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Showing posts with the label wage levels

Tough at the top? Not really

Capitalists love touting the benefits of trickle-down economics. It is a rationalization of inequality. By linking the welfare of the working-class  directly to the prosperity of the rich, they can protect the interests of corporations and the wealthy without the fear of backlash.

The investment banking hierarchy is essentially a large bureaucracy. At the bottom are the manual unskilled maintenance staff like security guards, the janitors and the cleaners who keep the offices safe and warm and clean. Then there are the administrative assistants, who support several bankers at one time and make about $35,000 a year. Above them are the analysts, college graduates whose life consists of 120-hour work weeks and an endless stream of menial tasks for $65,000 to $90,000 a year. Next up, and supported by the analysts, are the associates -- freshly minted MBAs with more than a $100,000 in school loans hanging over them -- who can look forward to taking home between $100,000 and $175,000 a yea…

A living wage or no wages?

According to research by Citizens Advice Scotland workers in Scotland are routinely being exploited by employers who are refusing to pay the minimum wage. The problem is particularly prevalent among young employees, while hotels, restaurants and cafes are the worst offenders.

Susan McPhee, head of policy at CAS, said: “The minimum wage has been law for more than 10 years, but a significant number of employers are refusing to pay it, and as a result workers are exploited on illegal wages. All political parties* accept the principle of a minimum wage, but it seems some employers believe the law is optional. Our experience shows many workers are unaware of their rights or lack confidence in how to fight for them.”

The National Minimum Wage was made UK law in April 1999 and is currently £6.08 an hour for those aged over 21. It lowers to £4.98 for those between the ages of 18 and 21. For 16 and 17-year-olds, the threshold is £3.68. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has the powers to issue a noti…

wages or jobs?

Cuts in public spending could wipe out up to 125,000 jobs in Scotland – about 5% of the working population – within the next financial year, union leaders have warned. Unison, said 60,000 public-sector and 65,000 private-sector jobs could be lost north of the Border because of spending cuts.

“The recruitment freeze is already condemning a generation of young people – many of whom have trained for years – to unemployment..." the union explained

Aberdeen City Council's SNP-LibDem coalition voted in December to begin negotiating with the unions about a 5% pay reduction, which would remove the need to shed about 1000 members of staff.

reforms fail to reform

On the 40th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act figures have been released to show that women in Scotland will have to wait another 33 years before they are paid the same as men. Male managers earned on average £9,841 more than female colleagues.Even at junior management level, the pay gap still existed, with men being paid £797 more than female executives in Scotland.

Concerning the UK stats generally a spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "Forty years after the Equal Pay Act, women can still expect to earn less than 85 pence for every £1their male colleagues earn. In some sectors the pay gap is far worse."

Socialist Courier can only comment that it once more demonstrates the failure of those that advocate reformism.

ethical exploitation

The "ethical" fish restaurant group, Loch Fyne, pays staff salaries below the minimum wage . Loch Fyne champions marine conservation, and proclaims a corporate philosophy of "an enterprise with respect for animals, people and ecology." according to the BBC
It relies on customer tips to boost total pay to a lawful level . Staff at Loch Fyne Restaurants say they are on a salary of £5.05 an hour, compared with the legal minimum wage of £5.52. The Unite union called the company's behaviour "appalling", and said all restaurant staff should be on a minimum wage salary, as well as getting a fair share of tips. Restaurants are legally allowed to include tips in the calculation of employees earnings, but the practice has been criticised as unethical.
The BBC also revealed that salaries at the Hard Rock Cafe in London were less than half the minimum wage, with waiters on £2.06 an hour

Worse to come

While MPs vote to retain their 2nd home additional expenses allowance of 24,000 pounds , it was revealed that the spiralling cost of living has left Britons 15 per cent worse off than they were five years ago, according to research published. Households were now left with an average of £772.79 to spend each month after paying their fixed monthly outgoings – down from £909.84 in 2003. The report found fixed monthly household costs had soared by nearly 45 per cent during the past five years, to take up 53 per cent of people's total pay. Homeowners were shelling out 78 per cent more in mortgage repayments than in 2003-4 at an average of £735 a month, due to a combination of higher interest rates and people taking out bigger mortgages.Monthly energy bills have leapt by 110 per cent during the period to an average of £95.80, while petrol costs for the typical family are 29 per cent higher at £193.61.

"Many UK consumer segments are feeling the pinch as big rises in household costs …

Getting along wih less to go on

Average families have seen their disposable incomes drop by £8 a week in the past year, research suggests.

Although earnings rose by £23 a week, or 3.6%. that was outstripped by taxes, which rose 6.5%, and higher bills for essential items such as food and fuel. This week government figures showed that higher fuel and food bills had driven annual inflation to its highest level for 11 years.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King , also warned that real incomes would stagnate this coming year.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said the average family had an income of £633 a week, which was 3.6% higher than May 2007. However, it found taxes and national insurance had risen by 6.5% over that time. Adding in the effect of more expensive essential spending - such as transport fares, utility bills, food, clothes and housing - meant that these families now had, typically, just £131 left to spend on other things - a drop of 6%.

Running forward to stand still

The average household is £5 a week worse off than last year. The cost of living rose by 4.9 per cent to £388 a week. Earnings also increased but soaring bills for essentials such as food and transport mean that disposable income has fallen to £138 a week according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business . the charity Credit Action, said:
“When you add together the increases in grocery bills, energy costs and the fact that all credit is getting more expensive, it means that the real cost of inflation is far above the Government’s measure."

CEBR carried out the research on behalf of the supermarket group Asda. It found that the average family had to pay 6.1 per cent more for food in January compared with January 2007, and 6.4 per cent more for transport. Petrol prices were nearly 20 per cent higher. Only a 4.8 per cent fall in the cost of clothing helped lessen the pressure on consumers’ wallets. Households in Wales have been worst affected by spiralling costs, the CEBR …

The ragged trousered philanthropists

Workers in Scotland are doing increasing amounts of unpaid overtime and would receive an extra £4517 a year if they were paid for the additional hours they are putting in, according the STUC.
The number of employees in Scotland working unpaid increased by 20,000 in 2007, bringing the total to 436,000. The average amount of unpaid overtime is six hours and 54 minutes a week.
The STUC has calculated that if everyone in the UK who works unpaid overtime did all their unpaid work at the start of the year, the first day they would get paid would be February 22.
The number of employees working unpaid overtime across the UK increased by 103,000 to nearly five million; about one in five of the working population. The average annual value of unpaid overtime in the UK is £4955 per employee.

"..today's figures suggest many people are not even being paid for putting in these extra hours.Workers in Scotland are giving away over £4500 a year in unpaid overtime. That's too much time and mone…

Minimum Wages - Maximum Exploitation

Thousands of workers are being short-changed by firms who refuse to pay the national minimum wage, the TUC found .

Around 150,000 staff are being denied rate of £5.52 an hour for adults and £4.60 for 18 to 21-year-olds, it says. Those in restaurants, hotels, cleaning, hairdressing and childcare were said to be the most likely to be underpaid.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "There should be no hiding place for bosses who are deliberately cheating their workers out of the minimum wage."

Socialist Courier will go further and say all wages and wage labour is theft . That it is slavery . Within capitalism , the fight to improve wages is indispensible but workers should take the next step - campaign to abolish wages .

The property ladder

Research by the Bank of Scotland, found that young people faced a financial struggle to own property, with the average price paid by first-time buyers soaring 113% from £57,929 in 2002 to £123,213 this year. With the threshold set at £125,000, many first-time buyers paying more than the average price of £123,213 will have to find an extra 1% of their property price on stamp duty.
The average property is now out of reach of first-time buyers in 95% of places, according to the fifth annual First Time Buyer Review. Edinburgh and Helensburgh are the least affordable places for first-time buyers and properties there are 8.2 and 7.5 times the average income of a first-time buyer household. The deposit required by first-time buyers has soared 238% since 2002 and the average amount put down for a first property in Scotland is £25,951 - 95% of an average full-time worker's salary. Five years ago it was only 35% of an average worker's full-time earnings.

"It is beyond the reach of pe…

The Price of Learning

The principal of Glasgow University accepted a £23,000 pay rise in the past year - an increase of more than five times the rate of inflation. The 11% increase brings Sir Muir Russell's salary and pensions benefits to some £234,000 a year at a time when the rest of the university's staff have been given increases of just 4%. Last year's university accounts show the level of Sir Muir's remuneration package jumped from £184,000 in 2004-05 to £211,000 in the last financial year - a 15% rise. As part of his pension arrangements from his career in the civil service, Sir Muir, 59, will pocket a one-off payment of £215,000 when he turns 60.
He can also expect to have an annual pension of £65,000 waiting for him at age 65.

The latest increase is likely to make Sir Muir one of the highest-paid principals in the country, depending on the increases enjoyed by other university leaders which have not yet been revealed. Last year, the highest-paid principals in Scotland were Professor …

Capitalism -Good for a very few - Bad for the many

THE average pay for directors of the UK's biggest firms has soared to £2.87 million after seeing their salary packages rise by over a third in the last year, as reported in the Edinburgh Evening News .

The 37 % rise outstrips average inflation of 2.3 % and is 11 times the increase in average employee pay of 4 % .

The total pay packages of the 1389 FTSE 100 company directors last year broke through the £1 billion barrier for the first time, totalling £1.01billion - enough for 15 hospitals or 50,000 nurses.

The top-paid UK executive was Bob Diamond, head of the investment banking arm of Barclays Bank, who earned £23 million. Although his basic salary was only £250,000, Mr Diamond was awarded a performance bonus of more than £10 million and over £12 million in share awards.

Bart Becht, chief executive of household cleaning company Reckitt Benckiser, was not far behind with a total package worth £22 million , nearly 80 per cent of the firm's total executive wage bill.

Among the oth…

Declining Wages

There is a maxim often espoused by apologists of Capitalism - that a rising tide lifts all boats , meaning that a bountiful capitalism will benefit all sectors of society , not just the capitalist class .

But where is the proof of the pudding.

Profits at British companies are growing at their fastest pace in nearly 13 years while wages of ordinary workers are rising at their slowest pace since 2002, official data showed today.

Office for National Statistics said profits increased by 16.2% in the second quarter of the year compared with a year earlier. That was the best figure since the final quarter of 1994, the profit rise was widespread across different types of company.

Meantime

Wages rose by a meagre 3.6%, the worst pace of growth since the first quarter of 2002.
And inflation - rose to 3.8%, the highest in more than a decade .
So in real terms we are 0.2% worse off

Darren Winder, chief economist at stockbrokers Cazenove said that the cash position and balance sheet of British busine…

Rich List and P*ssed

With the imminent publication of The Times 2007 Rich List , there will be many commentaries on it . The first i have read is from the BBC .

The fortunes of Britain's wealthiest 1,000 people grew 20% in a year .

The UK Office for National Statistics reported that average UK earnings including bonuses rose by 4.6 % in the year to February 2007 . Average earnings excluding bonuses on regular pay, rose by 3.6 % . The retail price index measure of inflation stands presently at 4.8%.

The £19 billion fortune of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal ensured he kept his title as Britain's richest person. Mr Mittal's fortune grew more than £4 billion from from £14.8 billion in 2006 . The Duke of Westminster fortune grew from £6.6 billion to £7 billion.

Once again , the figures irrefutably confirm that the capitalist class are becoming increasingly richer and the working class are growing poorer and poorer .

Just some local news

The second 'Social Atlas' of the Borders just published by Scottish Borders Council.
Earnings in the Scottish Borders are about £80 a week below the national average .

Average income is just over £355 a week compared to £436 across Scotland.

SCOTTISH Executive defines households being in fuel poverty when they have to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on all household fuel, and while there are varying degrees of fuel poverty across the Borders it is generally widespread across the region.

The percentage of the population suffering chronic mental health problems continues to increase and over a twelve year period between 1992 and 2004 the percentage of the population taking prescribed anti-depressant drugs increased from 1.9% to 8.3%."According to Scottish Executive statistics, the Scottish Borders has the second highest rate of the population prescribed drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis in Scotland, after Dundee City.

And talking of Dundee , data from the Ta…