Debate House Prices
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Are the minimum wage increases enough?
in Debate House Prices & the Economy
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So are you suggesting that workers here should work for less than subsistance wages then? Or at least in the manufacturing sector, to be given the extra to make a living wage from the taxpayer, that seems to be what you are saying.
In the early part of this century - I forget exactly when but around 1910 wages councils were introduced in this country and they looked after the interest and income of the lowest paid sectors in society - shopworkers, hairdressers, careworkers, hotel workers, catering, clothing manufacturing, etc. We had them until the mid 1990's - although they were eroded through the 1980's. The Tories got rid of them for the health of the economy. People would price themselves into jobs, they said.
When they were abolished the government thought that wages would stay pretty much the same - but within 2 months 25% jobs were being advertised at over 30p per hour on average less than the previous minimum. 2.5 million people were at the mercy of the freemarket.
The free marketers have always said that a minimum wage reduced the number of jobs in much the same way that a shop selling apples at a higher price will sell less apples. Except that isn't what happened, there was no real increase in the number of jobs - low paying employers employing low paid workers increased profits, not jobs.
The abolition of the wages councils did not increase the number of jobs and the introduction of the minimum wage did not decrease the number of jobs, or perhaps even impact poverty that greatly, but it probably eliminated some of the gravest injustices.
One unexpected out come of the abolition was that people in higher paid jobs also saw their wages fall - one effect of a minimum wage was to increase pay for more skilled or senior staff to keep pay differentials.
Perhaps history will repeat itself.
As I suspected. The other way around.
One unexpected outcome of the minimum wage was that people in higher-grade (public-sector jobs especially), got massive pay increases.
So yes, I believe what you write, as the real pressures are on those pay-levels above. People earning £30K, £40K - £100K for some fancy title, or being paid well beyond their actual market value.
If it is a consequence of scrapping the minimum wage, then it needs to come, as they are paid too much. Feasted too much on pay beyond what they were actually worth.
That's always assuming some members of society are able on an intellectual level able to do this. Not everyone is academically able to improve their lot. Some will be able to and no doubt will, but others will not.
As you said earlier the minimum wage is there to protect the more vulnerable in our society from being ruthlessly exploited.
The Conservatives dropped their opposition to the minimum wage ten years ago so, yes, you are.
Did they? Or did they aquiesce because they had to.
The bill won't get through the HoC tomorrow - but in the future who knows.
Apparently minimum wage breaches the Human Rights Act in not allowing someone to work for less than minimum wage. It will allow empoyees to opt of the minimum wage - mentions nothing about employers though.
If so -
a) what does the job entail
b) what part of the country are they located
c) what is the average wage rate for that area
d) what is the next step up the ladder for the jobholder (qualifications or experience).
In my experience part of the problem with low wages is that often increases in earnings affects social security benefits. Many of the lower paid are not prepared to accept more responsibility, work overtime etc when any extra pay is compensated by a reduction in state support.