Sunday, 29 May 2016

"living wage" - employers trying it on...

Other than in the Guardian, there is little reporting of the fact that many employers are cutting terms & conditions so that the introduction of the "living wage" doesn't cost them.

The other part of this (largely untold) story is that some employers have backed down after staff resistance.

There are two examples I can give from my East Staffs patch.  Perhaps surprisingly, both are non-union workplaces, albeit that they contain a few Unite members.

Example 1 :  Large GP surgery.

A doctors receptionist contacted me to explain that her rise of 35p per hour has resulted in a consultation that sick pay be reduced and also a reduction in holiday by two days per year.

I helped the member write a letter in response to the consultation.  One of the arguments we used was to worry for the surgery about "potential reputational risk" if the matter became public.  I don't know what impact my little letter had, but the proposal was withdrawn.

Example 2 : Care Home employing 40 care assistants.

Again, the employer wanted to scrap sick pay.  In this case, we argued that this would endanger care. No sick pay could result in care assistants coming to work with bugs / infections that could be passed onto residents.  In this instance,  the employer changed it's proposal so that it became a choice rather than a forced change.  An incentive was provided that improved the proposed new contract.

NOTE:  It is worth pointing out why there are so few examples of these issues happening in unionised workplaces.  The main reason is because collective bargaining generally deliver wages in excess of the legal minimum.

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