Back then, Camden’s dinner ladies were on just above minimum pay. They ranked among the 4.9 million employees in this country who the Resolution Foundation describes as earning less than a living wage – a group that has swollen vastly in size since the banking crash.

In 2008 the London Living Wage was £7.45 an hour. Today it is £9.15 an hour.

A 23 % rise in that living wage while wages in general haven’t moved is going to lead to the number paid under it rising.

Just fancy that, eh?

Chakrabortty’s knowledge of numbers is so deep and nuanced, isn’t it?

However highfalutin the excuses made by a society for paying a few people millions and many, many more below subsistence,

The living wage is not defined by subsistence. That’s a perversion of the language in fact.

And the thing that he buries:

With the general election imminent, the council and Caterlink agreed to the demands.

The council agreed to pay more to the catering company to raise the wages. This isn’t a fight against naked capitalism, this is the ratepayers of Camden coughing up for those who serve their children their lunch.

9 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. “Ask Annie-Rose Barnes, central to the dinner ladies’ fight in Camden. Her mother is chronically ill, while her husband’s shoulder injury stops him plying his trade as a carpenter. With her poverty-pay job the family’s main source of income…”

    Stops him doing any other job as well?

  2. And her husband is doubtless on sickness benefit…, she’ll be getting housing benefit, tax credits etc etc

    They’ll be scraping by on 30 grand a year with one person working part time, and their helath care provided free at the point of delivery.

  3. “Barnes has just moved from her old school job, but plans on getting involved in organising her new workplace. “I’ve already got my eye on a couple of new campaigns,” she says, and cracks up laughing.”

    *sighs*

  4. They are not excuses, they are explanations. If you refuse to examine the explanations, the chances of you being able to do anything about what you may consider an unjust outcome are pretty close to nil.

  5. From the article:

    Barnes remembers that at the outset some hadn’t even heard of trade unions.

    I wonder what sector of our multi-cultural utopia those ladies were from then?

    Yet at the same time its parent company, Westbury Street Holdings, was buying champagne bars for a reported £25m-£30m

    Ah, capex versus revex. Or investments versus costs. Easily conflated if you are a Guardian columnist. Because it is all just money, isn’t it?

    And Julia has already spotted the scary bit.

  6. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “[…]the Resolution Foundation describes as earning less than a living wage[…]”

    Did any of them fucking die? Of actual beriberi or exposure? No? Then they were on a living wage for fuck’s sake.

  7. Stop using “earn” when you mean “pay”, illiterate morons! If you want to be paid more than you earn you need to provide something of more value to the payer (work more, do more valuable work), or justify why you should be paid more than you’ve earned, ie paid more than the work is worth.

    “I’ve plumbed in one cooker, but I want you to pay me as though I’ve plumbed in two. Why? Because.”

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