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To think that the minimum wage clearly isn't enough if there is a 'living wage'?

(47 Posts)
pingu2209 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:24:01

The minimum wage is about £6.08 an hour. The living wage is about £7.45 outside London and £8.55 inside London. Why on earth doesn't the Government set the minimum wage at the living wage then? If they accept you can't survive on the minimum wage, why on earth have it?

The Government are pushing all companies to pay the living wage at minimum but not making it law. So much so, that the Central Government are seriously thinking of only contracting out work to companies who pay their staff the minimum wage - so their cleaning contracts, catering contracts etc. These are jobs that are traditionally minimum wage roles.

How can the Government set a minimum wage that is so far below what they agree to be a living wage?

I say all this because I am a dinner lady/cook at a secondary school and am really struggling financially as I am on the minimum wage. Because I am married I don't get as much help financially with additionally benefits as others who work with me who are single mothers etc. The rise to the living wage would make such a difference.

cinnamonnut Sat 24-Nov-12 18:25:13

I imagine it's because of the powerful business lobby. Businesses would lose money if MW went up.

Trills Sat 24-Nov-12 18:25:32

Because I am married I don't get as much help financially with additionally benefits as others who work with me who are single mothers etc.

The person you are married to doesn't contribute to the household then, either financially or by doing childcare?

Agree that people should be paid a living wage, disagree with you bringing up "single mothers getting benefits".

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:27:59

Businesses can only pay people what they are worth. The higher you raise the minimum wage, the more unskilled or low-skilled jobs you eliminate as businesses change their practices. Supermarkets would remove more tills and replace with self-service terminals for instance.

MoomieAndFreddie Sat 24-Nov-12 18:31:16

its not that the minimum wage is too LOW

its that the cost of living is way too HIGH


TeddyBare Sat 24-Nov-12 18:32:25

YANBU. Big businesses don't want to pay living wage and they have some political power to protest to it being enforced. There have been arguments that it's better to have more people working and earning say 75% of what they need and having the rest topped up with benefits than to have less jobs and more people on 100% benefits. So we have a situation where people are working full time but not earning enough to survive on and then being topped up by the public purse. I personally think this is a disaster and a sign that the system needs some fairly drastic re-evaluation because it is taking money from the public budget to subsidise private companies. If those companies had a business model which enabled them to be able to afford what they're getting (i.e. if they have the work of a full time employee then that employee should be able to survive without needing another job / state benefits) then I suspect we would see more responsible business and less crazy-high profits for massive companies.

pingu2209 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:35:04

I wasn't having a go at single mums getting benefits. Not at all.

I agree that Businesses should only pay what a person is worth and that not all roles are worth the same. However, before the minimum wage that argument still stood.

My argument is that why is there a minimum wage and a living wage. Surely the advocates of a minimum wage should ensure it is one that could be lived on?

pingu2209 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:38:17

There are all the articles in the press about how dreadful it is that all these people on benefits won't work because it doesn't pay them to. That the people are financially off on benefits. Of course there will be some people who don't want to work no matter what.

However, if the minimum wage was a living wage, the argument of people on benefits would be dramatically reduced wouldn't it?

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Sat 24-Nov-12 18:43:39

Tax credits have been the biggest giveaway to business for years as they enable companies to get away with artificially low wages.

Will be interesting to see in London what happens to wages when the new housing benefit changes drive everyone so far out that a minimum wage job won't be worth the cost of the commute.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 24-Nov-12 18:48:20

I agree that the minimum wage should be raised to a living wage. But business would suffer.

I have no idea about economics, but it seems that if they made businesses pay a living wage, and reduced their tax burden, then it would make more sense. The government could cope with the loss in tax because they could scrap tax credits as they wouldn't be needed.

pingu2209 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:08:44

I remember times before the minimum wage and the argument was very strongly given that businesses would not survive because the minimum wage would financially cripple them. It seems that whenever the issue of increasing the minimum wage is brought up the same people say that same things.

I know that if I were to earn £1.50 more an hour, it would still be so little a wage that it would not be saved and squirrelled away in the bank. It would be spent on things that I can not currently afford such as the odd take away or the odd day out as a family. I may give my children school dinners a bit more often etc.

However, it is swings and roundabouts. People would earn more and would then spend more, thus supporting UK businesses with increased sales.

quoteunquote Sat 24-Nov-12 19:12:38

But business would suffer

We run a small business, we have never paid minimum wage, stupid short sighted rude idea.

You have to pay people a living wage, or the situation will never work for them, so it won't work for your business and community, it means you have a high staff turn over, which in turn means you spend more re training, costly and time consuming.

I want the people who work for me to be happy, faithful to our company, interested in our development, not just because it the right thing to do, but because it means we can concentrate our energies on development, the people I work with will always go over and above anything I ask of them, because they believe in the company they work for, they are very driven because they are not detached from being involved in the company's future, try getting someone paid a minimum wage to care about the company they work for, it not going to happen naturally.

no one has any resentment towards their work, which makes for an enjoyable workplace for all,

Big business might have influence, but not as much as people power, if we want to live in a happy society, people need to demand change for those who are not being paid a living wage.

DialMforMummy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:16:11

What quotunquite is spot on.

DialMforMummy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:16:33


pingu2209 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:20:20

quoteunquote, that is such a fantastic employer attitude. I wish you were my boss.

I am a dinner lady and not required to work inset days. My direct line manager has a hell of a time getting cover for the inset days because they don't even pay time and a half, just the same basic wage. All of us have children and can't afford the childcare on the basic wage. But more than that, if they are only going to pay us the absolute bare minimum, then we are only going to give the company the absolute bare minimum!

3 days a week we have a delivery of food that has to be put away in to freezers etc. It can come at any time of the day between 8 and 3. However, we work between 8 and 3. If the delivery comes at 3, which it has a few times. We all walk out of the door. It frustrates our boss, but why should we give any extra if the company won't give us extra.

We don't get sick pay either. So if we are ill we don't get paid. The result is that we come in when we shouldn't. The boss gets furious because we come in after being sick or having a heavy cold. Not nice when you are serving food! However, if we don't work, we don't get paid and we earn so little that every penny counts.

BarbarianMum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:24:38

Well its not just about private industry is it. Moving to the living wage would cost the government a huge amount of money.

I am Chair of a Pre-school. We are funded X amount per child per hour by the government and once overheads are included we could simply not afford to pay all staff the living wage (although we aspire to it). So we would either have to ask parents to top up their 'free' childcare or close - unless the government chose to increase the payment per child not bloody likely.

I guess many care homes etc would be in exactly the same position - there is plenty on the news saying that what councils pay barely meets the costs of minimal care.

OddBoots Sat 24-Nov-12 19:26:58

The living wage is high because housing costs are high. Housing costs need to be tackled and there needs to be a greater focus on a home as a place of shelter and less on it being an investment.

quoteunquote Sat 24-Nov-12 19:44:07

It is only good business sense , I don't have to monitor anyone, we don't have any mis conduct to deal with, I don't have to spend time training people who then go else where, people volunteer ideas, I couldn't work in a place that wasn't full of enthusiasm.

I really do not believe that "big' business would suffer if they paid a living wage, I'm positive that it would benefit, it is a non reality to be paying less than it costs to live, if a business is not paying living wages it not a real business, it's a leech.

I always wonder why so called captains of industry who's companies use minimum wage have any pride in what they do, they are clearly not deluded, or they would not cling to something so unworkable for their employees, so they are just advantage taking assholes who do not understand cause and effect.

drivingmisspotty Sat 24-Nov-12 19:46:45

A wise woman once said to me, Henry Ford used to pay his production line workers enough so they could afford to buy a Model T. Now Tesco pay their workers so little they can only afford to buy their food from there.

ShellyBoobs Sat 24-Nov-12 19:50:07

If the delivery comes at 3, which it has a few times. We all walk out of the door. It frustrates our boss...

You definitely deserve a payrise.

ShellyBoobs Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:01

The 'living wage' is stated at approximately NMW+25%.

If employers could afford to increase pay by 25% across the board - it would have to be across the board; you can't increase one group by 25% and not others - it would be a matter of weeks before the RPI skyrocketed.

Within weeks or months, the cost of goods and services would have increased to such a level that the living wage was no longer a living wage.

What then?

usualsuspect3 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:01:29

Tesco pay more than minimum wage, School dinner ladies/cooks are on more than minimum wage too.

usualsuspect3 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:02:12

But I agree NMW should be a living wage.

IslaValargeone Sat 24-Nov-12 20:09:39

I wonder if everyone who works needs a living wage?
For example a person who who wants to work part time a couple of days a week during school hours might be happy to man the desk at a hairdresser/shop/whatever whilst reading their OU text book. They might be quite happy to do this for £5 an hour for example as the phone doesn't ring that much and they are not doing a great deal.
If an employer had this option then it might free up more money to pay a full time employee who needs a living wage and was doing a more skilled busier job?
I would have thought this might be quite useful in some cases? small businesses and the individual might benefit from this?

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Sat 24-Nov-12 20:29:17

shelleyboobs we could always have a maximum wage. That would counter the inflation at least a bit....

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