Tag Archives: low pay

We Are More Unequal Than Ever

My dismay over inequality was one of the two main issues (the other poor mental health care provision) which drove me into politics in 2014. I jumped in with both feet, determined to be a voice for the voiceless and make the world a more equal place.

But here we are in 2017 and the IPPR report just out shows we are more unequal than ever. The report was commissioned by Channel 5 to mark the launch of the second series of Rich House, Poor House, which sees two families from opposite ends of the wealth divide switch places. The …

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Willie Rennie takes on Sturgeon and Amazon over low wages and poor working conditions

Willie Rennie has gained the backing of the Scottish Trades Union Congress for is stance on low wages and poor working conditions at Amazon’s depot in his Fife constituency. He’s also challenged Nicola Sturgeon over massive grants paid to the giant company when they treat their employees so badly.

From the Sunday Mail:

But Rennie said Amazon shouldn’t receive any more money until they increases employees’ pay to the “living wage” of £8.25 an hour – deemed to be the minimum income necessary for workers to meet their basic needs.

The Scottish Lib Dems leader said: “The slipshod manner in which the Government have handled Amazon is embarrassing.

“The SNP have paid them millions of pounds in grants, even though they have been avoiding tax and paying workers low wages.

There is little point in Roseanna Cunningham visiting Amazon now unless she gets them to pay more tax and pay higher wages.

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats must prioritise skills development

One of the depressing facts that came out from last week’s Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on poverty is that only 1 in 5 of low paid employees have left low paid work completely ten years later.  Also in the news recently were reports of severe staffing shortages of skilled staff in several sectors including construction and health/social care, leading to major recruitment drives overseas.   There is a real problem with skills development in the UK.

There are several reasons for this.  Since the recession companies have cut back on investment, and that includes training.  The increase in outsourcing in our public services has had an impact; some private providers have good long term training programmes, whereas others take a much more short term approach, particularly if they are fighting to win government contracts on cost. Another cause is the rise in self-employment – 15% of the UK working population is now self-employed compared to 13% in 2008.  Many of these self-employed are rehired to their original organisations but without many of the benefits including a training budget.

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The Independent View: Will 2015 be the turning point on wage growth?

image001Another Bank of England inflation report, another set of rosy forecasts for earnings next year. Just as 2014 was supposed to be the year of the pay rise, now it seems 2015 will be the year when things turn positive.

And, according to the Bank, wages won’t just creep into positive territory next year, they are going to take something of a jump upwards. In the last quarter of 2015 the Bank expects nominal wage growth of 3.25% at a time of inflation of 1.4% – so a gear shift from the current position of at best flat-lining real pay to healthy growth of roughly 1.8% in a year’s time.

How sceptical should we be?  The Bank’s Chief Economist has been admirably forthright in highlighting his organisation’s own habit of promising sunshine tomorrow, with spring always just around the corner but never coming to pass, as the chart below from his recent speech illustrates. At some point, though, things have to brighten. And every passing month in which unemployment continues its fall and GDP continue to rise makes a degree of optimism about the following year that bit more plausible.

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Vince increases the minimum wage. It’s the right decision, but we do need to get local about it.

This was the Mirror (and many other news outlets) two weeks ago:

Minimum wage cut fears: Fury as Government considers ‘kicking’ low-paid workers

The reality? The Government has accepted the independent Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase both the adult and youth National Minimum Wage rates. The BBC reports:

Minimum wage to increase to £6.31

To be clear, the 1.9% increase is below the expected rate of inflation — so this is a real-terms cut. The increase is, however, higher than either public sector workers or those on benefits will receive. The only recommendation of the Low Pay Commission that was rejected …

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Opinion: low-paying companies should contribute to the welfare pot

In these straitened times it is very tempting to look at trying to reduce the benefits bill. A lot of attention is focussed on benefits paid to people who – for whatever reason – are out of work. However, I think we should also look at the benefits paid to people in work and whether it is right that they should be claiming benefits at all.

Fear not, this is not a proposal likely to be supported by the Daily Telegraph. It is more about attacking the principle of low pay. The coalition government – thanks to …

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