Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

15/05/09 Tory plan to scrap the minimum wage is cause for ‘Wage

Local MP Rosie Cooper has hit out at a bill introduced in Parliament by senior Tory MPs which would scrap the minimum wage.

The Employment Opportunities Bill, a Private Members Bill introduced by former Tory minister Christopher Chope, one of the ministers responsible for introducing Poll Tax, is being debated for the second time in the House of Commons today. It would provide an opt-out of the minimum wage - taking us back to the days of workers earning £1.20 per hour.

Rosie said:

“The minimum wage provides vital income protection and security for millions of workers and I am shocked and amazed that the Tories want to completely undermine it by creating an opt-out. This takes us back to the bad old days and shows that they really haven’t changed and gives an idea of the priorities of a Conservative Government - on the side of big business and not of hard working people here in West Lancs or anywhere else.”

Mr Chope argues that the minimum wage is an infringement of the ‘right to work’ under the Declaration of Human Rights and wants employees to have the right to choose to be paid less than the minimum wage.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said:

“Only a Tory could suggest that not being able to work for less than the minimum wage would be a denial of human rights. This from a party that actually wants to abolish the Human Rights Act and provide cheaper labour."

“We call on everyone who believes in fairness and social justice to join Wage Concern and help us kill this Tory Bill.”

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of public-sector union UNISON, added:

“Christopher Chope and his Tory cabal want to turn the clock back to the days of poverty pay where workers are exploited by unscrupulous bosses. The sham Caring Conservatism is stripped bare by their plans. They have shown clearly that they are not on the side of ordinary hard-working people.”

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