Wednesday, 8 October 2008

A living wage - not just a minimum wage

GREEN Party leader and Sussex Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has called for fairer pay for the thousands working in the county’s restaurants and hotels.

She said a loophole in the minimum wage legislation allowed tips to be included in regular pay packets – rather than received as an added ‘extra’, as most restaurant-goers believed.

This loophole means staff in some restaurants were being paid well below the minimum wage – in some cases staff receive as little as £3 an hour.

Dr Lucas, who also hopes to be elected MP for Brighton Pavilion at the next election, said: “As the Unite union has said, the minimum wage laws are failing to protect staff in one of our biggest sectors of the economy from low-pay abuse.

“It’s just not good enough – even the minimum wage, currently £5.72 an hour, is a poverty wage in this city.

“The Government must replace the minimum wage laws with a guaranteed living wage, based on what life’s essentials actually cost working families: in Brighton and Hove it should be raised to about £7 an hour, just as Green Councillors have proposed.

“We are seeing an increase in poverty amongst working families here in Brighton, and it’s no coincidence: fair pay is an issue which affects everyone in this city.”

The picture shows Caroline outside Brighton’s ‘Carluccio’s Restaurant. A BBC investigation earlier this year found Carluccio's paid some waiters £3.75 an hour, which is below the legal minimum: read the BBC report for more...


  1. Sussex MEP? Really? Here I am thinking that she was voted by Greens from the whole of the South East...

  2. Thanks bigblue - yes, you're quite right. Caroline serves the whole of South-East England as MEP, and that includes the bit of Sussex (East Brighton and Peacehaven) that this blog concerns itself with...

    I'm sure other Green-leaning bloggers in the region concentrate on what she does locally there too!