A photo of BFAWU campaigning for a £15 an hour minimum wage

Members of the Green Party of England and Wales will meet in Harrogate this autumn for the party’s biannual conference. At the conference, members will debate and vote on motions to change the party’s policy and processes.

The deadline for proposers of motions was July 29 – with all motions requiring at least twelve members to co-propose a motion for it to be heard at conference. A motion to reaffirm the party’s commitment to a £15 an hour minimum wage has received the most co-proposers. 110 members had co-proposed the motion by the deadline – nearly 40 more than any other.

At its last autumn conference, the Green Party formally supported the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union’s (BFAWU) Fight for 15 campaign. The Fight for 15 campaign explicitly calls for a £15 an hour minimum wage.

However, many members have since criticised the party for failing to advocate for a £15 an hour minimum wage in the party’s communications. They cite examples such as social media posts on international workers’ day which suggested the party supported only £12 an hour. The party’s external communications coordinator Molly Scott Cato has since claimed that the motion passed at the 2021 Autumn conference was specific to the BFAWU campaign, and did not change the party’s position on what level of minimum wage it would introduce.

Given this context, the motion to the 2022 autumn conference explicitly states that the party would seek to introduce a £15 an hour minimum wage if it were to enter government. The motion reads,

The Green Party supports the introduction of a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour, for all workers no matter their age, to help tackle the cost of living crisis. The Green Party supports all trade union campaigns for £15 an hour, and will stand in solidarity with them in fighting for higher wages and working conditions. The Green Party will seek to introduce a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour after the next general election.

The motion has received the support of all four candidates in the party’s current deputy leadership election. It has also been backed by the Green Party Trade Union Group. The group’s chair – Matthew Hull – said the level of support for the motion showed that party members support policy which would “put money in the pockets of workers”. He told Bright Green,

It’s evident Green Party members want the party to adopt clear, bold policy proposals that would put money in the pockets of workers across the UK. A £15 minimum wage pledge would complement our transformative UBI policy, communicating to those in low-wage, precarious jobs that we have their back. The Green Party Trade Union Group is proud to be supporting this motion – as well as motions to oppose anti-union laws and support striking workers.

Hull also encouraged members to rank the £15 an hour minimum wage high on the prioritisation ballot. The prioritisation ballot is the mechanism through which the order in which motions at conference are taken is decided. Given conference only has limited time for debating motions, those that appear at the top of the agenda are far more likely to be debated and adopted than those towards the bottom.

The motion’s main proposer – Alexander Sallons – has accused the “party establishment” of having “completely shirked” the policy passed at the 2021 autumn conference. He went on to say that he wanted a £15 an hour minimum wage to be a headline of the party’s next general election manifesto. Sallons told Bright Green,

 A £15 minimum wage , and solidarity with all trade union campaigns fighting for it, are popular and achievable policies, which would make up for the loss of pay rises since 2008, as reported by the Progressive Economy Foundation.

We need a Green Party that loudly and proudly stands with Trade Unions on the picket line and on the political lines, and hopefully a £15 minimum wage will headline the next manifesto.

I urge everyone who wants to see my motion reach the plenary floor, rank it *first* in the Prioritisation Ballot, from the 12th to 26th of August, and use all your preferences to make sure your vote counts the fullest.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.

Image credit: War on Want – Creative Commons