THE Scottish Socialist Party is escalating its campaign for the Scottish parliament to have the power to introduce a legally enforced Scottish minimum wage of £10 an hour for all over 16, accompanied by the power to ban zero hours contracts.
SSP national trade union and workplace organiser Richie Venton said: "During the Referendum campaign the SSP held street campaigns calling on people to 'vote Yes for a decent living wage'.
"Within 36 hours of the No vote we called for the Smith Commission to grant Holyrood the powers to introduce a legally enforceable Scottish minimum wage of £10 an hour for all over 16, with abolition of the lower youth rates.
"In the weeks since, several Reports have confirmed the crying need for this measure, with scandalous statistics showing the absolute majority of Scots officially classified as poor are working to stay poor! Over one in five Scottish workers are below the so-called Living Wage of £7.85, and that rockets to 43% of part-time workers and 72% of 18-21-year-olds in jobs.
"So long as the minimum wage remains in the grip of Westminster's dictatorship of and for the obscenely rich, it's guaranteed to be a source of poverty pay, not a means of escape from it.
"So the SSP is mounting a sustained campaign on the streets and in the trade unions for Scotland to be granted powers over the minimum wage - and the linked power to outlaw the slave labour system of Zero Hours Contracts.
"But the SSP is not demanding this power so a Scottish minimum wage stays at its present appalling level of £6.50, nor fail to even match inflation with Labour's 'vow' to raise it to £8 in 6 years' time.
"Nor are we satisfied with the pathetic pittance of a rise promised by the SNP, when they ask for the power to raise the £6.50 by inflation - probably 13 pence at best.
"We want to seriously confront in-work poverty with a Scottish minimum wage of £10 an hour. That is not only the level of wage required to end poverty pay, but is also a very modest demand: it is two-thirds the male median wage in Scotland, as well as being the figure agreed unanimously at the recent British Trade Union Congress.
"The SSP is unashamedly on the side of working people against the profiteers, who rely on low pay to ratchet up the profits, dividends and bonuses of billionaires, bosses and big shareholders."
For more comment contact:
Richie Venton, SSP national trade union and workplace organiser