From fish factories in Grimsby to coffee shops in central London and even Waitrose supermarkets, workers across the country are seeing perks and pay rates cut as companies try to offset the cost of George Osborne’s national living wage.
On Monday, just over two weeks after the new minimum pay rate of £7.20 an hour for over-25s came into force, MPs will debate the effect the 50p rise in basic pay has had on thousands of workers.
In the past few weeks the Observer has learned of companies withdrawing overtime and Sunday pay, bonuses, free food and paid breaks in order to keep the wage bill down.
That this is happening is a useful indication that wages were as high as they should be. Sorry, that compensation was as high as it should be. That trying to increase one part of the package leads to another part being decreased is indeed a useful sign (no, not proof) that the overall package was in some kind of equilibrium between the demand for (and thus productivity of) labour and its supply.