Showing posts with label wages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wages. Show all posts

Monday, January 09, 2017

Not fare


(Aother classic post from our recently deceased comrade Vic Vanni)

The famous "Fares Fair" scheme, by which some Labour members of the Greater London Council tried to ease London Transport's ( L.T.)financial worries (and win some votes), pleased some people but enraged just as many more. Some complained that reduced fares were being paid for by higher rates while businesses claimed the increase would drive them to the wall and cause even more unemployment.

In the end the scheme was thrown out by the House of Lords and L.T. fares were doubled in March. This decision greatly pleased those other reformers, the Tories, but it did not solve L.T.'s financial problems - the consequence was a massive jump in fare-dodging.

This fare-dodging has been a long standing worry for L.T. but just
recently it has come to a head because of several articles in the London evening newspaper, the Standard. Its August 10th article Find the Fare Fiddlers was all too reminiscent of similar headlines during the last two decades.

Back in January l97l the Socialist Standard carried an article on this
subject. At that time L.T. claimed to be losing only £1million yearly due to fare-dodging, but as the article in the Socialist Standard stated: "The signs are that London Transport's figure of £1 million will be shown to be hopelessly underestimated". In 1972 L.T. admitted that the losses were £5 million. By 1978 the figure was £12 million and in 1982 the loss is expected to be an astonishing £30 million - or over 5 per cent of L.T.'s total income.

In 1966 plans were made to install automatic ticket gates to control
passenger entrance and exit. This was to have cost £10 million at 1966 prices but the rapidly escalating costs of the system have resulted in its partial introduction only. As most stations have no automatic gates many passengers simply pay the collector at the other end a fraction of the real
cost of the journey.

In the past you could hand over a five penny piece and walk through the barrier with no trouble at all, but nowadays there is a marked change in the attitude of the collectors. They are much more zealous in their duties, not out of any new-found loyalty to L.T., but because many of them realise that the more they collect in excess fares the more they can keep for themselves. L.T. reckon that another £10 million is being lost to staff using this method, plus a variety of ingenious variations.

Not that Underground employees get all of this £10 million to
themselves, for L.T.'s bus conductors also have ways of keeping part of what they collect. These include the use of Black and Decker drilling machines to wind back the counters on ticket machines and, according to the Standard newspaper article, more than 2,000 of L.T.'s 13,000 bus conductors have already been cautioned for fiddling fares.

This conflict between L.T. and its employees is actually part of the
ceaseless struggle between employees and employers, whether the latter be private companies or state or municipal concerns. The main bone of contention is usually wages and conditions of work but workers will also claw back a bit of what they can't get legally.

Rare indeed is the worker who never goes for a read or does a "homer" in the company's time, never uses the photocopier for his or her own purpose, never takes home the company's stationery or arrives late or leaves early. And it's the same with the army of
fare-dodgers. True, they aren't employees of L.T. (no doubt many of them think L.T. belongs to them!) but hard-up workers will always try to supplement their earnings with a bit of free travel if they can.

Vic Vanni

Socialist Standard October 1982

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The outlook is bleak

Some 26 of 30 countries covered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have shown a falling labor share of national income since 1990. International Labor Organization (ILO) data show the gap between the top 10% of earners and bottom 10% increased in 23 of 31 nations since 1995. Between 1999 and 2011, average labor productivity in developed economies worldwide increased more than twice as much as average wages. Real average monthly wage growth worldwide, excluding China, fell to 0.2% last year from 2.3% in 2007. Unemployment might have been higher than it might had it not been for reduction in working hours, shorter working weeks, cuts in overtime and even job sharing in exchange for keeping jobs.

The United Nations bodY focuses on how the shrinking share of the pie going to workers was one cause behind the credit bubble. The falling share of national output going to workers in the decade before the crisis ended up boosting household debt as workers tried to maintain consumption via ever-easier credit. Had falling labor shares of the bottom 99% in the United States not been compensated for by debt-led consumption, it is likely that world economic growth would have slowed or halted much earlier," the report said. The same phenomenon was seen in Britain, Australia,Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The pressure to rebuild national balance sheets or sustain corporate [profit] margins with further pressure on wages is all too clear.

 Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who owns the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson invested more than $100 million in the election, mostly on Republicans who lost -- including $20 million that went to Romney's super PAC "Restore Our Future," $15 million to another super PAC that almost single-handedly kept Newt Gingrich's Republican primary campaign going and about $50 million to nonprofit Republican fronts such as Karl Rove's Crossroads.
Adelson tells the Wall Street Journal he's ready to double his 2012 investment next time around. "I happen to be in a unique business where winning and losing is the basis of the entire business," he says, "so I don't cry when I lose. There's always a new hand coming up." He isn't looking back at his losses.
 Adelson says he has many friends in Washington, "but the reasons aren't my good looks and charm. It's my pocket personality," referring to his political investments. Adelson recently met with three Republican governors said to be eying the 2016 presidential race. This week he met separately with Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

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 year. If these young men and women, who work 90-hour weeks while trying to juggle a family, survive long enough to become vice presidents, their compensation can rise to $200,000-$300,000 per year.

Above the vice presidents are the directors, which is a training zone for the next pay grade (or a graveyard for those who don't have what it takes). Directors rely on the workers below them to do all the grunt work, including research, financial analysis, and client presentations, while they mainly babysit clients and occasionally come up with ideas to pitch to them. Their pay for these relatively cushy tasks ranges from $350,000 to $500,000 per year; but even this is meager compared to what their superiors make. Managing directors, who work even less and spend more time golfing instead, can make anywhere from a million to several million dollars a year.

Finally you have the really big fish -- the CEOs, presidents, executive vice presidents, and others who manage the entire circus, think deep thoughts, and schmooze with politicians to get regulations loosened. What makes these gigs so coveted is not just the fact that few ever manage to join that echelon but that the pay-scale jumps to tens of millions of dollars (even hundreds of millions) per year for work that is only moderately more challenging than that of the managing directors. It may be lonely at the top, but it's  lucrative.

It should be clear from the above that the wealth generated in these organizations gathers mainly at the top of the pyramid, while the people at the bottom, who do a lot of the heavy lifting and are instrumental in building that wealth, receive only a fraction of those riches. Sure, the pay scales in investment banking are pretty good by the standards of other industries, but it is the proportional difference between the compensation at the top and the bottom that makes a difference. This large income gap leads to an exponentially faster accumulation of wealth in a few hands, which in turn widens the prosperity gap even more. In other words, prosperity is not really trickling down but trickling up.

The more wealth trickles up in the capitalist system, the more it frustrates those at the bottom -- without whose efforts that wealth could not be created in the first place.

Taken from here

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Facts, statistics and lies

Data from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) 2012 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows the median weekly earnings of Scots, at £497.60, were higher in any part of the UK outside London and the southeast, growing 2.6% year on year. This figure represents a real terms fall, in light of CPI inflation of 3% during that period. Women's waages were significantly under at a 0.6% increase, the slowest rise in the UK other than in northeast England, where women's wages actually fell by 0.5%.

David Bell
, professor of economics at Stirling University, warned that the rise may be a symptom of an increased loss of lower-paid jobs, pushing the median figure further up the scale. He said: "What might have happened is that a lot of the people who lost their jobs in Scotland are at the bottom end of the wage distribution, and if falling employment is concentrated in the bottom, that moves the median up. Our labour market performance hasn't been that great lately and the unemployment trend has been going in the wrong direction for a few months. Paradoxically, rising median rates may be consistent with that. It doesn't necessarily mean that the economy is booming. I don't think there is evidence of great upward wage pressure in the Scottish economy."
STUC assistant secretary Stephen Boyd explained "Most workers are still experiencing what [Bank of England governor] Mervyn King has described as the longest period of falling real wages since the 1920s."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In the red, Whyte and blue

A "large number" of players at struggling football club Rangers have agreed pay cuts of between 25% to 75% to save the jobs of non-playing staff, administrators have said. It is understood senior players like captain Steven Davis and Scotland internationals Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker have accepted the largest wage cuts.

In a statement, joint administrator Paul Clark said: “The agreement on very substantial wage reductions and voluntary departures from the club represents a major sacrifice by the Rangers players."

Socialist Courier takes this opportunity to clarify why footballers earn so much.

Footballers at least start from the same position as the rest of us: not owning any wealth from which to obtain an unearned income, to obtain what they need to live they have to go out on to the labour market and offer their mental and physical energies for sale. Most professional footballers, working for clubs in the lower divisions or for non-league clubs, never earn anything more than the average worker.

But some, those who play for the top clubs, are paid fabulous amounts of money, by working class standards. What is their income? Is it wages? Not really. It’s more like rent. Rent is paid whenever there is a natural monopoly in something that cannot be increased, normally land, mineral deposits and other natural features that can be employed in production. The rent of land and natural resources is essentially fixed by the paying demand for it. The higher the demand, the higher the rent.

As Arsène Wenger pointed out, “you normally need special qualities to be a strong footballer”. It is these “special qualities – which are a sort of natural resource that cannot be increased – that enable the best footballers to command so high an income, but as rent rather than as the price for the mere sale of their labour power. Their income is so high because the demand for their talents is so high.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fact of the day

British companies paid out record dividends in 2011, despite difficult economic conditions and recent evidence that more firms were struggling. Dividends hit a record £67.8 billion.

Total gross dividends rose 19.4 per cent for the full year, even though Britain’s main share index lost ground during 2011. And payments soared 26 per cent in the fourth quarter alone, compared with the same period in 2010.

Capita chief executive Charles Cryer said: “Record dividends are providing a real bright spot for investors ...We are optimistic dividends will make further progress in 2012..."

Something to remember when your wages are frozen.

http://www.scotsman.com/business/economics/dividend_payouts_hit_record_level_of_67_8bn_1_2072152




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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 notice of underpayment if an employer is found to be flouting the legal threshold, and employers face a fine to HMRC of 50% of the total underpayment that has occurred since April 2009. The minimum penalty is £100 and the maximum £5000.
Link
* Not all. The Socialist Party doesn't.

We have nothing against workers struggling for and getting higher wages if they can. We favour this, even if we don’t like the term “living wage” any more than “fair wage" and even if we think that ideally this should be tied to struggling to abolish the wages system altogether. What we criticise is to increase the present legal minimum wage and call the result a “living wage”.

First Minister Alex Salmond has spoken in favour of a “living wage” of £7.15 per hour for Holyrood employees. Presumably Salmond has in mind is a wage that would allow a worker to afford decent housing, enough proper food, new clothes, to go on holiday and run a car. Getting employers to increase the wages of anyone paid less £ 7.15 is easier said than done. The unions haven’t been able to do it. Like all reforms of capitalism the minimum wage legislation leaves intact the basic mechanism wherein a small handful live of the surplus value produced by the working class. However even by comparison with previous capitalist reforms this piece of legislation has proved woefully unsuccessful. We pointed out that this was just another empty vote-catching promise which, even if implemented, wouldn’t have had the expected effects.

But let’s assume for a moment that a law forcing employers to pay a higher minimum wage was passed. What would happen?

First, some employers would go bankrupt. Others would withdraw their capital from producing certain goods or services, so their price would rise. Eventually this would stabilise at a new, higher level at which employers would be able to make a profit even when paying the increased minimum wage. So the cost of living would go up, including for workers on the minimum wage. Second, given the increased labour costs, the introduction of previously unused labour-saving machinery would become cheaper vis-à-vis employing living labour. It is generally accepted that higher wages does lead employers to introduce machinery. Employers would do this. So there’d be job losses and unemployment, particularly amongst the unskilled, would grow.

Nor did Marx think much of such demands as “fixing the minimum wage by law”, which was one of the reform demands of the French Workers Party he had a hand in helping to set up in 1880. He wrote, referring to the proposer of this: “I told him: ‘If the French proletariat is still so childish as to require such bait, it is not worth while drawing up any program whatever.' "

Like all reforms of capitalism the minimum wage legislation leaves intact the basic mechanism wherein a small handful live of the surplus value produced by the working class. Socialism is not about redistributing income and wealth from the rich to the poor, but about establishing a society that would not be divided into rich and poor. To adapt Marx, workers should replace the demand for a “Living Wage” by the revolutionary demand for the “Abolition of the Wages System”.

Monday, March 28, 2011

workers getting pooer

Workers are more than £1000 worse off than they were two years ago because pay has failed to keep pace with hikes in the cost of living, new research claimed today.

It said the average employee had seen the value of their take-home pay dive by five per cent in real terms since the middle of the recession.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

more pay cuts loom

About 3% of the UK's workforce have seen basic pay fall in the past year and those in the construction sector have been hardest hit, it said, with 10% in that industry seeing pay fall according to this report .Thousands of workers have negotiated lower pay packets hoping to avoid redundancy.
"We're predicting next year that we're going to see more organisations making more and more redundancies." said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Friday, July 25, 2008

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

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

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 said. The average family has £45 a week to spend on leisure and recreation once weekly bills are met. This is more than 12 per cent less than they had to spend in January 2007.

FSA’s director of financial capability, said: “Economic conditions are getting tougher, putting pressure on family finances...."

Chief executive of Asda, said: “The latest figures indicate that 2008 is going to be a tough year for customers and confirms what we’ve known for some time: that household budgets are stretched to the limit.”

Credit Action said:“We are helping people whose finances are being squeezed significantly. They are not just worrying about mortgage repayments, but are struggling to cover the cost of living week to week.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

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 money that could be better spent with friends and family..." Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC said

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The working poor


The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says 1.4 million children in Britain live in poverty despite having at least one working parent.

Government efforts to tackle child poverty have "forgotten" to help poor parents who work.

Kate Stanley, head of social policy at the IPPR, said the challenge now was "to ensure that work really is a route out of poverty...Tax credits and the minimum wage have 'made work pay' relative to being on benefits, but these don't yet go far enough to ensure more children are lifted out of poverty. More action is needed to combine financial support and measures to boost parental employment with action to deliver fairness on pay and opportunities for progression at work."

Socialist Courier has news for this highly prestigious research institute - the slogan 'a fair days work for a fair days pay' is as old as the hills and for the working class it is a demand that is never fulfilled .

Poverty will end when the wages system itself ends .

Sunday, December 23, 2007

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 .

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slave Labour

There is much ado about those described as illegal immigrants working in the security industry and an alleged cover-up by the minister of the numbers . Much less is mentioned about that type of work being one of the lower paid and less rewarding occupations which migrants seem to end up in .

Nor has there been too much media coverage of the comments by Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the T&G Union about the conditions that some migrant workers in the UK are forced to work under could be likened to "a modern form of slave labour" .
"...there are all too many employers taking advantage of the vulnerability of the newly arrived...a depressing pattern of workers who are promised the move in their countries of origin, sometimes with such serious deception in terms of what actually happens when they arrive here in Britain that it would in statutory terms of international law be classed as trafficking".

He describes :-
"The awful reality all too often is national minimum wage or less, illegal deductions, deductions for transport, housing, unspecified administrative charges. Often workers on national minimum wage having deductions of between £110 and £130 a week, no contracts of employment, compulsory overtime, having to pay for their own safety equipment, and in extreme cases, racial harassment and violence. In terms of accommodation, where all too often gangmaster employees or agency employees stay, it is five and ten to a house, sometimes actually sleeping in the premises where they actually work, often illegal evictions. I have been into houses ... 16 people in a small house where they couldn't all be there at the same time so it was a hot bedding arrangement."
He talks about :-
Of how in a crop picking firm, a pregnant woman had collapsed.
"They were embarrassed about the circumstances in which she had been working," he said.
"When she asked for an ambulance to be called, they said 'by all means, but you realise in this country you have to pay for an ambulance'.

"A sad reality in modern day Britain is that it is not sufficiently focused on, which at its most extreme, is a modern form of slave labour."






Friday, August 24, 2007

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 business was stronger than ever.

"But with household debt now higher than annual GDP, workers may be showing more flexibility over pay rises because they need to keep their job and pay the mortgage."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

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 .

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Unpaid overtime

Workers put in £23bn of unpaid overtime last year, losing out an average of £4800 each, according to a study which highlights Britain's long-hours culture.

Scottish employees who do unpaid overtime lose £79.82 a week for the extra six-and-a-half hours they work. This is the equivalent of £4151 a year in lost earnings.According to figures released yesterday by the Scottish TUC, Scots worked £1728m worth of unpaid overtime last year.


A survey by the TUC found employees work an average of seven hours and six minutes extra every week and if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year, the earliest they would be paid would be February 23.


On February 23, employees will be encouraged to take a proper lunch break and go home on time. Employers will be asked to use the day to thank their staff by buying them lunch or taking them out after work.


Is this really going to be the response of the STUC ? To request a free meal from management for us working for our bosses for nothing ?


And of the working class ?? It is one of the cornerstones of Marxist economics that unpaid labour is the source of the Capitalists' profit - the Labour Theory of Value . It is why we in the The Socialist Party call the Capitalists thieves for appropriating this unpaid labour . Now , to actually do even more extra unpaid work beyond our contractual hours of employment , that's an act of the greatest charity by workers - and the Capitalists go laughing all the way to the bank . Indeed we are truly the ragged trousered philanthropists .

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