Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Labour market”

On the Precipice; No one likes us, it’s OK

What will happen on Thursday 23 June 2016 – the day of the EU In/Out Referendum promised to the Euro-septics? More importantly what happens afterwards?

We are told it’s going to be OK. The remain team’s warnings are overblown and can be dismissed (“dismiss” is the Leave team’s reflex reaction to anything Remain says) and we will have freedom! (Think Braveheart – staring Nigel Farage and Buffo Johnson) Read more…

Subsidising Scrooge Employers

Supermarket workers paid the national minimum wage are forced to claim state benefits totalling £11bn a year, according to a charity.

Citizens UK said the employers of five million workers in the UK were being “subsidised” by the taxpayer.
BBC News Website 12 April 2015 : Supermarket workers have to claim £11bn benefits, charity says

Supermarkets may be a prime offender – but the issue is wider and needs reform. Read more…

Union Barons and Government by Consent

I have mixed feelings about our “Union Barons”:

The head of the Unite union has said he will not “respect” any law passed by a future Conservative government tightening the rules on strike ballots.
BBC News Website 20 March 2015 : Unite boss McCluskey warns over strike ballot changes

But then I have less mixed feelings about our Prime Minister’s more blatant agenda:

David Cameron has said strikes should not be lawful unless a minimum number of union members vote in a ballot.

Plans for a “turnout threshold” will be in the party’s election manifesto.

But Unite boss Len McCluskey said this would “oppress the people and remove their freedoms”. He added: “Can we respect it? It ain’t going to happen.”
ibid

There is a problem, but I do not agree with the Prime Minister’s prescription. I don’t like McCluskey’s response – but I can’t see an alternative. Read more…

Equal Pay

The Editor of Elle has just said (ITV, The Agenda 22:40 3 November 2014) that for every pound that a man earns a woman earns 81p.

Does this mean that there is naked discrimination amounting to almost 20% in terms of unequal pay for equal work? That would be truly shocking in the UK in the 21st century. It probably doesn’t.

Does it mean that women are being denied (or not seeking/wanting) opportunities (for equal work) that on average reduces their earning capacity by nearly 20%? At first sight that would still be shocking discrimination probably based on possibly manipulated aspirations, stereotyping and unconscious discrimination in recruitment and promotion.

But what is a “reasonable” gap? (light blue touch-paper!) Read more…

Migration and the Greater South East

An infographic about migration into the Greater South East republished on Julian’s Musings Blog claims:

Polls show that on average people think there are far more immigrants than there really are. – 31%

Meaning?
– 31% of people polled thought there were far more immigrants, or
– on average people thought there were 31% more immigrants than there really were?
Presumably the latter, but that probably says something about people’s willingness to assume that someone who speaks with a foreign accent or who is not white is an immigrant.

These sort of facts provoke so many other questions. Read more…

Pay and market forces

Our “blue in tooth and claw” market-forces system leads to pay situations that (to most of us) just seem wrong. One example might be

… the Chief Executive of Southend University Hospital has picked up an extra £20K in a year that has seen her A&E department branded amongst the worst in the UK. …

Her staff’s potential evidently is not reflected in decent pay rises – whilst Ms Totterdell struggles to get by on £175K, her staff have been offered a below inflation 1% rise.
Julian’s Musings 30 July 2014 : Rewards for failure – what the increasingly privatised NHS brings

Unfortunately Pay is determined not by quality and results but by rarity.

Read more…

Globalisation and Prawns

A Guardian investigation has found:

Slaves forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence are being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold by major US, British and other European retailers, the Guardian can reveal.

A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco.

The investigation found that the world’s largest prawn farmer, the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves.
The Guardian 10 June 2014 : Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK

Quite revolting, but,

Read more…

A Rebalanced Economy?

This Government came to power talking about “rebalancing the economy”. I thought this meant a move from volatile financial services back (yes back – it’s not always bad) to more tangible wealth creating sectors such as manufacturing (particular of goods for export – which bring money into the country). The government is beginning to claim a measure of success, so how are they doing? Read more…

The Paper that Hates Britain

Interesting article by Ian Aitkin in today’s Guardian (I know leftie paper etc.), but its conclusion is of wider interest: Read more…

Con: For Hardworking People

The Conservative Conference slogan is “for Hardworking People”. Interesting. Read more…

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