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Unions back calls to increase pay for suffering workforce

TRADE unions have backed calls from the head of the UK's leading business organisation for companies to increase pay for long-suffering workers as the economy picks up.

John Cridland, UK director general of the CBI said most firms were increasing the size of their workforce, boosting their graduate intake and the number of apprentices they take on.

Stephen Boyd of the STUC welcomed a message that contrasted with previous views of the CBI on low wages.

"We very much welcome this intervention," he said.

"The point that John Cridland is making is an important one that we have been making for years - about how low wages and job insecurity hamper recovery."

He added: "There's a touch of irony in that the CBI have never recognised the downside of the flexible labour market, but if this is a change of heart it's a very positive thing."

Mr Cridland said: "The good news is that wages will pick up in the year ahead as growth beds down and productivity improves.

"But there are still far too many people stuck in minimum wage jobs without routes to progression, and that's a serious challenge that businesses and the Government must address."

He added: "Businesses must support employees in every part of the country to move up the career ladder, while also giving a helping hand to young people taking their first tentative steps into the world of work.

"As the financial situation of many firms begins to turn a corner, one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is to deliver growth that will mean better pay and more opportunities for all their employees."

Mr Cridland said it was positive news that jobs were being created, adding it was shaping up to be a full-time recovery with the majority of new jobs being permanent.

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