Tuesday, 6 October 2009

On the National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage

Elsewhere on the internet, Devil's Kitchen is having a go at so New Labour bint on the subject of the minimum wage, she wants the government to implement a Living Wage of £7 per hour rather than the NMW of £5.80 per hour.

I'm on the minimum wage right now, its pretty depressing. Rather than the £5.80 figure, I think of it as £4.90, as that's how much I take home, its how much I'm worth, the tax side of it and NI doesn't help pay my rent of credit card bills, only the £4.90 that I slave away for.

I work hard, I do a good job, I do a slightly better job than some of my peers cos I have some misguided deeply ingrained work ethic. I like to do a good job. But its still just for the minimum wage, they couldn't pay me any less if I did a crap job.

So when I see my peers taking it easy, I feel a little stupid. I'm wasting my efforts for the same money.

The fact there is a minimum wage is a disincentive for me to do a better job than the others on my team.

Anyhoo. This living wage thing, £7 an hour. I look around at the folk in my factory who earn £7 an hour, the team leaders and trainers and I think aw man, that would be a right pain if everyone was earning the same as them. There'd be no incentive to work at all.

I think its a bad bad idea. But, where there's a bad idea that people believe in, there are business opportunities.

Surely someone could set up an organision, like Investors In People or FairTrade, that certifies companies who pay the Living Wage, they companies get a wee logo to put on their website and products, and a wee plaque to put over their front desk.

LivingWage get to charge subscription fees and companies submit themselves to having their payrole verified a few times a year.

It could be a source of pride to be a LivingWage company.

It might also suggest that the company is making excessive profits, and wastes money, but that goes with the territory I guess.


  1. it takes a special kind of self loathing to argue that you paid less. where's this evidence that low pay makes people work harder?

  2. What I'm arguing is that its impossible for them to pay me any less, so I might as well do a half-arsed job rather than put my back into it.

    Getting a pay rise depends on length of service rather than how good you are.

  3. Minimum or maximum wages are always a bad idea. What they should do is have a Citizen's Income type welfare system with a much lower rate of means testing (or preferably none at all).