ED Miliband has kick-started Labour’s final conference before the general election with a pledge to hike the minimum wage to at least £8.
The party leader said the rise over the next parliament - from the £6.50 level it will hit next month - was needed to stop ordinary workers being left behind.
The increase would add around £3,000 a year to the pay packets of those earning the minimum wage.
The announcement by Mr Miliband, in interviews with the Sunday Mirror and Observer, is thought to be the first of a series of interventions during the gathering in Manchester to focus on stagnating living standards under the coalition.
The Labour leader has already declared that his focus is now fully back on the election contest after the decisive No vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
However, he is likely to face more pressure over David Cameron’s demand for a solution to the so-called West Lothian Question - the ability of Scots MPs to vote on measures that only affect England.
The Prime Minister has sought to tether reforms at Westminster with the extra devolution promised to Scotland during the referendum campaign.
But Labour, which has around 40 MPs north of the border, insists the issues should be addressed separately.
It has called for a constitutional convention to consider the English situation over a number of years.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Miliband said: “Too many working people have made big sacrifices but in this recovery they’re not seeing the rewards for their hard work because, under the Tories’ failing plan, the recovery is benefiting a privileged few far more than most families.
“One in five of the men and women employed in Britain today do the hours, make their contribution, but find themselves on low pay.
“But if you work hard, you should be able to bring up your family with dignity.”
Mr Miliband added: “This week Labour’s Plan for Britain’s Future will show how we can change and how we can become a country that rewards hard work once again. Because Labour is the party of hard work, fairly paid.”
The planned increase, which would affect around 1.4 million jobs, would be introduced in annual stages by the Low Pay Commission before October 2019.
The promised rate is said to be similar to that in force in Australia and EU countries such as Belgium and Germany, but still lower than in France and New Zealand.
Mr Miliband attacked Mr Cameron for calling for “English votes for English laws” immediately after the Scottish referendum result.
“He didn’t talk to me before he made his announcement. I don’t think he rose to the moment,” he said. “Constitutional change has got to be done by the people, not in the corridors of Westminster.”
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn are among those addressing Labour activists today.
Earlier yesterday shadow equalities minister Gloria De Piero announced proposals to force large firms to publish the average salary of men and women across every level of their organisation as part of efforts to deliver equal pay.
Meanwhile, Deputy Leader Harriet Harman delivered an impassioned defence of all-women shortlists, insisting no other measures were effective in promoting gender balance in parliament.
The party also revealed plans to set up New Homes Corporations to boost the number of properties being built.
The corporations could take responsibility for areas prioritised for development, and set out the timetable over which construction will take place.