Saturday, 14 March 2015

Minimum Wage, Living Wage = Maximum Wage.

A skilled job requires a skilled worker - and in highly skilled jobs, the more skilful a worker the better or faster they can do the job. An unskilled job generally just requires an average persons labour.

A worker in a skilled job can negotiate their pay according to the unique level of skill they bring to the job, and so how well/fast it is completed.

A worker in an unskilled job generally just has to be there, anyone will do, they are a commodity to fill a slot.

Skilled jobs are paid according to the skill of the specific worker, unskilled jobs are paid according to the minimum required to get someone to turn up.

In the past employers would pay unskilled (and low skilled) workers a fixed rate that would have been established in the specific 'trade' by tradition and negotiation - maybe even a rate of pay according to the individual, maybe based on circumstance, length of service etc.

However with the introduction of a national 'standard' for low pay (the minimum wage and the  living wage) this has all been swept aside - there is no reason for an employer to even think about (or negotiate) a rate - they can simply cite minimum (or living) wage and there is an end to it.

Accordingly these have become the maximum wage for huge chunks of the working population - with no prospect of improvement, progress, development.

Minimum wage is bad enough - but Living wage takes this to a new level. People know minimum wage is a pretty poor deal - but they imagine living wage is a fair deal, and companies supporting it get feted for doing so. However, living wage has been set so a member of a childless couple gets far more than the 'need', but every other type of individual (single with or without children or in a couple with children) gets far less than the Living Wage foundation have *themselves* calculated the need.

Minimum wage can be campaingned against - everyone understands that! But Living Wage is just as bad, but it (bogus) reputation means opposing it gets you classed as a mean bastard!

Living Wage is newspeak to let employers rip off employees and get praised for doing so! Don't be fooled.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Living Wage - locking in poverty for all except half a childless couple.

Living Wage - Road to Hell, Paved with (apparently) Good Intentions.

Living wage - a factual calculation of an indicative figure for an annual income required by a person based on their family situation (single, part of a couple, with out kids, with 1 kid, 2, 3...) to have the minimum 'acceptable' quality of life.

You can argue over what the minimum acceptable quality of life is (from absolutely nothing, to palaces and riches) - or about whether certain family situations should be 'permitted', or how detailed/general the different groups should be, and even where the 'wage' should come from (who pays it) but the principle of a 'Living Wage' is fact, not opinion.

Having said that, Living Wage is oriented to 'earnings' - so excludes in-work benefits etc - I'd rather see a 'Living Income' so the division between benefits and earnings is more transparent. I would especially like this as in-work benefits are often related to income - so vary one and the other varies too.

The Living Wage Foundation are the good/bad guys here... they are a charity that have claimed the 'Living Wage' mantle - they calculate a figure and then get grants from government to promote it and income from employers who want their accreditation.

The Living Wage Foundation calculation arrives at two figures - one for London and one for the rest of the UK.

To arrive at the figure, figures are calculated for various different family situations (which obviously vary hugely - in 2014 from £5.70 for a member of a couple, £8.30 for a single, through a whole range up to £21.10 for a single parent with three children) these individual figures are weighted and averaged (in 2014 to £9.20) and then it is adjusted so accredited employers aren't asked for to pay too much of an increase - in 2014 the adjusted figure was £7.95 (a reduction of £1.35).

As you can see the final published 'Living Wage' is insufficient for every class of family member except a member of a childless couple. However despite this, the 'accreditation' will give employers a solid excuse to pay this low figure, and indeed to boast about it.


Selling indulgences like the medieval roman catholic church.