Originally created 03/16/04

British government introduces minimum wage for young workers



LONDON -- The British government said Monday it will introduce a minimum wage of 3 pounds ($5.40) an hour for 16- and 17-year-old workers in October.

The government also said it will increase the minimum wage for adults to 4.85 pounds ($8.80) an hour from the current 4.50 pounds ($8.15) an hour.

The youth wage, for 18- to 21-year-olds, will rise to 4.10 pounds ($7.40) an hour from 3.80 pounds ($6.90).

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the increases were possible because the economic outlook was favorable and the labor market was robust.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber welcomed the increases, particularly for the youngest workers.

"This will cut out the worst examples of wage exploitation, and the 3 pound introductory rate should mean that more significant increases can take place in future years," Barber said.