The Engineering Employers’ Federation has stepped up its opposition to a national minimum wage by calling it a ‘step into the unknown’ which could threaten the competitiveness of British industry.
David Yeandle, the EEF’s head of employment affairs, warned last week of the pressures expected from trade unions to maintain pay differentials once the minimum wage takes effect.
‘In many organisations pay structures at the lower end are relatively tight. As a consquence, the national minimum wage may remove pay differentials altogether. It is clearly the case that this pressure to restore pay differentials will be more intense the higher a national minimum wage is set,’ said Yeandle.
The TUC dismissed the EEF’s concerns: ‘It is simply nonsense to say that relatively high skilled workers in engineering can compare themselves to low paid workers in the public sector,’ said David Coats, senior policy officer at the TUC.
‘If you look at what’s happened in France and the US, where the minimum wage is already established, you don’t see the same effect.’