Min. Wage.

“The minimum wage is not about taking care of workers, the minimum wage has always been about actually driving jobs out of the economy. And there’s ample evidence of that, there’s no question about that… My goal under a BC Liberal government is to have the lowest level of unemployment in the country, not the highest minimum wage. We’ve been asked, we, I’ve been clear about that consistently. Minimum wage is being pushed as a political issue. I think it’s actually a cruel hoax on workers.”

— Gordon Campbell (Voice of the Province, September 27, 2000)

(from BC Federation of Labour).

This is now being kicked into effect apparently, as the gov’t plans to lower minimum wage for trainees – essentially, it means that a (youth) worker must work X number of hours before being paid minimum wage. How many hours? no one knows. Is it guaranteed? ie. If a ‘trainee’ finishes the trainined, is she guaranteed to get the job at minimum wage (which is a paltry $8.00/hour anyway)? What controls will be in place to stop a place of business from hiring say, 20 ‘trainees’, and replacing them with 20 new trainees once their trainee status ends?

On the plus side, this could make it more attractive for employers to give someone ‘their first chance’. It can be really hard, especially in times of high unemployment for workers to get their first job. Competing with someone with experience, the unexperienced will lose almost every time. This could change that, as someone experienced becomes more expensive to hire. But is this a good thing? I’m not so sure. Minimum wage is set to be a starting wage at any rate – a training wage if you will. Conservative economists argue that minimum wage sets the wage – ie. and employer is less likely to raise a wage if they must pay X amount, regardless of demand (and don’t get me started on the supply/demand thing in economics). I however, completely disagree. Admittedly, I’ve only ever worked one job where I started at minimum wage, but built in was a scaling factor based on previous experience, and job performance while there. I know that McDonalds has performance incentives for raises beyond minimum. By having a trainee wage, that a whole level of increase eliminated. Instead of an increase beyond minimum wage, it’ll be an increase to minimum wage, further delaying a possible icrease beyond that wage.

Er..this is reading less clear than it did in my head. But maybe I’ll continue on later. For now, it’s lunch time, and I’m going to Le Beau!

My thanks to Brishen for pointing this article out to me.