Sunday, 19 June 2011

Working for Less than Minimum Wage

This week a Tory MP, Philip Davies, suggested that people with disabilities should be able to accept a wage that is beneath the national minimum.  He believes that,
"The people who are most disadvantaged by the national minimum wage are the most vulnerable in society.

"My concern about it is it prevents those people from being given the opportunity to get the first rung on the employment ladder."
What he doesn't seem to have grasped is that the minimum wage was set up to protect the most vulnerable in society.  It is arguments like his that play straight into the hands of the prejudiced.  By this statement he is implying that people with sickness or disability are worth less than the healthy.  Instead of addressing ways in which employers could be supported in helping the sick and disabled get into work, he is suggesting that we should accept less money in order to get a job.  Now, to me, that seems a bit backwards.  If someone is vulnerable, particularly mentally, why should employers be given an opportunity to manipulate their potential employees into accepting less than a fair wage to do the same job as a healthy individual.  Does that seem fair to you?

In The House of Commons he stated;
"When I went to visit Mind and I spoke to people there that were using the service offered by that charity they were absolutely upfront with me and they said that when they went for a job and they came across a situation where there were other people who had applied for that job, they've got mental health problems, other people haven't, they said to me 'Who would you take on?'.
I wouldn't be surprised if Mind are now spitting with rage, about the way in which Mr Davies has twisted what they told him.  While it is a fact that given a choice between two equally qualified candidates, one of whom was healthy, the other who was not, most employers would choose the healthy, but it shouldn't be up to the unhealthy to offer to take less money.

If this was made legislation, can you imagine the how unethical employers could take advantage of the sick and vulnerable?  If you consider that shortly, if the current government aren't to be stopped, there will be many hundreds of thousands of these type of people living in poverty with no other way out, other than trying to earn money by working a few hours a week, to the detriment of their health and sanity.

Mr Davies, I don't think you have really considered the consequences of your proposals.  Did you actually discuss them with Mind before you announced them?


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