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Is it anti business to be anti high pay?

Left Foot Forward blog says not. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they….except it’s not just them. Leaders of big business themselves are saying that high pay and large ratios between lowest and highest wages in a company are not acceptable and even that they don’t make good business sense.

Even the former boss of Greggs the bakery says so.

The Hutton Review found evidence that reducing the pay ratio (and increasing pay for low paid workers) improves productivity. Many Labour councils are exploring how to implement this policy – Islington, following their fairness commission, are already doingit, along with other actions to improve fairness in the borough, for income, housing and many other aspects of people’s lives.

But also this week, Tory MPs, including the not-missed Dr Liam

Fox (remember him resigning from the Ministry of Defence earlier this year because of his friend’s jollies?) were arguing that it is good for the economy to cut protection for workers, including suspending the minimum wage. As Michael Whitesays in his Guardian blog, you wouldn’t want to be one of his patients.

But wait, what else has been going on this week? Yes, Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Superdrug, Waterstone’s, Sainsbury’s and others (other retail outlets are available) have all pulled out of the Tory scheme to, er, pay people NOTHING for compulsory work. The controversial scheme to compel unemployed people to do “work experience” under threat of losing their benefits is no longer favoured even by the companies who were getting the free labour. They’ve recognised that paying people nothing isn’t good business. Direct action outside a branch of Tesco on Westminster Bridge Road (it’s the nearest one to the House of Commons) and the publicity this gained just might have helped them realise this. They’ve acknowledged that these placements don’t lead to actual jobs. The government hasn’t recognised yet that getting people into work needs actual jobs to get them into. To get jobs, we need growth and investment in our infrastructure, not unpaid work leading to nothing. But Chris Grayling is fiercely defending the scheme and attacking its critics, even as big business runs away from it at 100mph.

Isn’t it strange how Tories expect us to believe that to business leaders need to be rewarded by paying them more but workers have to be rewarded by being paid less? It’s one law for the rich and another law for the rest of us. Or rather, once the Legal Aid changes have gone through, it’s it’s law if you can afford a solicitor…..tough luck on everyone else.

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