The Government recently published a list of employers who have been found to have not being paying the minimum wage. There were 191 employers on that list, which was round 17 of National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme, there were similar numbers in previous rounds. There are quite a few household names on those lists; when they are interviewed they blame it on technical breaches. Most are caused by deductions that should not have allowed pay to fall below the minimum. That is simply not a valid excuse for two reasons.
- These are large companies with HR and payroll departments which should know the rules and there is no excuse for not knowing them. With each round the government publishes an educational bulletin.
- If you pay bang on the minimum, then little technicalities will catch you out; the solution is to pay above the minimum wage. I checked the profits of a couple of companies at the top of the list (easy to do via the Companies House website) one company had profits of £26 million the other £29 million, and that was after some eye-watering directors’ salaries, so they could afford that extra for a safety margin.
The management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “The most important part of communication is hearing what isn’t said”, or to put it another way spoken words make up only a small part of communication. The majority of communication is nonverbal. In fact, some research has shown that up to 93% of communication is nonverbal. And that is what is happening with the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme and the companies on the list. It is not just about their pay rates it speaks volumes about those companies and about our society.
When I see a company on one of those lists, I cross it off my Christmas card list, metaphorically because I don’t send Christmas cards. I also cross it off my shopping list, I will not buy from those companies or use their services; their values are not in line with mine. By their deeds I shall know them; if they are prepared to squeeze as much profit out of their employees as possible by paying them as little as possible and then not even bothering to know the details about those employees’ rights, just think how they are going to treat me as a customer, squeezing as much profit out of me as possible without much regard for me. And just think what they are going to do to the environment; trash it. As a society we allow them to get away with it.
This behaviour is not confined to the UK. This paragraph in a recent article about Coronavirus in Australia caught my attention:
These poorer and ethnically diverse suburbs in Sydney’s west and south west are home to about two million residents. Many are considered essential workers in food, health and other industries.
Poor essential workers – we would rather pay people well for things we do not need than things that are essential. Is that a rational economy?
Being on that list is a big red flag and an indication of profit before people, profit before planet, profit at all costs, as long as they are not incurred by the company.
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