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Call for 6.10 minimum wage

The TUC has called for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to be increased from 5.73 per hour to 6.10 by October 2009.

As the NMW celebrates its 10th anniversary the TUC has pledged to urge the Low Pay Commission to recommend the best minimum wage the economy can afford. It hopes by October 2010 the NMW will be £6.50.

The TUC will also advise the adult rate of NMW should be payable at age 21 as opposed to the current age 22. It also hopes the medium rate for those aged between 18 and 20 will be phased out and replaced by the adult rate at 18. For 16 and 17-year-olds, the TUC advises the rate to be at least £4 by 2010.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "The minimum wage has never had any detrimental effect on the UK economy. In the current downturn there is a danger the Low Pay Commission might be too cautious in setting the new NMW rate.

"Unlike higher paying sectors of the economy, the number of low paid jobs in care, cleaning services and catering have increased. Setting a decent legal minimum for wages is a vital part of establishing a fairer system of work and fighting poverty in the UK. All the signs are that the UK can afford a £6.10 hourly wage."