I have been laying awake at night of late thinking about how a significant proportion of society are living in relative poverty, and those of you who are familiar with my blogging will know that I don’t look for things to blog about, I have very little choice in the matter, I lose sleep and the universe will not permit me to sleep again until I say what needs to be said.
Yesterday, Oxfam (via Twitter) very kindly signposted me to their hard work on tackling UK poverty (amongst other things), and perfectly quoted:
‘When a company does not ensure a living wage is paid, the most vulnerable people in its supply chain suffer as a result. This is unfair and unsustainable.’
Now I do realise that living wage is better than minimum wage and I understand why people are taking baby steps, but then baby steps have not been taken in every other area of inflation and it is time we caught up. Even living wage is not enough to enable people to live their lives every week, month, year, without worrying about meeting the rent or mortgage, and without being penalised by the banks or utility or insurance companies for having to pay monthly. You will see my earlier blogs on penalised for being poor and inflation. There is no quality of life for most people, just look at them in the supermarket, their spirit is dead and they cannot pick anything up without worrying if they can afford to include it in that week’s shop.
I came across this Guardian US tweet the other day, and whilst it is in the US it is absolutely bang on the nail for the issues faced in this country by public and private sector employees.
Please watch it here: http://singlemumsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/useful-links/4594561112
Many company bosses will convince themselves that they are paying their staff a fair wage, mainly by comparing it with other similar salaries for similar roles, but do you remember your mum saying this ?’If somebody told you to jump in front of a bus would you do it?, no, use your own brain.
Employers must take a greater responsibility for ensuring that none of their employees are stressed about money, especially when it is as a direct result of them putting profits before people. The onus in on employers at the Gov are failing epically to look after their people, they are so out of touch that they are incapable of leading properly, and if you are waiting for them to force you to pay a higher wage then you are failing epically too. I caught a glimpse of the Martin Lewis Money Show where MP James Brokenshire seemed to be quite chuffed with announcing the minimum wage has increased to £8.21. (Parliament’s expenses watchdog confirmed the salary for MPs will rise from £77,379 to £79,468 from April 1. It contrasts with welfare benefits remaining frozen for a fourth year in row. Ministers like Mr Brokenshire get a second salary on top) Now I’m sure he’s a nice enough chap, but ignorance is a very real downside humanity, you cannot lead what you do not understand, just as you cannot teach what you have not learned.
I am not interested in excuses. Please do not pay your vulnerable staff a wage and then pay yourself significantly more, plus a significant bonus (and they really are vulnerable. The thought of rocking the boat at work fills most people with fear of further poverty or hostility) . Plus panic buy office equipment at year end to keep profits down and the tax bill low. It happens everywhere. You can not tell how much your staff are struggling by looking at them, but I guarantee that anything less than £10 is too little and this has to rapidly increase to £15 or £20 (support staff).
You may ask where this money will come from – if you do, please back it up with your accounts and personal expenditure v what difference the payrise would make to your bonus. As for public sector pay. We would all pay more tax, and there would be significantly less need for help, so this swings in roundabouts.
Employees are vulnerable. Look after them like you would look after your own family, after all, they are helping you run your company.
I think that’s enough to let me sleep..
Although final note, I appreciate the process of working your way up the ladder, but the bottom of the ladder should not be in the gutter, as it currently is. The only excuse for living wage is supported young / trainee people learning a trade, for a very limited period of time.
I also do not proof read my blogs, I am a passion blogger and I must press send before I read. So apologies if typos offend you!