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MORE THAN 30 Labour MPs called on the government yesterday to introduce a minimum wage floor to provide financial support for struggling workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter organised by East Leeds MP Richard Burgon to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the MPs demanded that no worker is paid less than the national minimum wage (NMW) if they are furloughed during the pandemic.
The NMW is £8.72 an hour for workers aged 25 and over, £8.20 for the 21 to 24 age group, £6.45 for those aged 18 to 20 and £4.55 for under-18s.
Mr Sunak is abolishing the job retention scheme which paid furloughed workers 80 per cent of their wages and is reducing it to 67 per cent under a new job support scheme.
The letter states that the new 67 per cent figure means furloughed workers on the minimum wage will receive only £5.81 an hour.
It says: “A high proportion of workers in the sectors hit hardest by this pandemic are paid the minimum wage, and many will already have lost a significant amount of their income as a result of this pandemic.”
Mr Burgon said: “Even before this crisis, many minimum wage workers were struggling to get by. Now they are going to be forced further into poverty.
“Given that the cost of rent, bills and food have stayed the same, how can we expect people to manage on just two-thirds of the minimum wage?
“It’s called the NMW for a reason: the government needs to act to ensure that nobody is paid less than it.”
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