Never Satisfied…

I guess that’s why we call people like Frances O’Grady ‘progressives’ – it certainly isn’t their results!

Employers told us it would cost two million jobs; rightwing politicians saw it as interference in the market; and even some trade unions thought the state should keep out of wage regulation. Not so long ago, the minimum wage was a minority cause.

Fifteen years on from its introduction, politicians now compete for who can back the biggest above-inflation rise; many companies want to pay the living wage – and this is how unions like it. You know you’ve won an argument when everyone has forgotten why they disagreed with you in the first place.

Plenty of people haven’t forgotten, Frances. I certainly haven’t. And I still do disagree.

Today’s spread of low pay, zero-hours contracts, agency work and other forms of casual working are reminiscent of the conditions that led to support for the Fair Wages Resolution and wages councils more than a century ago. The real challenge to supporters of the modern minimum wage is whether they see it merely as a way of legitimising the divided labour market – making the decline in secure jobs with prospects and decent pay acceptable because at least everyone gets the minimum wage.

Did anyone ever think it would stop with the Minimum Wage? Anyone? Bueller?

And it’s not just an increase in pay, either – now they are looking at other areas:

With even the International Monetary Fund arguing that inequality helped drive both the crash and the slow recovery, we need a bold increase in our wages floor and some sectors need new wages councils. These would get employers and unions together to set not just minimum pay, but also decent standards for such things as training and sick pay.

They never, ever stop. Because their very jobs depend on there always being another war to be waged, another battle to be fought:

We want rising living standards to become a central objective of public policy after years in which measures that reduced wages were seen as the responsible thing to do. We want policies that reduce inequality and to reverse the trend that has seen top directors’ pay go up every year, despite cuts in real pay for everyone else. Putting workers on remuneration committees will be a start, but we must cut the knot that leads every organisation to defend paying directors top whack just because everyone else does.

Remind me, Frances – what do top union officials and charity directors and quango heads get paid?


12 comments for “Never Satisfied…

  1. Ed P
    April 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Prizes for everyone, regardless of ability!

    When will “the left” realise that if there are winners, there must also be losers?

    • April 19, 2014 at 8:45 am

      They already have and they care not a jot for it. One of the gifts of critical theory is it does not require them to acknowledge where their ideas and arguments stand opposite to each other, or where taking an idea to its logical end point would create a problem.

    • Brightside Bob
      April 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

      “…there must also be losers…”

      As long as you’re not among em eh? & as for the disabled, why not shoot the f@cking useless lot of em… oh, of course, who’d pay for the bullets? (take it off their final benefits payment I suppose).

      A minimum wage isn’t evil. “Top execs” absurd wages/reward for failure, quangos’ (particularly duplicated ones), spads (& the treasonous scum they work for), etc. THEY are the REAL MONEY DRAIN. 😈

      • April 21, 2014 at 6:36 am

        I care not for what any company pays it’s workers. If I don’t like its product, it doesn’t come out of my pocket.

  2. john in cheshire
    April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    JuliaM, I agree with you; enforced minimum wages are wrong and like everything else that politicians, their union cronies and the corporate fascists touch, it becomes twisted to suit their own purposes. If the unions really cared about their members they would have strongly opposed the swamping (David Blunkett’s word, as I recall) this country with immigrants which has caused wages to tumble. And of course Progressive = Marxist; I thought it was a journalist’s job to report the news not to create it, otherwise it’s just propaganda. What was the term the communists use – AgitProp?

  3. April 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Yep, AgitProp, pure, simple and oh so friggin’ easy. And what’s worse is that they believe it ! Whooda Thunk?

  4. Geoffrey S
    April 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Winston Churchill said it’s not right for the state to have to top up low wages paid by bad employers

    • April 21, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Bad employers should find it hard to find people to exploit, shouldn’t they?

  5. Stonyground
    April 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Anecdotal I know, but someone I know works for a well known chain of betting shops that used to pay the staff significantly more before the minimum wage was introduced. Now they pay just a whisker over the minimum wage. It would appear that organisations that want to pay as little as they can get away with now have a nice guideline to work with.

    • April 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

      That Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again! 😈

  6. Mudplugger
    April 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    The minimum wage law also works directly against those who are inherently harder to employ.

    If a disabled person, desperate to work, could do so for 10 or 20% below the minimum wage, an employer would then be able to take a balanced judgement between employing that person cheaper or a fully-able person at higher cost. But currently, it’s a no-brainer – why should an employer even consider employing the restricted one when the costs are as high as for a fully-able staffer, but with greater risks ? Hence the many work-motivated disabled find it even more difficult to get on the first rung of the work-ladder and thus become self-sufficient.

    • April 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

      The Left seem to believe businesses exist as job-creation schemes.

      Maybe because so many of them seem to work in such themselves…

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