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Minimum Wage

One of the most terrible indictments of this society is the ever-growing gulf between poor and rich. Workers, particularly youngsters and pensioners, are ruthlessly exploited in Britain's so-called service industries, and child labour is back with a vengeance.

The gap between rich and poor is widening not only in Britain but internationally. The richest 20% of the world's population receive each year 86% of the world's wealth - whilst the poorest 20% of the world's population exist on just 1 per cent of the world's annual wealth.

In Britain over 10 million live on or below the poverty level, whilst 12 million pensioners have seen their State pension decrease in value by over 43% since 1979 - a scandal of monumental proportion.

Studies show that some of our lowest paid workers have actually suffered pay cuts over the past eight years, whilst Britain's top 20 company directors received average yearly incomes of nearly £3 million. By any standard, this is obscene.

The Socialist Labour Party is totally committed to setting a proper statutory national minimum wage as the first essential step in putting things right. We call for the introduction of a minimum wage of £10 per hour - a figure which would give workers on a 35-hour week £350, or an annual wage of £18,200.

Women workers, including those who work part-time, must be guaranteed equal pay (along with equal conditions and promotion opportunities) and young workers must have the same pay and conditions as other workers.

The introduction of a national minimum wage of £10 per hour would cost £10 billion, a figure, which could be easily met out of the massive profits of the oil companies. Even today, the revenue paid by oil companies to central government could be trebled without any trouble, particularly if these oil companies are taken into public ownership.