times.

The charge to wreck the Minimum Wage is being led by Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch, whose previous claim to fame is that he gave us the Poll Tax (and supported by Peter Bone).

Mr Chope is known as Chope the Chopper.

Mr Bone was named by The Daily Mirror as 'the meanest boss in Britain.'

Same old Tories, eh?


Anonymous said...

About time too.

Self employed people have to work for below the minimum wage to stay afloat so what's wrong with others doing the same?

fairdealphil said...

I believe the minimum wage has been good for us all - i'm with the CBI on this one!

Anonymous said...

If, as a self employed person, you're working for below the minimum wage then your business model is very wrong and you will go broke.

Anonymous said...

The minimum wage has been a disaster for young people and the working classes.

It has priced millions out of a job resulting in factory closures and work going overseas.