Tag Archives: minimum

Coffey tells people earning less than minimum wage to take Universal Credit or blow their savings

Therese Coffey: if she’s an example of Tory ‘levelling up’ then we need to get rid of them for the sake of the nation.

If you can’t see what’s wrong with the pictured evoked by the headline, it’s simple: nobody should be earning less than the minimum wage.

There’s a reason it’s called the minimum. It is the legal limit below which no employer should be paying anybody.

But the Johnson government’s Work and Pensions Secretary – who should know this – didn’t.

Therese Coffee really is a waste of a Commons seat.

On Sky News yesterday (October 14), she refused to answer when Kay Burley repeatedly asked her if she could live on £5.84 an hour.

Instead, she said people could claim Universal Credit to have that amount topped up (after the obligatory five-week wait, but she didn’t mention that).

Or those with more than £16,000 in savings – which she described as “substantial” although This Writer is sure she and her fellow Tory ministers would consider it a pittance – could drill into that money until it is gone.

What a charmer. Here she is, avoiding the question:

And here’s the backlash:

(For those who can’t read images, Cleverly tweeted that, at elections, Labour think you’re an adult at 16, but when it comes to bus travel you’re not an adult until 25 – to which The Daily Politik responded that, when it comes to paying taxes, the Tories think you’re an adult at 16, but you don’t qualify for an adult minimum wage until 25.)

Meanwhile, the Tories have used the Covid crisis give huge amounts of cash to firms run by their chums, avoiding the normal tendering process. One such firm is paying people the equivalent of £1.5 million per year – each – to do nothing.

That is what the Conservatives call “levelling up”: they take your cash and use it to further enrich their friends.

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Johnson outdoes himself: minimum wage rise has upset employees and employers alike

Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.

Did you think the boost to the minimum wage was a wonderful thing?

Really?

I saw a rich toff on holiday in the sun, throwing a few crumbs at the plebs, so they won’t complain when he comes home and really puts the screws on them.

And did you notice?

The rise still won’t cover the cost of living; people on the minimum wage will have to try to claim benefits as well.

“National Living Wage” – it’s as much of a mockery as it was when the Tories first changed the name.

Oh – and the British Chambers of Commerce are already playing up about it.

They reckon it will eat into training and investment budgets – which is interesting because in This Writer’s experience such budgets no longer exist.

What do these bosses have against paying a decent wage for a day’s work, anyway?

They have tripled their own remuneration over the last 10 years under the Tories, after all.

Still, when all is considered, Boris Johnson is to be congratulated.

He has managed to make an inflation-busting pay increase leave everybody short-changed.

Minimum wage workers will receive a 51p an hour boost from April, the Government announced last night.

The National Living Wage, which is the legal pay floor for employees aged 25 and over, will rise from £8.21 to £8.72.

The rate for 21 to 24 years olds will climb from £7.70 to £8.20.

In contrast, the Real Living Wage, set by independent experts and championed by the Living Wage Foundation, is £9.30 an hour rising to £10.75 in London, where costs are higher.

It is earned by all workers regardless of their age.

Source: Minimum wage will rise by 51p to £8.72 an hour in April, government announces – Mirror Online

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Johnson has broken his minimum wage promise. Will his Tory manifesto be as worthless as May’s?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it when he promised a big increase in the ‘National Living Wage’?

Boris Johnson has broken his manifesto promise to increase the “National Living Wage” (he means the minimum wage), within days of using it to win a landslide election victory.

Page 14 of the Tory Manifesto states categorically: “In our first months, we announced an increase in the National Living Wage to two thirds of average earnings, currently forecast at £10.50 an hour, and widened its reach to everyone over 21. That means an average pay rise of £4,000 per year for four million people by 2024.”

This was the flagship policy announcement at the Tory conference, where Chancellor Sajid Javid proclaimed it would show the Tories are “the workers’ party”.

It was to be achieved by pegging the wage to two-thirds of median earnings, not 60 per cent as it is now.

But in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament last Friday, the words “provided economic conditions allow” had been inserted – rendering the promise meaningless.

The Tories will always be able to find an economic adviser who can claim conditions don’t allow a rise in the minimum wage.

In fact, with Johnson’s Brexit disaster looming large, it might be a long time before those on the minimum see any wage rise at all. Meanwhile the cost of living may rise out of control.

(… Not that I want to worry you!)

Then when the dirty Johnson decides to call another election (should that every happen), he can always wheel out the same promise all over again and know he can expect enough people to believe it – all over again.

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Dupers’ delight: body language suggests Javid and Johnson’s policy promises are lies

Consider this:

‘This is Boris Johnson talking about his new policy in “building 40 new hospitals” – mouth curling and raised eyebrows are micro-expressions indicating someone is lying. It’s called “dupers delight”,’ according to a post on Facebook.

 

“Duper’s delight”…

“Duper n. a person who deceives or tricks someone.”

It seems Mr Johnson may not have been entirely truthful about his promise to invest billions in NHS hospitals, then.

Now, what about this:

Chancellor Sajid Javid has pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10.50 within the next five years.

He will also lower the age threshold for those who qualify from 25 to 21.

Look at his face:

It’s not going to happen under the Tories, is it?

Mr Javid was just saying it as something to put up against Labour’s offer. If you’ve forgotten (or weren’t aware of) what Labour’s offer is, it’s this:

Labour pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10 an hour in 2020 and to include all workers under 18 – who currently get a minimum wage of £4.35.

Even on the surface, Labour’s offer is better – £10 an hour, for everyone, by 2020 leaves opportunity for much more growth than an extra 50p by 2024, which is all Mr Javid is offering, and then only for people aged above 21.

But the clincher is always going to be the simple fact of body language that it seems neither BoJob nor The Collector can hide:

Labour’s offer isn’t a lie.

Source: Tory conference: National Living Wage to rise to £10.50, says chancellor – BBC News

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‘Worrying’ rise in people being paid below minimum wage – including carers, Tories?

Only a day after I reported on the way Tories are trying to penalise people on Carers Allowance who are being paid only a fraction of what their job deserves… this:

A “worrying” number of workers are being paid less than the minimum wage despite government efforts to name and shame offending employers.

A new study by the Low Pay Commission found that 439,000 people in the UK were paid less than the legal minimum in April 2018 – up 30,000 on the year before.

Women were still more likely to be paid below minimum wage, which stands at £8.21 for workers aged 25 and over and £7.71 for those between 21 and 24.

Childcare had the highest rate of underpaid workers, followed by hospitality, retail and cleaning.

Is it any wonder employers are scorning the minimum wage – especially those specialising in child care?

They’re just following the Conservative government’s own treatment of carers.

Source: ‘Worrying’ rise in number of people being paid below minimum wage, study finds | The Independent


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Embarrassment for Tories as minimum wage would be £26,000 if it matched executive pay rises

Chief executives of FTSE 100 companies receive on average 94 times more than the average employee [Image: Alamy Stock Photo].

Somebody should have sent a memo to the brainiacs at Activate UK – the Tory attempt at an equivalent to Momentum.

Activate recently tweeted this:

https://twitter.com/ActivateBritain/status/948548100821528579

No, it doesn’t seem fair – mostly because decades of dull-headed neoliberalism has set rises in basic pay so far behind executive salaries.

If basic pay had been in step with executive pay, the minimum wage would be £26,000 – more than is paid to nurses, paramedics, doctors, firefighters and police officers.

Only train drivers are paid more. Activate has tried to claim this is because they work for a privatised industry, but it seems this is the more likely explanation:

Exactly. More power to the RMT!

And well done to Activate, for highlighting the shocking way bosses have exploited their workers and added the pay employees deserve to their own already-inflated salaries.

The disparity in pay between those at the top and bottom of the earnings ladder is revealed by analysis showing the national minimum wage would be £5.24 an hour higher if it had risen at the same rate as a FTSE 100 chief executive’s pay over the last two decades.

With 2018 marking the 20th anniversary of legislation that heralded the minimum wage, research by the GMB union underscores by just how much the statutory pay floor has failed to keep pace with executive earnings.

It shows that if increases in the national minimum wage had kept pace with a chief executive it would be £12.74 an hour compared with £7.50 now for those 25 years and older. For a worker aged over 25 on 40 hours per week this would equate to £26,000 a year compared with the £14,664 they are currently paid.

Source: Minimum wage would be £26,000 if rate matched executive pay rises, GMB finds | Society | The Guardian


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Revealed: most bizarre excuses for underpaying staff the National Minimum Wage

This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so shocking. These are real excuses made by UK companies in order to withhold the minimum wage from employees.

How much do the bosses take home?

This is another argument in favour of Jeremy Corbyn’s maximum wage ratio, I think.

Sadly, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills did not see fit to tell us which companies provided these excuses.

The list below has been published by the Government to coincide with the launch of a new £1.7 million campaign, which aims to encourage employers to check workers are being paid at least the statutory minimum.

Some of the worst excuses for dodging the minimum wage include:

  • The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
  • It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first 3 months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
  • I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.
  • She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
  • I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
  • My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.
  • My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.
  • My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.
  • My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
  • The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

Source: Revealed: most bizarre excuses for underpaying staff the National Minimum Wage

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Council finance chief to investigate ‘workhouse’ scheme

Workhouse: A former bus depot in Blackburn which is set to become a workhouse for up to 10 inmates.

Workhouse: A former bus depot in Blackburn which is set to become a workhouse for up to 10 inmates.

The finance chief at Blackburn with Darwen Council is to consider more deeply the plan to turn a former bus depot into what could be a 21st-century workhouse, it seems, after a Vox Political commenter raised concerns.

Andy Kay said he did not disagree that, although a few people could be taken off the street by the scheme, it could be setting a precedent for the government to say anyone who claims housing, unemployment or sickness benefit must work in a workhouse or be homeless, in conversation with commenter Helen Pay.

“With what the government is doing already, this idea isn’t far-fetched,” she told This Blog.

“Andy didn’t know if the homeless people were going to be paid wages – but the minimum wage for a young person he looked up and is something crazy like £4. Would many people choose to sort recycling for £4 an hour?

“He also said about accomodation being paid for at housing benefit rates. So when I asked if these homeless people could then be paid the minimum wage and be topped up by the council paying housing benefit – which would be paid to the charity – to live on a recycling site, his attitude completely changed. He hadn’t considered this.”

She told us she had also found it useful, when Mr Kay said the bottom line was to help homeless people, to quote an idea she had submitted to the Royal British Legion: “To supply accommodation to homeless people that involved zero profit being made and was purely about helping people.”

She pointed out: “The ‘charity’ website of Recycling Lives even talks about these homeless people being farmed out to other companies and those companies paying the wages they would have paid – to Recycling Lives.”

Ms Pay added: “I also mentioned personal responsibility for future events – which he seemed to take on board.

“I said I hoped that if he investigated and found Recycling Lives was taking advantage of people that I would read in a newspaper article that Andy Kay had been a whistle blower and put a halt to this scheme.”

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The Mail was wrong about ‘feminist’ t-shirt

THIS is what a feminist looks like: Actress Emma Watson has recently been using her role as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador to promote HeForShe, a campaign that fights for equal rights - for both genders - by inspiring men and boys to support gender equality. If the Fawcett shirt is good enough for her, it's good enough for us!

THIS is what a feminist looks like: Actress Emma Watson has recently been using her role as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador to promote HeForShe, a campaign that fights for equal rights – for both genders – by inspiring men and boys to support gender equality. If the Fawcett shirt is good enough for her, it’s good enough for us!

It’s all bad news for the Mail on Sunday.

Not only did it target the wrong people with its report stating that t-shirts proclaiming “This is what a feminist looks like” were made in a sweatshop, but now the charity that commissioned them has made it clear that the claim isn’t even accurate.

The Fawcett Society had the shirts made and sold them in Whistles shops. Yesterday it revealed that “expansive and current evidence” showed that the CMT factory in Mauritius that Whistles used to produce the shirts “conforms to ethical standards”.

The evidence shows that all of the workers are paid more than the government-mandated minimum wage and all are paid according to their skills and years of service.

The standard working week is 45 hours, and workers are compensated, at a higher rate of pay, for any overtime worked.

There is a high level of staff retention and employees are offered training and development. Workers are able to join a union and there is a union presence in the factor.

In addition, an audit into the CMT factory was carried out only last month (October 2014), by an independent not-for-profit organisation, and this did not reveal any material concerns on the working conditions, welfare or the health and safety of workers.

In many ways, it seems this factory provides better conditions than are currently available in the UK, with no zero-hours contracts, overtime paid at a higher rate, and staff training available.

Fawcett’s deputy CEO, Eva Neitzert, said the charity was not taking the evidence at face value and was examining it with the help of an international trade union.

“The evidence we have seen categorically refutes the assertion that the ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirts produced by Whistles were made in a sweatshop,” she said.

“Whilst we have confidence in the evidence provided to us, we are currently working closely with an international trade union body to scrutinise it so that we can be absolutely assured of its provenance, authenticity and that all findings are robust and factual.

“Further, whilst Fawcett has a UK remit, we are nonetheless acutely concerned with the inequalities women across the globe face. We recognise that investment in developing countries is vital and support this provided decent labour standards are adhered to.

“We will continue to work with Elle and Whistles on this project.”

The Mail on Sunday raised its objections to the shirts after Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was photographed wearing one for a special feminism-based issue of Elle magazine, and Harriet Harman wore one in the House of Commons to mock Tory leader David Cameron.

It seems Mr Cameron – who has very few women in his cabinet – had declined to wear the shirt, claiming that he did not have the time to put it on.

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The Mail is silly to whip up a storm over a t-shirt

zfeministshirt

It wouldn’t be a Sunday without a bonkers story from the Mail, would it?

This week, that pillar of the rabid-right press has got the knives out for Ed Miliband – because he put on a t-shirt without knowing its full history.

The shirt, emblazoned with the words, “This is what a feminist looks like,” was given to him by the women’s-interest magazine Elle, in association with equal rights charity the Fawcett Society, in the hope that he would agree to be photographed wearing it for a forthcoming special issue of the magazine on feminism.

The Fawcett Society had commissioned the shirt and said it had been told the garment would be made ethically.

But Mail on Sunday reporters weren’t satisfied with such assurances! Stung by the criticism attached to their idol David Cameron, after he refused to wear it (on the basis that he didn’t have the time, if the BBC’s News Quiz is any kind of reliable source of information), they travelled to Mauritius, where the shirt was made.

There, they learned that “Migrant women in Mauritius are making the £45 tops for 62p an hour” and that, when they weren’t working, they “sleep 16 to a room and earn less than average wage on island”.

Two thoughts occur: Firstly, the Mail on Sunday is wrong to direct its anger at Mr Miliband (and at Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who wore the shirt in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions, to highlight the lack of women in Cameron’s cabinet).

Everybody who put on that shirt and allowed themselves to be photographed wearing it did so in good faith. They did it for the Fawcett Society – a charity that supports ethical employment and equality – and for Elle, to support its edition on gender equality.

How many times have you ever asked if anybody was exploited in the making of a clothing item before buying it?

If anyone has been caught in the wrong, it is whoever the Fawcett Society contracted to manufacture the shirt. If the Mail allegations are accurate, then the organisation was misled, the t-shirts will have to be withdrawn from sale and the charity will (now) have to apologise to anyone whose name has been besmirched by association with it.

Secondly, it is hypocritical in the extreme for the Mail to be criticising the treatment of migrant workers who have been paid less than the average wage and forced to live in overcrowded conditions.

The Mail‘s attacks on people who immigrate into the UK are now the stuff of legend; it supported Lord Freud after he commented that some disabled people could be made to work for less than the minimum wage; and it is a strong supporter of the Bedroom Tax and other changes to housing-related social security benefits which can lead to eviction for families who cannot make ends meet in David Cameron’s low-wage, no-benefit Britain. When people become homeless, their local council has to pay for them to be housed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation, often sharing with many other people, often in entirely inappropriate conditions.

In writing the article, the Mail set out to expose Ed Miliband as a hypocrite.

In fact, all it has done is expose its own double-standards.

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pointing out the errors of the right-wing press!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook