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The Guardian: More than 800 senior Asda shopfloor staff face pay cut or redundancy


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On 10/12/2017 at 6:02 PM, Eddie_George said:

Are you serious?

Tell me why supermarkets have installed swathes of automated checkouts. Is it because they're better than cashiers? No, it's because they're much cheaper.

I'm not saying wages increases are bad -- they'll work for a short time -- until it feeds through into the cost of living, and you're back where you started, but with a greater chance of being replaced by a robot.

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/608636/increasing-minimum-wage-puts-more-jobs-at-risk-of-automation/

It would have happened anyway.

it’s why you don’t see any £1 an hour blacksmiths.

as for the filtering through to the cost of living, there’s very conflicting evidence for that.

Edited by PopGun
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On 10/12/2017 at 8:53 AM, PopGun said:

Supermarkets are great example of the capitalist end game 

Trying to out compete each on price is great for the consumer, till none are left standing as they’ve cut all the flesh off the bone.

Agreed. But as the consumer is also the worker in the same economy it just demonstrates the self-defeating cycle of both wages and prices being continually cut. Clearly, capitalism has a shelf life as it is hard to see where the prosperity bit comes from hereon. I bet the Asda management will rake in more for the cost cutting though.

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On 12/11/2017 at 6:44 PM, SillyBilly said:

Agreed. But as the consumer is also the worker in the same economy it just demonstrates the self-defeating cycle of both wages and prices being continually cut. Clearly, capitalism has a shelf life as it is hard to see where the prosperity bit comes from hereon. I bet the Asda management will rake in more for the cost cutting though.

According to the Kondratiev Wave theory, prosperity comes from the ashes of capitalisms collapse. 

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Add a share saver scheme can be quite good if timed correctly. 

Problem is that a lot of the staff lower down the pecking order who with either savings or tax credits that could be used to offset the drop in take home, don't understand it or can' be bothered.

It took me a while to convince someone who had savings that the scheme was worth the risk in 2016 when the shares dipped. In total they will set aside 10800 over 3yrs, the cash in value currently stands at around 26000. Of course the shares may fall before 2019, but imo it was a no brainer, compared to savings rates.

C

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"Increasing the minimum wage just encourages automation, and besides, any increase to a worker's wage will enable their landlord to extract more rent from them."

Companies exist to make a profit - it should be obvious to anyone that if staff costs go up that companies will reduce labour costs in any way they can asap

 

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18 hours ago, happyguy said:

"Increasing the minimum wage just encourages automation, and besides, any increase to a worker's wage will enable their landlord to extract more rent from them."

Companies exist to make a profit - it should be obvious to anyone that if staff costs go up that companies will reduce labour costs in any way they can asap

 

It's not 'obvious' at all - you're just parroting the way you've been trained to think, nothing more. Repetition of neoliberal dogma and propaganda.

An alternative view is that if you pay people more, then they have more to spend - and they'll spend it in the shop which employs them, naturally.

Therefore raising wages creates a 'virtuous circle', which benefits everyone including the state which sees increased revenue and therefore more money to spend on the country's democratic infrastructure.

You see - there are other ways of thinking about things...

...it's just that you've been trained to believe there's no alternative to the current 'race to the bottom' system which is put in place to maximise short-term stockholder returns with no view at all to the medium or long term - and certainly no view at all as to what benefits society as a whole (doesn't exist under the dogma). That is the nub of the neoliberal model.

(PS I'll pre-empt anyone who calls me a 'statist' or somesuch - again like they're trained to do - by saying that my approach and views are purely utilitarian).

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If you don't earn the minimum wage (or more) in your first few hours of fruit picking, you are fired. There was never a shortage of fruit pickers before the minimum wage came in.

Giving employers the duty to pay a minimum wage has removed peoples right to accept a lower wage than others might earn. 

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1 hour ago, zilly said:

It's not 'obvious' at all - you're just parroting the way you've been trained to think, nothing more. Repetition of neoliberal dogma and propaganda.

An alternative view is that if you pay people more, then they have more to spend - and they'll spend it in the shop which employs them, naturally.

Therefore raising wages creates a 'virtuous circle', which benefits everyone including the state which sees increased revenue and therefore more money to spend on the country's democratic infrastructure.

You see - there are other ways of thinking about things...

...it's just that you've been trained to believe there's no alternative to the current 'race to the bottom' system which is put in place to maximise short-term stockholder returns with no view at all to the medium or long term - and certainly no view at all as to what benefits society as a whole (doesn't exist under the dogma). That is the nub of the neoliberal model.

(PS I'll pre-empt anyone who calls me a 'statist' or somesuch - again like they're trained to do - by saying that my approach and views are purely utilitarian).

How can automation be regarded as a "race to the bottom"? Automation can increase productivity substantially and productivity is the holy grail. Increased productivity is in general a good thing.

As I see it the problem for automation is that if it becomes ubiquitous (which I think is likely) then it poses a profound challenge to the current system of distribution; who will buy the products of automation if they do not have a wage? It's ironical that automation, the purpose of which is to increase profits, may be the thing that delivers the coup de grace to the capitalist system.

 

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1 hour ago, zilly said:

It's not 'obvious' at all - you're just parroting the way you've been trained to think, nothing more. Repetition of neoliberal dogma and propaganda.

An alternative view is that if you pay people more, then they have more to spend - and they'll spend it in the shop which employs them, naturally.

Therefore raising wages creates a 'virtuous circle', which benefits everyone including the state which sees increased revenue and therefore more money to spend on the country's democratic infrastructure.

You see - there are other ways of thinking about things...

...it's just that you've been trained to believe there's no alternative to the current 'race to the bottom' system which is put in place to maximise short-term stockholder returns with no view at all to the medium or long term - and certainly no view at all as to what benefits society as a whole (doesn't exist under the dogma). That is the nub of the neoliberal model.

(PS I'll pre-empt anyone who calls me a 'statist' or somesuch - again like they're trained to do - by saying that my approach and views are purely utilitarian).

Very good post.  100% agree.

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2 minutes ago, crouch said:

How can automation be regarded as a "race to the bottom"? Automation can increase productivity substantially and productivity is the holy grail. Increased productivity is in general a good thing.

 

 

Very true - part of the problem with us importing cheap labour and Japan not doing so, is that they will be more efficient than us.

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22 hours ago, happyguy said:

This will not affect the housing market.

People on minimum wage from the EU are not house buyers

This is however a portent of things to come as AI takes away 1000's of low paid jobs

Of course numbers affect the housing market......they may not buy but all people have to live somewhere.....six working people living in a room/house earning a sixth of a living income each.....or a family earning nothing.....who pays for them? they do not all live on the streets.

There are plenty that have benefited from those with little or little ability to earn enough to pay their way......the rent and tax collectors.;)

Edited by winkie
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On 14/12/2017 at 2:13 PM, happyguy said:

"Increasing the minimum wage just encourages automation, and besides, any increase to a worker's wage will enable their landlord to extract more rent from them."

Companies exist to make a profit - it should be obvious to anyone that if staff costs go up that companies will reduce labour costs in any way they can asap

 

Again AI/automation is coming for all jobs, not just the low paid. 

Tons of IT jobs are done these days in India, because they’re cheap. However even these guys will sadly be unable to compete against a script/subroutine with costs near to zero.

As an argument against nmw it’s nonsensical.

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6 hours ago, zilly said:

It's not 'obvious' at all - you're just parroting the way you've been trained to think, nothing more. Repetition of neoliberal dogma and propaganda.

An alternative view is that if you pay people more, then they have more to spend - and they'll spend it in the shop which employs them, naturally.

Therefore raising wages creates a 'virtuous circle', which benefits everyone including the state which sees increased revenue and therefore more money to spend on the country's democratic infrastructure.

You see - there are other ways of thinking about things...

...it's just that you've been trained to believe there's no alternative to the current 'race to the bottom' system which is put in place to maximise short-term stockholder returns with no view at all to the medium or long term - and certainly no view at all as to what benefits society as a whole (doesn't exist under the dogma). That is the nub of the neoliberal model.

(PS I'll pre-empt anyone who calls me a 'statist' or somesuch - again like they're trained to do - by saying that my approach and views are purely utilitarian).

Very good Mr Zilly.  But registered in 2008 and only 434 posts.  Come'on guv, don't be shy now.  Reckon you're packing a bit more there.

Germany doing just fine with the same sort of minimum minimum wage (as indeed "a higher minimum wage is often set by collective bargaining agreements and enforceable by law" - Wikipedea).  Furthermore, the scourge of tax credits arose probably because Gordon blinked first and also wanted to paper over decades of economic mismanagement for gain.  We borrow annually about the same as the tax credits bill so borrowing is making up for the lack of the "virtuous circle" you so nicely and necessarily describe.  And indeed, I've seen enough companies engaged in excessive cost cutting heading to the slaughterhouse to know that's a fool's errand.

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6 hours ago, zilly said:

It's not 'obvious' at all - you're just parroting the way you've been trained to think, nothing more. Repetition of neoliberal dogma and propaganda.

An alternative view is that if you pay people more, then they have more to spend - and they'll spend it in the shop which employs them, naturally.

Therefore raising wages creates a 'virtuous circle', which benefits everyone including the state which sees increased revenue and therefore more money to spend on the country's democratic infrastructure.

You see - there are other ways of thinking about things...

...it's just that you've been trained to believe there's no alternative to the current 'race to the bottom' system which is put in place to maximise short-term stockholder returns with no view at all to the medium or long term - and certainly no view at all as to what benefits society as a whole (doesn't exist under the dogma). That is the nub of the neoliberal model.

(PS I'll pre-empt anyone who calls me a 'statist' or somesuch - again like they're trained to do - by saying that my approach and views are purely utilitarian).

Great to see an alternative view, however I fear we will never see this tested.

The UK suffers more than any other country with spreadsheet accountancy, it's been going on for 60 odd years.

It's time for a new way.

 

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8 hours ago, Social Justice League said:

Why don't we use automation to do all tasks that companies require to "make a profit" and pay every living person a citizens income?

I think this will have to come sooner or later SJL - there are various versions of it though. The one that is the most pernicious is that of the Silicon Valley autistic kids - they seem to want it so they can turn the receivers into consuming serfs of their machines and lifestyles.

We have to admit that since work for wages pact is badly broken, it will be necessary.

The world needs one hell of a new vision and as sure as horses are horses, it ain't gonna come from the current system. Unfortunately.

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On 15/12/2017 at 4:01 PM, Fence said:

Very good Mr Zilly.  But registered in 2008 and only 434 posts.  Come'on guv, don't be shy now.  Reckon you're packing a bit more there.

Germany doing just fine with the same sort of minimum minimum wage (as indeed "a higher minimum wage is often set by collective bargaining agreements and enforceable by law" - Wikipedea).  Furthermore, the scourge of tax credits arose probably because Gordon blinked first and also wanted to paper over decades of economic mismanagement for gain.  We borrow annually about the same as the tax credits bill so borrowing is making up for the lack of the "virtuous circle" you so nicely and necessarily describe.  And indeed, I've seen enough companies engaged in excessive cost cutting heading to the slaughterhouse to know that's a fool's errand.

Blair loved surfing the international wave, painting how UK was such a propsperous nation. Problem was reality suggested this wasn’t the case, and so tax credits were born to paper over the poverty/$hit subsidised wages zombie economy cracks. 

In a proper functional economy, tax credits shouldn’t ever be required. As Germany suggests however, min wage does have a place and isn’t an obstacle to growth.

Edited by PopGun
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