The Engineering Employers’ Federation has called on the Government to exclude employees younger than 19, and those under 25 training for an NVQ or Modern Apprenticeship, from minimum wage plans.
The EEF, in its submission to the Low Pay Commission, says that while a national minimum wage of £3/hour would affect only 0.1% of manual workers in engineering, a £4.50 figure would affect nearly one in eight.
Whatever the figure, it says, unless it ‘is implemented in a sensitive and flexible manner, it could have an adverse effect on competitiveness’.
Companies will face pressure from employees to maintain pay differentials, it argues. Faced with extra costs, they might speed up the introduction of less-labour-intensive processes.
The employers want the wage to be revised ‘at the discretion of the Government’, not automatically in line with inflation.