UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

15 years ago today - the first national minimum wage

One of the most enduring achievements of the 1997-2001 Labour Government was the enactment on 1 April 1999 of the UK’s first national minimum wage. This followed a prolonged campaign led by NUPE, a predecessor union of UNISON. Former General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe said ‘whilst we are delighted that we have for the first time, after a 100-year battle to get it, a minimum wage, that level is far, far too low. The argument that a higher minimum wage will cost jobs doesn't stand up in an area like the north east which has always suffered high unemployment.’ UNISON marked the historic occasion on Saturday 10 April 1999 with a national march from Gateshead to Newcastle when thousands march in support of the union's demand for a living wage: