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Unite welcomes minimum wage increase, but calls for ‘real living wage’

Unite the Union has welcomed the increase in the minimum wage that came into force on August 1, representing an increase from £7 per hour to £7.25.

But even as it did so, the union said this minimum rate of pay demonstrated the need for “a real living wage” in Gibraltar.

The increase is the second of three increases announced in the summer of 2019 with the third increase due to raise the minimum wage to £7.50 in 2021.

Distinct from the minimum wage, a living wage is a pay rate that is independently calculated based upon economic and cost factors, setting a wage level that is feasible for workers to live on.

“Whilst all and any increases in the minimum wage are welcomed, it is the view of the union that the minimum wage rate remains relatively low when compared to the cost of living within Gibraltar and considering that the average salary is circa £30,000,” said Stuart Davies, Unite National Officer for Gibraltar said.

“The establishment of a Gibraltar Living Wage is vitally important in terms of driving up the spending power of workers and their standards of living, particularly in the private sector where there are many minimum wage jobs."

“The first step is to establish the rate of the Gibraltar Living Wage through an independent mechanism and once established we can understand better the challenge in meeting the aspiration to bring the minimum wage up to the level of the living wage.”

“The union has recently presented our position to Government and this dialogue is on-going, but greater spending power has a positive economic impact.”

“There has routinely been opposition and doomsday predictions in relation to job losses on the proposed introduction of minimum or living wages, but the opposite has been true.”

“The additional money in the pockets of workers and families in turns fuels expenditure and grows the economy, creates jobs and prosperity, the establishment of a living wage would be positive development for Gibraltar.”

Unite said workers who are currently paid less than the new minimum wage rate of £7.25 should check and ensure that their hourly pay is increasing to at least the £7.25 an hour rate from August 1, 2020.

Should any employers refuse to take this step, members of Unite are urged to contact the union.

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