Monday, October 26, 2009

Time to Name and Shame Says Devine

Regular readers had better sit down before reading further.

Are you sitting comfortably?

I'm going to agree with Jim Devine. Not on everything you understand, but he has said today that employers who do not pay their staff the national minimum wage should be named and shamed. He goes on to tell of one 18-year-old constituent who has worked six 12-hour shifts per week as trainee hairdresser for £20 a week. At the £4.77 rate for an 18-21 year old this should have been £343.44 (if the hours stated were all payable), even if the employee had only done the 37 hour week, that most full time employees expect as the maximum, it would still have been £176.49.

So do you know of an employer in the West Lothian or Falkirk area who is failing to pay minimum wage (i.e. £3.53 per hour for 16-18-year-old, £4.77 for 18-21 and £5.73 to anyone older than that)? Please email me. I will investigate and publish any offenders on this blog.


subrosa said...

I have to say something about this.

There is a minimum wage I agree, but take the case you quote.

An 18 year old is a trainee hairdresser and we have no idea how far into her training she is. It could be a week or 100 weeks we don't know. I don't know a hairdresser which opens 6 days a week or is open for 12 hours a day. It must be one of those salons which charge around £100 for going through the door. There are some you know but thankfully few in Scotland.

But, if a 20 or 21 year old had just qualified as a hairdresser, the business could just give her the same basic pay of £4.77 an hour you say the 18 year old trainee should receive.

That's unjust to say the least isn't it. Don't say that doesn't happen, I'm sure there are many employers who never consider offering more money to a 20 or 21 year old, who has proved themselves.

I can't believe any young person would work 72 hours a week for £20 and I meet a lot of young people during my wanderings.

It's time we brought back apprenticeship wages, which increase in increments according to qualifications gained and time worked.

Certainly it's poor if employers are exploiting the young and I'd have something to say about that, but a couple of youngsters I spoke to a few months ago explained where a problem does lie.

They told me they were paid far below the minimum wage as trainees. When we did the sums, it was evident they expected to be paid for attending college 2 and a half days a week. One also attended a residential course at a college in the north of England twice a year (there was nowhere in Scotland which provided the speciality) and his course, travelling and accommodation were paid by the taxpayer. His employer still paid him his 2 and a half days a week wages into the bargain.

With both trainees their employers paid them for their full-time attendance when their college courses were suspended for holidays etc.

There's a lot more to this than just paying young people the minimum wage.

Sadly there are many more adults, particularly women, who have worked for years for the minimum wage. They do the job (usually mundane) because of family commitments and at times because of a poor education. Even if many can do their work standing on their heads, nobody fights for them to have more pay.

Stephen Glenn said...

The minimum wage is just that the minimum. I expect those who are dedicated workers to be rewarded by earning more.

Of course in the example quoted £20 equates to 4 hours 12 minutes at an 18 year olds minimum wage. I'm guess from the hours put in not all of them were in college and that the £20 was seriously below the level that is legally expected for an hour of work.

I do appreciated that there are many people out there who struggle by on minimum wage for extended periods of time. It is one thing that Labour have to be applauded for as without it their standard of living would have been even worse as employers could have got away with even less. The fact that some apparently still do is the issue that currently needs addressing.

subrosa said...

It would be interesting to see how many people are paid only the basic rate and the age breakdowns plus length of time in a job.

You may be very surprised Stephen. As I said yesterday there are many, mainly women of over 40, who have been doing the same job for years for the minimum wage.

Employers will certainly NOT increase their wages because if they do that they it will mean every employer in that field would have to take that action.

I'm not too worried about the young starting out and what they're paid - I remember girls not even being paid for working in posh hair salons on Saturdays, but that's back in the days when youngsters didn't feel they were entitled to a job but knew they had to make great efforts to get one and keep it.

Stephen Glenn said...

Yeah I'm fully aware that many of the minimum income jobs are occupied by women in their 40s and above. I also find it disgusting that employers don't value those who put in good work by rewarding them with more than merely what they have to pay them.

There is a whole raft of wrongs that while helped by minimum wage legislation have yet to be fully corrected.

Carolyn said...

Again this is just Jimbo trying to grab a 'good' headline. What hairdresser in Livingston is open six days a week, 12 hours a day. It's just the same old same old. Don't get me wrong, I totally agree that at the very least the minimum wage should be paid, but we don't need any lecturing on how employers treat their employees from someone who apparently has two employment tribunals against him and has gone through over 15 staff since being elected. Give up Jimbo, no amount of blustering will curry favour with the voters of Livingston now.


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