Is it time for a Living Wage?

At the January 2017 sitting of Tynwald, I’ll be moving the following motion:


That Tynwald is of the opinion that the Isle of Man should establish a living wage and the Cabinet Office should report to Tynwald by October 2017 with proposals to introduce a voluntary living wage


My reasons for doing this are threefold:

1.We need to be making sure that being in work is worthwhile.

If someone is working a full time job they should be earning enough to live off, without the need to claim for additional government support. Government needs to be supporting those employers that are already paying good wages by making sure there is a scheme that they can sign up to which demonstrates their commitment, whilst at the same time encouraging those employers who are paying only the Minimum Wage to step up.

2. The Chief Minister’s commitment just isn’t good enough.

On the 13th December 2016 in Tynwald I asked the Chief Minister


What plans he has to introduce a living wage?


The response was less than convincing:


The Chief Minister (Mr Quayle): Thank you, Mr President. In our forthcoming Programme for Government, the Council of Ministers will submit to considering the introduction of a living wage.


In a 5 year Programme for Government he is only committing to “considering” the introduction of a Living Wage?

The Scottish Government in its Programme (specifically its Labour Market Strategy) has already committed to a target of 1,000 accredited Living Wage employers by autumn 2017 and already pays all its employees, and all those covered by its pay policy, at least the real Living Wage (as set by the Living Wage Foundation).

Should we expect anything less from our own Government?

3. Lastly, there seems to be some confusion in our Chief Minister’s mind about the Living Wage.

In his response to the same question our Chief Minister stated:


I note that the Minimum Wage Committee recently called for submissions in order to consider and make recommendations as to the rates of the minimum wage.


(By the by, the Minimum Wage Committee doesn’t have the remit to look into the Living Wage, as it’s focused solely on the Minimum Wage.)

That fact aside, the Minimum wage is exactly that, a Minimum. It is a legal minimum, a floor on wages that employers cannot pay beneath.

It isn’t linked to the cost of living and it isn’t intended to make sure people are earning enough from work to meet their basic needs.

That’s where the Living Wage comes in.

I appreciate there are considerations for businesses but a voluntary scheme will allow business to move into a living wage at their own pace (for those that aren’t already paying it). As a minimum this would bring us in line with our neighbours across the water – where many of our on-Island employers are already signed up to the UK Living Wage.

Here’s to hoping I get support from my fellow Tynwald Members to direct the Government to bring in a voluntary living wage on the Isle of Man.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Is it time for a Living Wage? Fully support your motion about an IOM voluntary living wage. The Living Wage Foundation claims two major benefits: a) improvements in staff performance b) reduction in staff turnover. Like many proposal which go before Tynwald focus centres on cost only It is high time politicians also considered benefits.

  2. Congratulations in successfully getting you motion passed in January Tynwald. So often in the past such a suggestion would have been voted out. It will be interesting to see who voted in favour of the rejected Thomas amendment – have you got those details yet?

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