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The Green Party has slammed businesses who treat their low-paid employees like “robots” by paying as little as they can get away with.

Speaking outside a Job Centre in Bristol on Monday, Green Party members argued that they were the only party pushing for a £10 an hour minimum wage by 2020. Only a living wage will ensure an income workers can build a life around, they said.

Darren Hall, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Greens in Bristol West said:

“Our country is treating low wage employees like robots – the less they cost the better. This is totally counter intuitive, everyone knows that the best companies are the ones that treat their employees in the way that enables them to thrive, and to live. We all need jobs we can build a life on, and on which we can build a fairer and more equal society.”

He added: “That’s why the Green Party is calling for the minimum wage to be made a living wage, and for a target to be set of a £10/hour by 2020.

“We need to move towards a 10:1 pay ratio of top earners to bottom earners, both in Bristol and nationally. This will bring an end to a culture in which corporations make huge profits and give out big bonuses whilst there are workers struggling to pay the bills.”

The number of people facing “in-work poverty” and forced to claim benefits has risen 59% under the Coalition Government, according to the House of Commons Library, leaving people struggling to pay rent and bills.

Raising the minimum wage to living wage levels would benefit an estimated 5.2 million working people, say the Greens, and create a much fairer society where fewer workers are trapped on poverty wages.

Cllr Daniella Radice, Green Group leader on Bristol City Council, said:

“The fact that the Green Party took more citywide votes in the recent European Election than either of the parties in our current government, goes to show that our message of the need to reshape our politics and economy to work for the common good is really hitting home.”

“It is our policies such as making the minimum wage a Living Wage, a Wealth Tax on the top 1%, renationalising our railways and having a publicly owned and run NHS that are encouraging people to both join as members and vote Green in growing numbers.”

Labour has been been criticised for its lack of ambition in pledging to increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said that if current trends continued the minimum wage would be worth £8.23 an hour in 2020, not the £8 on offer from Labour.

The commission also warned that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats plan to raise personal tax allowances would not necessarily tackle in-work poverty, or improve social mobility.

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