The Engineering Employers’ Federation this week confirmed that it has told Labour it wants to be represented on the low pay commission the party would set up to establish a national minimum wage if it wins the election.
The federation said it had not retreated from its opposition to the minimum wage, but had adopted a `pragmatic’ view – if Labour wins it will want a role in setting the lowest possible minimum wage.
`The mood has been shifting away from outright opposition to the minimum wage for a year or so,’ the EEF said.
The EEF council decided in November that it wanted to be represented on any low pay commission, but has not gone public until now.
A similarly pragmatic attitude has been shown by the EEF towards European-style works councils. The employers, who have opposed such worker representation bodies, want to be involved in deciding how they would be established by a Labour Government.
Many Labour MPs are also adopting a more pragmatic stance to the minimum wage, the EEF said, quoting its survey last November in which 39% of the 31 Labour MPs questioned believed it should be less than £4 an hour. The EEF said the average level suggested was £3.96, `well below the sum of £4.26 suggested by some unions’.
Earlier this month John Monks, TUC general secretary, said a minimum wage might have a knock-on effect on jobs.