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Minimum wage

I see they are trumpeting the minimum wage on the Gruniad.

Most successful economic policy for a generation, they yell.

But for whom? I left school in 1990. Did work for a few months before entering military college. I was paid £5 an hour for the most menial tasks. Today’s minimum wage will be £11.44 from next month. I check the BoE inflation calculator and that fiver is worth £11.88 today.

For my sins, I’ve been trapped in minimum wage land for most of my life. It is not to protect me or my ilk. Another issue which I don’t have the smarts to solve is how supervision get such little difference wages wise compared to responsibility. My one son is a key holder, cash handler and banker and has a decent amount of paperwork and for this he gets less than £20 a week extra before stoppages. He wants to get ahead, and likely will too. I’d have told them to go forth and multiply and I’ll stick to being a minion with zero responsibility, but that’s me.

How long before minimum wage starts to interfere with skilled work? Will skilled work be the only way to escape minimum wage in 20 years time? Will skilled work diminish because people simply cannot afford them like they used to? (I got mates rates last year and still paid £400 to sort the guttering at the back of the house last year).

TL:DR I’m not a fan of minimum wage

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During my years of banging my head against HR’s brick wall the issue of supervisory responsibilities was a perpetual bone of contention.

Keeping it simple: in a Housekeeping department the norm might be a Grade 2 wage (slightly better than minimum wage). A supervisor with eight “team members” would be Grade 3. The manager who yells at the supervisors would be Grade 4, and so on.

In an admin dept the basic minions start at G3. Note that they do not supervise anyone. Even a small clerical team could have two G3s, a G4 who bosses them about and a G5 who reports all the good news to the big boss at G6 (approx £27500 p.a.).

The people that the employer is really quite keen not to lose start at G7 - the whole edifice is based on scarcity of skills. Once the wage structure is worked out the job descriptions are crafted to match and it’s often a small difference in wording that distinguishes one from another. Many times, the Head of HR explained to me how “responsible” and “accountable” were two totally different things and thus were rewarded at different rates. (They like to call it “reward” these days presumably to distinguish the paid employees from the interns doing it purely for love, CV brownie points, and a free lunch…)

Minimum wage legislation gives those unfortunate employers who don’t even have HR professionals to train them in pronoun usage a method for creating the wage structure and adding a bit here and there for the higher stratae. Predictable costs and the hidden option of dismissing the experienced staff and starting again if they dare point out how they work at twice the speed of the newbs…

As I’m sure you realise @LocalYokel that £20 pw is essentially 50p more an hour…not even one ciggie’s worth for your 15-minute tea break…