MoneySaving Poll: Would you vote for a £14.66 minimum wage?

Former_MSE_Liane Former MSE Posts: 27 Forumite
Poll started 20 May 2014

In Switzerland this week, a referendum to introduce a 22 Swiss franc (c.£14.66) per hour minimum wage, proposed by trade unions to promote “fair salaries for workers in the lowest-paid professions”, was rejected by the population on grounds that it was state intervention and may hurt the economy. If you were setting the minimum wage in the UK, what would you set it at?

Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click this

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  • TurnUpForTheBooks_2
    TurnUpForTheBooks_2 Forumite Posts: 436 Forumite
    edited 20 May 2014 at 7:30AM
    MSE_Wendy wrote: »
    Hi all

    Just to let you know I've made the poll discussion live so feel free to head over there to discuss the issue.

    Ah thanks Wendy!

    As I was saying in another place then ...

    The UK minimum wage, increasingly poor working conditions, deliberate government ploy to make it harder to bring cases against employers plus the widespread use of zero hours contracts have all created a stupid dumbed down fearful disrespected labour market in the UK which means we are now like third world savages compared to some other so called western countries.

    So called strivers are expected to eat dirt and get up and ask for more whilst success is measured according to the cloth of City fraudsters running banks and insurance companies or legal firms (they're all in it together of course - but we're not).

    Our unions are not worth a light any more - the last union leader worth a light was lost a few months ago. He was a bit too "darn to bleedin' urf" for most, but his heart was in the right place.

    There are better developed Northern European countries than ours where they still attract Eastern European labour and economic immigrants (probably including me shortly). They still have respected trades unions. Everyone respects you no matter what your job, even if you empty bins to make ends meet. That is a clear difference to the UK where most citizens look down on bin men and other low paid workers.

    Another clear difference is that the lowest paid workers elsewhere are rarely seen holding their head high, usually seen in their own worn out day clothes that are spoiled at work - painters in jeans covered in paint sitting on the tube in the rush hour. In Northern Europe high quality protective uniforms for the working man are often de rigueur, and arrangements are automatic to ensure they are laundered and maintain a business-like image. In the UK we us a different and very much brader catch-all phrase "workman-like" and it does not mean business-like, does it?

    All commercial vehicles in some countries have conspicuous official marks identifying the owner by number so very few anonymous white vans - very few anonymous throwaway workers, very little evidence of could care less quality workmanship.

    And amazingly you may find that these working citizens who often receive a good living wage without there being a national minimum, are proud to pay quite high levels of tax. Because their government and systems work better than ours and citizens value what their taxes pay for.

    If I told you that a typical undergraduate working as a part-time shelf stacker in the Northern European equivalent of Tesco was paid twice what Tesco might pay the same kind of student in the UK, would you laugh or cry?

    If I told you that typical North Europeans live in dwellings 50% greater in floor area than UK workers accept as the norm, but typical pay average housing costs no greater than ours would you laugh or cry?

    We have it wrong in the UK - after Thatcher destroyed the unions and then led us towards Big Bang in financial services, the die was cast. It has gone terribly wrong now. If you are a worker in a big supermarket or fast food chain you deserve to be respected at least a twelfth as much as a top CEO for what you do ! That is typically the way wealth is distributed much more fairly in some countries - the CEO will earn maybe 12x what you do or 20x at a push - not the stupid multiples and lottery numbers we see in UK and USA.

    And when you are not working and enjoying leisure time, then you might find you are rubbing shoulders with all up to CEO types, and it is the most natural thing.

    In many parts of the world McDonalds workers are protesting at pay levels and working conditions. It doesn't have to be that way. For years there has been frequent reference to a semi-official BigMac chart of the cost of living around the world. The price of a BigMac gives you an indication of the cost of living in that country.

    That is a fallacy. In my experience the price of a BigMac is more a direct indication of the general quality of living in a country not the relative cost of it, even in big experimental economies like China's. At least there experiments are based on making stuff. Maybe one of the biggest experimental economies is ours - it's so much hot air!

    In some Northern European countries you won't find McDonalds workers complaining too much in 2014. Because they are paid well enough, and can afford to live solid lives without fear of job-loss or poverty, are respected by their employers and neighbours alike, and basically are happy right now. They are not molli-coddled by strict employment legislation that makes them hard to fire as in France. They are simply a confident workforce in a buoyant market who if made jobless can find and do tend to find another job quite fast and if not will receive substantial and respectful state welfare help until they do get another job. They will not all be forced to accept zero hours contracts at six or seven quid an hour making sandwiches if they've signed on for 3 months running.

    We could achieve so much more if we travelled a bit and came back and did something with what we learned about how progressive societies work.

    I have described what some will laugh at and call some imagined Utopia, and I would be the first to admit that it may not last, but in the UK we can do so much better if we root out the worst excesses of the corporates and start respecting labour again of every type.

    PS I voted for the £11 or so rate per hour to get us all on the right track :)
    From the late great Tommy Cooper: "He said 'I'm going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library.' I thought 'That's a turn-up for the books.' "
  • ACG
    ACG Forumite Posts: 23,380
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper I've helped Parliament
    As if 20% of people have said they want to see a wage of £14 an hour!

    Imagine all the thickos, lazy gits, numpties you have worked with over your career. Now imagine them earning £25k a year!!!

    All that you would see is unemployed sky rocket.

    I have recently become an employer and if i had to pay someone £14 an hour...I would not be an employer.

    Even as a fully trained and qualified mortgage advisor, I was earning less than that working for a bank 2 years ago.
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
    You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a mortgage adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
  • Li0nhead
    Li0nhead Forumite Posts: 16,922
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    You could make min wage 63.10 (10 times current rate) you know all that would happen?
    We would pay ten times more for everything as everyone who has touched a product you are buying is being paid ten times more. You would be no more richer.
    Remember pre euro spain where you paid for things in 1000 and 2000 notes? Thats all that would happen here is inflation would kick in so we would pay for everything with an added 0.

    What is more important is what you earn in comparison to your costs of living.
    Hi there! We’ve had to remove your signature. It was so good we removed it because we cannot think of one so good as you had and need to protect others from seeing such a great signature.
  • tomtontom
    tomtontom Posts: 7,929 Forumite
    For those voting for £14+ an hour, I would be interested if you understand the repercussions of such a move, both in terms of the impact on businesses and on consumers. It would be interesting to see justification for such a rise, apart from 'I want more ...'.
  • gingeralan
    gingeralan Forumite Posts: 224
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I make no bones about it. I think the minimum wage is not a good thing, I turned 16 just as we started implementing the minimum wage, I as a 16 year old was earning more than the minimum wage for a 21 year old. But that same organisation reduced pay rises over the ensuing 5 or 7 years till miraculously their wages were the same as the minimum wage.

    I hasten to add that this was a shelf stacking job in a major supermarket, basically the minimum wage has meant my ex colleagues have suffered a significant reduction in quality of life, this occurred to many of my friends also working for other large supermarkets. Going from being able to buy a house and car to being on the poverty line within the space of 15 years.

    If you increase the minimum wage all you do is increase the amount it takes to exist in poverty. If there is no minimum wage the market will find levels. There will always be employers who take the Mickey, as we have now with zero hour contracts, or expecting people to clear up at the end of the day on their own time. As individuals we need to stand up for our rights, if you work somewhere that treats you badly do something, strike, change jobs, start up on your own, the opportunities are endless.

    The big problem is the apathy in this country everyone just lets things happen and then complains when it's rubbish.
  • Philcovers
    Philcovers Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Would be for a Citizen's income policy based on a basic living wage paid to all adults, which cannot be taken away when one works, but would be subject to income tax once certain amounts are reached. THEN the minimum wage of around £7 or £8 per hour.
    This would eliminate benefits frauds and having to claim benefits, and the very expensive and time consuming ways of dealing with it. Poverty would be reduced to a bare minimum, and I feel sure all people would be happier. Yes even the RICH (In the end).
  • torbrex
    torbrex Posts: 71,340
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker Rampant Recycler Hung up my suit!
    Other wages would need to rise in direct proportion to the rise in the minimum wage to keep parity for the people with more responsible jobs.
    Managers would also need to have their wages rise otherwise why would they even bother to do their jobs and so on....

    After all the wage increases the money would then need to be found to pay for them and guess where that would come from.

    If there must be a minimum wage then let it stay at the level it is at, if people think they are worth more than that then they should prove it by getting a better paid job.

    I earn just over minimum wage, its a job that suits me, no resposibility other than to see that I do my job properly and hours to suit me rather than a strict 9-5.
  • satchef1
    satchef1 Forumite Posts: 115 Forumite
    I think minimum wage is fine where it is. Giving businesses an incentive to pay the 'Living Wage' where they can afford it is a better idea than simply forcing all businesses (whether they can afford it or not) to pay more.

    On the Swiss front, bare in mind how high living costs are over there. It's an expensive country. To simply make the conversion in to pounds and say that the Swiss were proposing a £14.66/hr minimum wage isn't really telling the full story. From the cost of living index, Switzerland is the second most expensive country in Europe. Factor in the difference in living costs and the proposed minimum wage was more equivalent to £10/hr. Still very high, likely why it was voted down.
  • Viberduo
    Viberduo Forumite Posts: 1,148 Forumite
    the £8.80 a hour figure is fine for the most part as I got around that 10 years ago and I know prices have increased but I was able to treat myself then to luxuries though my rent was next to nothing.

    Its more we need to tackle issues like landlords ripping off tenants i.e having high rents for low quality housing and not doing standard repairs as I have lived in or near areas with high unemployment that charge like £95 a week rent and LHA is only £65 for a under 35 and £80 for over £35 then as its a poor are no work is available and you are limited in what shops you can use.

    And I can honestly in every job I have had that you get a lot of lazy employees and even lazy supervisors who get paid by performance so harass their workers to work harder just for their own benefit so we are never going to win.

    To give everyone a high minimum wage means the lazy get more for nothing and the hard working are still working above what they should be doing.
  • minislim
    minislim Forumite Posts: 357
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    whatever the minimum wage is there would be ways of abusing the system.

    currently i know of two ways the system is fiddled.

    one is foreign workers who earn the bare minimum wage. but work for an agency. the agency then puts additional "costs" for admin and in some cases board and lodgings (cramped bedsits).
    the worker then gets less than minimum wage in the pocket.
    this current practice has in a lot of areas driven down the labour market wage levels to effectively baseline.
    its something which is currently a hot topic with the elections looming on thursday.

    the other is in the service industry where workers wages are technically less than minimum wage, but then get "topped up" by the tips the workers earn to level it at basic minimum wage.

    both practices are rife, totally legal, morally wrong and prime examples of how a minimum wage can still be fiddled.
    it wouldn't matter. all that would happen is the cost of things going up even higher.
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