At the UK Labour Party's annual conference in Manchester yesterday, its leader in the Scottish Holyrood parliament, Iain Gray, pledged to increase the minimum wage for public sector workers to more than £7 an hour.
The national minimum wage is currently £5.80 an hour for those above the age of 22, £4.83 an hour for workers aged 18-21, and £3.57 an hour for workers aged 16-17.
From October 2010, the rates will increase to £5.93 an hour for workers aged 21 and over (NB. this extends the so-called 'adult minimum wage' to 21-year-olds), £4.92 an hour for workers aged 18-20, and £3.64 an hour for workers aged 16-17. A new £2.50 an hour 'apprentice minimum wage' will also be introduced for apprentices aged under 19 or over 19 but in the first year of their apprenticeship.
These rates will continue to apply for workers in the private sector in Scotland -- at least initially -- even if Mr Gray's proposals for a 'Scottish living wage' are implemented.
Mr Gray also said that while the Scottish Labour Party wants to increase wages for the poorest workers, it also wants to restrict salaries for the highest paid in the public sector.
He said: "There are going to be difficult decisions and there will have to be pay restraint in the public sector, especially at the top.
"But Labour values demand we protect the lowest paid.
"At the same time, Labour will also seek to restrict the highest paid salaries in the public sector."
- Labour's Iain Gray in policy move over minimum wage (BBC News)
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