Posted by noel on 5 Jan 2009
Labels: work and wellbeing
I've commented on the reasons why we should be campaigning for a "living wage" from the student halls of Kings College to the streets of Johannesburg, via the skyscrapers of the City and even across Europe. Friends have been advocating this too and even Obama's new labour secretary, Hilda Solis.
Just reading Mil's post and David Semple's post over at Liberal Conspiracy about regional minimum wages, after San Francisco's decision to increase its minimum wage, it reminded me that we need to push the councils where we live to define what the minimum hourly wage needed to live about the poverty line is - this may be different from city to city (compare London & Liverpool) and region to region (compare the South East and the North East). We also need to get the organisations that employ us to join the growing coalition of "living wage employers".
Obviously, we don’t all have “living wage units” like at the GLA in London, but the “minimum income standard” project run by the JRF provides a well researched measure of how much a worker needs to earn to avoid the effects of poverty, such as ill health, poor levels of child development and social exclusion and not just related to the consumer price index. Calculations can even be made for different family types. Have a look at http://www.minimumincomestandard.org/cost_calculator/reckoner/index.htm and campaign in your workplace with our toolkit here!
What about the merits of a basic income? Don Paskini blogs that Namibia has introduced this whereby every citizen gets 100 dollars per month without being means-tested. This is paid for through more progressive taxation on those in poverty and higher taxes for those well off. I'm keen to find out more about this and will blog about basic income soon.
Photo by United Workers used under Creative Commons licence.
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