Green party members today are working alongside job seekers in Bristol to back a living wage of £10 a hour. Greens will call for support for their policy outside a job centre in the city centre today, ahead of the general election next May.
The current minimum wage is £6.50, but the Green Party argues that this should rise to £10 per hour, making it a living wage and ensuring that the people of Bristol earn an income they can build a life around.
Darren Hall, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Greens in Bristol West said:
"Our country is treating low wage employees like robots - the less they cost the better. This is totally counter intuitive, everyone knows that the best companies are the ones that treat their employees in the way that enables them to thrive, and to live. We all need jobs we can build a life on, and on which we can build a fairer and more equal society."
"That's why the Green Party is calling for the minimum wage to be made a living wage, and for a target to be set of a £10/hour by 2020. We need to move towards a 10:1 pay ratio of top earners to bottom earners, both in Bristol and nationally. This will bring an end to a culture in which corporations make huge profits and give out big bonuses whilst there are workers struggling to pay the bills.The people at the job centre who we are speaking with today have our support and our commitment to fight for better wages and conditions for their future."
The Green Party, the only party committed to delivering real change for the common good, believes every worker over 16 should be paid at least the minimum wage and would abolish the age-based differential rates currently in place.
The number of people facing "in-work poverty" and forced to claim benefits whilst working has risen 59% under the Coalition Government, according to the House of Commons Library, leaving people struggling to pay rent and bills on static or decreasing wages.(1)
Raising the minimum wage to living wage levels would benefit an estimated 5.2million people (2) – 17% of the working population – and usher in a fairer society where fewer workers are trapped in poverty pay conditions.
Cllr Daniella Radice, Green Group leader on Bristol City Council added:
"The fact that the Green Party took more city wide votes in the recent European Election (3) than either of the parties in our current government, goes to show that our message of the need to reshape our politics and economy to work for the common good is really hitting home."
"It is our policies such as making the minimum wage a Living Wage, a Wealth Tax on the top 1%, renationalising our railways and having a publicly owned and run NHS that are encouraging people to both join as members (4) and vote Green in growing numbers."
Green Party members will hold a stall today outside the Job Centre Plus on St. Stephen Street at 1pm today, Monday 20th October.
Photo: Darren Hall, Green PPC for Bristol West, outside the Job Centre Plus on St. Stephen Street, Bristol.
1. For 2011 figure: Resolution Foundation (2013), Low pay Britain 2013, page 3:http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/media/downloads/Low_Pay_Britain_2013.pdf; for 2014 figure: Living Wage Commission (2014), Work that pays, page 5: http://livingwagecommission.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Work-that-pays_The-Final-Report-of-The-Living-Wage-Commission_w-4.pdf
2. Living Wage Commission (2014), Work that pays, page 5: http://livingwagecommission.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Work-that-pays_The-Final-Report-of-The-Living-Wage-Commission_w-4.pdf