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NOP poll supports call - British people want it higher

The GMB - Britain's General Union - today publishes a national poll conducted by NOP World aimed at surveying attitudes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the issue of low pay.

The poll is published one month after the uprating of the NMW to £4.85 an hour, and shows that the majority of British people favour an hourly increase with 42% wanting £6 or more. GMB General Secretary Kevin Curran said:

"I say this to Gordon Brown as he prepares to address Digby Jones and his groupies in Birmingham: never mind the doom merchants of the CBI, who scaremonger against any rise in the minimum wage claiming it would hurt business.

"It's time to listen to the British people - this poll shows they want to see a higher minimum wage. The results show a substantial percentage of people agree on a figure of £6 or more. This is very encouraging, and the GMB will now campaign vigorously for at least £6.

"In the name of business, Digby Jones and the CBI have long sought to deny employment rights and a living wage to millions of people. He calls it flexibility. It's the flexibility that allows hard-working people to be sacked from low-paid jobs at the twitch of a fat cat's whisker. It's the flexibility that is widening the gap between the huge salaries of many of Digby Jones's members and the low wages of many of mine.

"The GMB wants to see the minimum wage become a living wage, pay that provides enough to live on. So we asked NOP to survey opinions, across social classes and regions, on exactly how much people feel they need to live on. 63% in our survey said they needed £7 or more. A landmark achievement though it is, the minimum wage has some catching up to do.

"The GMB has long said that the differentiation by age in the current minimum wage structure. That is discriminatory and wrong. In our survey, we also asked if people feel it is right that there should be a lower minimum hourly wage for people under 22. GMB members believe people should be paid the same rate for the same job, regardless of age. Today we can show that 63% of British people agree.

"We also wanted to look at the issue of low pay. It's a little known fact that 30% of people at work in this country rely on state assistance - benefits, tax credits and the like - to get by on low wages. We asked if people felt that was acceptable. 60% of the people surveyed agreed that it is not."

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