Minimum wage vs. living wage

Recently Ed Miliband has been trying to coax businesses in the UK to pay the living wage rather than the minimum wage to their workers, and in return he promises to give them tax breaks.  Here’s a fucking bright idea, why don’t they just increase the minimum wage to the living wage, so people in the UK are not living on the bread line, not having to go to food banks, and not worrying how to pay the fucking bills every month.

For anyone that doesn’t know: the minimum wage in the UK is the lowest wage which we as a society deem it acceptable to pay people for work; the living wage is the amount considered to be the lowest which people can actually survive on.  So as it stands, this just makes a complete fucking joke of the minimum wage.  How, in 21st century Britain, can we justify paying people a wage which is known to be too bloody low to live off?

I suppose we should be thankful that such a thing as minimum wage exists, or else the situation would be far worse.  However, it is a fucking disgrace that we are one of the richest countries in the world and yet so many people struggle financially every fucking day.  We should be fucking ashamed of ourselves.  

Of course, it’s not as simple as raising the minimum wage to the living wage.  The effect this would probably have would be to increase unemployment at a time when the economy is supposedly getting better.  And of course the Conservatives aren’t happy about the proposal either, accusing Labour of ‘electorial bribery’ and saying that they had got us into debt with the banks borrowing too much money, and now they are trying to do the same.  This is the same Conservative party which complains about giving out benefits.  Yes, increasing the minimum wage would have a large effect on companies, but at least the government wouldn’t have to pay out benefits for people on low incomes if they were actually paid enough to live on.

Unfortunately the situation is similar here in Poland.  It fucking makes my blood boil when tourists come over here and go on about how cheap things are without actually considering why they are so cheap.  It’s because the wages are so fucking low, you fucking cretins.  I am in a very lucky position where I have a job which pays a hell of a lot compared to the national average.  Even state school teachers here get a very shitty deal when it comes to pay.  The last time I checked, a state school teacher who has just started their career earns about 1600 zloty per month, before tax.  In Kraków that barely pays for a flat, never mind anything else.  No wonder people settle down with partners pretty young over here: they need both the fucking salaries just to live.  And that’s a fucking professional worker; I can’t imagine what a shop assistant gets.  And all the while things are getting more and more expensive here, and will continue to do so as tourists will continue to come over and pay what we see as extortionate prices as they see them as cheap.

It really saddens me that both the UK and Poland are incapable of looking after their citizens, making sure they earn decent enough salaries to put a roof over their head, feed themselves and have enough left over to enjoy themselves every now and again.  I’m not sure what the long term answer is, but what I say is: politicians, so-called leaders of our nations, fucking sort it out.  


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