I doubt it somehow

But many workers often do more than 35 hours a week without a living wage and without rights, living in a continually precarious state.

Pretty sure that UK bosses, like US ones, are vigilant at making sure they don’t have to pay overtime rates……

67 thoughts on “I doubt it somehow”

  1. “How can a 20-year-old pay rent on £6.84 an hour?”

    OK, mathmo time. 35 hrs a week on £6.84 = 239.40 per week. After NI etc, according to listentotaxman, that leaves take-home of 225.90. Per month, 979. I guess we could assume 48 instead of 52 weeks worked, which would put us at about 900 per month, or about 210 per week on average.

    A 20 year old does not need to rent a house. A bedsit in Birmingham seems to go for about 75-85 per week, or about 335 per month. Including bills normally it seems. Leaving disposable of about 130 per week. So that’s rental costs including bills of about 36% of gross salary.

    So the answer is “easily”.

  2. abacab “A 20 year old does not need to rent a house. A bedsit in Birmingham seems to go for about 75-85 per week, or about 335 per month.”
    Why do you cite Birmingham rents rather than, say, London?

    JuliaM “How can a 20-year-old pay rent on £6.84 an hour? By aspiring to work somewhere other than McDonalds”

    How do your aspirations help you to pay this week’s rent?

  3. @Spiro – since contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of people in the UK don’t live in London. I chose “large city not being London”. And last time I looked the UK does not have a system of internal passports, so one is permitted to move one’s domicile if one so desires.

    And we’re not including housing benefit, tax credits or anything else in this calculation.

  4. And why does everything have to revolve around London. It’s always London whataboutery. London’s a special case, and some people seem prepared to suffer voluntarily to live there. Revealed preferences and all that. I cannot understand it myself since I find it to be a pestilent shitpit and living there would be my worst nightmare.

    I’d sooner live in Paris (heaven forfend).

  5. What’s this about 35 hours and overtime rates? We’re not in France; there’s no 35 hour working week here. Other than what’s specified in your employment contract, there’s no general right to time-and-a-half. Those working practices died in the Thatcher era (except in some unions, e.g. railways).

  6. “Spiro Ozer

    How do your aspirations help you to pay this week’s rent?”

    Dunno.

    When I started work the order of things was

    “what do I earn. Where can I afford to live”.

    So I rented a room in a shared house.

    As my aspiration was to live somewhere nicer, I started trying to earn more.

    Is the order of things now

    “My rent is X, I demand to earn X+”?

  7. Entitled loser yoof want more money for burger-flipping. Suzanne Moore sees the strike as heroically radical. Neither grasps that increasing the pay for first job/entry-level work will only lead to more automation and/or fewer such jobs. Either way, Suzanne Moore can bleat about the evils of capitalism….

  8. > “How can a 20 year-old pay rent on £6.84 an hour?”

    I don’t know, why not ask them? Possible answers include:
    1) They live with their parents;
    2) They live with a partner, sharing the rent;
    3) They live in a tiny shared house with two dozen of their compatriots, all sleeping in bunk beds.

    Since when is a burger restaurant expected to address the shortage of afforable housing?

    Coming next week: Ngoba, 17, from Niger, can’t afford the commute from his home in Birmingham to his minimum wage job in London. Why won’t McDonalds fix the trains and the immigration system?

  9. I was reminded of the film about thye strike by women seamstresses sewing car seats at Ford’s Dagenham plant on the basis of ‘equal pay’.

    How many women are employed at Dagenham today doing that job?

  10. Tangentially related: the New York Times compares a janitor’s lot then (early 1980s) and now:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/03/upshot/to-understand-rising-inequality-consider-the-janitors-at-two-top-companies-then-and-now.html

    [As a janitor in the early 1980s,] Gail Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film. […] Less than a decade later, Ms. Evans was chief technology officer of the whole company.

    [In 2017,] Marta Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

    There’s so much wrong with the article that I don’t even know where to begin.

  11. @abacab
    “London’s a special case, and some people seem prepared to suffer voluntarily to live there.”
    London would be affordable if it were not for the amount of homes occupied by people who don’t work nor study there but the wonderful Government pays to live there.

  12. Worth repeating from Michael Crichton

    “Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward–reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story–and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

    But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia”

  13. Well Tim, I’d have though it was obvious. it’s because bosses are all evil bloodsucking bastards.

    Thank goodness for the courageous crusading journalists at the Gardianu who are on the case and will save the day.

    And protect the children (or the baby seals, or something)

  14. I mentioned a while ago that my eldest got herself a job in Maccy Ds after sitting her GCSEs this summer. £7.15 an hour and paid holiday (I believe pay rates vary, and others pay less), plus flexible shifts, training, a free meal each day if she wants it (she doesn’t), and a BOGOF card valid any any McDs. Best of all, when she eventually goes to university she can transfer any seniority she has built up and could easily be a shift supervisor (part time) on a decent wedge while studying.

    The Guardian lives in Kenloachworld, though.

  15. “I’d sooner live in Paris”: aye, a wee pied-à-terre on the Île Saint-Louis, eh? It’s an outrage that a McDonald’s job doesn’t pay enough that the Parisian labourer can afford to live on the islands in the Seine.

    (Does one really use a circumflex on a capital letter? Did one ever? And what happened to the plan to sweep ’em away?)

    “And why does everything have to revolve around London?” Because Guardian, Beeb.

  16. @BiI

    A columnist of The Guardian which lost £69m last year, and expects to lose £90m this year (which it probably regards as an improvement, so poor is its grasp of arithmetic)?

    I can only assume they are campaigning to have McDonald’s, and every other business, perform as ‘well’ as they do, so they don’t stand out so much as the abject incompetents they so clearly are.

  17. @dearime (Does one really use a circumflex on a capital letter? Did one ever? And what happened to the plan to sweep ’em away?)

    Don’t go there… opinions differ wildly, and I’ve seen it get quite heated over such a trivial non-issue.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    A little while back I was watching a Milton Friedman interview from 1968 discussing negative income taxes. He explained how this would help the low paid, including the young, and wandered on to parents helping their children buy and rent. When asked if helped his children Friedman commented along the lines that life was hard for young people in these modern time (I haven’t been back to check the full quote).

    It seems that nothing changes, except today’s yoof have social media to whinge and whine on while they feel sorry for themselves.

  19. A demand for 10£ an hour, assuming 40 hour week and 48 weeks a year is pushing 20k a year. For unskilled labour.

    Good luck with that.

  20. “10£ an hour, assuming 40 hour week and 48 weeks a year is pushing 20k a year. For unskilled labour.”

    You can buy a lot of machinery/automation for £20k/yr.

  21. £20k a year would get a nice 7 axis cnc mill turn centre which will run 24/7 at £60 an hour .
    Ours arrives the 22nd not sure yet who’s paying for it ..wink wink .

  22. Mc D is the perfect example of the corporation who’s been trying forever to appease the lefties but they will never leave it alone.

  23. “Fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s depend on the youth and cheeriness of their staff to sell that buzzy “Mickey D’s” product.”

    Is it not Maccy D’s. Not Mickey?

  24. She talks about revenue of $17 billion, does not mention what the profit was. Whines about the Chief execs salary, and then comapres it to non-chief execs salary.

  25. When I was 22 I was on the equivalent of £5/hr and was renting a single room* and sharing it with my wife while we saved and saved and saved to get our own place – where we then took in lodgers.

    *about 15″ x 10″ but had it’s own toilet/wash cubicle and kettle/microwave/fridge.

  26. abacab said:
    “A demand for 10£ an hour, assuming 40 hour week and 48 weeks a year is pushing 20k a year. For unskilled labour.”

    It’s 52 weeks’ pay a year – statutory paid holidays.

  27. “It’s 52 weeks’ pay a year – statutory paid holidays.”

    Its also subject to 13% employers NI, employers pension contribution, finding additional staff when they go on holiday or are off sick, dealing with the usual petty infighting that always occurs between staff etc etc.

    Why anyone employs anyone already I don’t know, and all the authorities seem to do is make it more and more onerous. Give me a piece of machinery any day. It works nonstop without complaint, and if i doesn’t I’m allowed to hit it with a hammer.

  28. What is cheaper, paying overtime or hiring more workers with all the additional on-costs involved?

    If your business has 50+ full-time equivalent employees, Obamacare requires the employer to provide health insurance to full-time employees (those averaging 35 or more hours a week), which is hideously expensive… Especially for small businesses.

    The answer to your question – for ‘Merican business owners at least – is to hire additional part-time employees.

  29. Jim,

    Does that mean you can’t hit employees with a hammer? My God! The UK is a workers’ paradise!

    But it can’t be Socialist, not like Venezuala …

  30. How do your aspirations help you to pay this week’s rent?

    Straw man, and not a particularly good one at that.

    If you act, consistently and in a disciplined manner, on your aspirations over the long term, chances are you will do well.

    In the case of the whining burger flippers who want to earn a comfortable living flipping burgers, well, chances are they were the ones who sat in school, math or science text in front of them, saying something akin to “What do I need this stuff for?”. They then drifted out of school and into the Real World without skills or a plan. Which is why they are whining about getting more money for doing what they are doing, rather than working at acquiring marketable skills and earning opportunities to advance.

    You don’t end up working full time at McDonald’s flipping burgers because you’ve a long series of smart, well planned decisions about how you want to live your life.

    Besides, anyone who knows the fast food industry knows this simple fact: The most in-demand employees are (1) shift leaders, (2) assistant managers and (3) managers. If you’ve been working at McDonald’s full time for any length of time and have not been given the chance at being a shift leader, it’s because you’ve made a determined effort to avoid that chance by presenting yourself as a less than sterling employee.

  31. Just think, if they were successful getting £10 an hour for an unskilled job then surely they will be happy having their working week cut by say half to be able to afford it?
    They can then get a job elsewhere during the hours they aren’t working at McDonalds doing unskilled work for minimum wage.

  32. Ken – those things are all over California now. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the California cities have been in the vanguard of legislating $15/hr minimums.

    I’ve used the kiosks quite a bit, and love them – it’s clear what the full menu is, what your options are, and what you’ve ordered; no need to rely on a non-native-English-speaker’s understanding of one’s accent. Of course, bang goes another opportunity for recent immigrants to improve their English and step up to a better job.

  33. Great comment on the Graun article from someone called Suzi1708, which I’ll just quote the whole of:

    Dear Suzanne, I am disappointed reading the comments you have made belittling and undermining the employment of thousands of workers across the country who are not striking. I started my McJob in the same way that the above young people did, as a crew member whilst completing my degree (yes I have a degree, a good one in fact) and I worked hard. My McJob paid my living costs, and, as when I left university with my degree it was the career path I chose. My McJob pays my mortgage, it supports my 2 children and to be frank after many years of hard work I am earning in excess of many of my university colleagues.
    McDonald’s provides something that not many employers in this country do, a chance for workers to come into a work place unskilled and be supported in a career. They provide apprenticeship schemes which do not require the employee to take any reduction in pay and earn real life qualifications, management programs provide externally recognised qualifications at no cost to the employees and whilst doing that they are learning vital life skills.
    I didn’t need my degree to do my job, it didn’t matter to them the qualifications I had. What mattered was my work ethic, my hard work and dedication and now I help run a £3 million per year store, managing 100 staff and I get to meet a large amount of the 12,000 people we serve per week.
    I am proud of my McJob, I am proud of the people I work with, and proud to work for a company who give opportunities to people who other companies overlook, parents who have limited hours, young people leaving school with little or no qualifications, students, older workers.
    Yes zero hour contracts don’t suit everyone, but the vast majority of the staff surveyed said that they prefer the flexibility that this gives them, for those who do not like it, fixed hour contracts are being introduced.
    Perhaps you really should be looking at the 1000+ McDonald’s restaurants NOT striking and ask, if these stores didn’t give these young people these opportunities who would?
    Maybe before vilifing a company based on the experience of a few, you really should look at the outstanding job it has done for so many.

  34. Yea Glods, that WP website is a mess. Every time I tried to read the article is jumped to the bottom of the page, fighting against me as I tried to scroll back upwards to the article, actively trying to prevent me actually reading their content.

  35. Every time I tried to read the article is jumped to the bottom of the page, fighting against me as I tried to scroll back upwards to the article, actively trying to prevent me actually reading their content.

    If that doesn’t confirm the existence of a merciful God, I don’t know what would.

  36. Theo – well the poor little buggers have been in the hands of our educators so it will take a while for reality to sand off the nonsense.

  37. Tim Newman: “I’d sooner live in Paris

    At least we have stuff to do after 6pm.”

    Dodging Dangerous Dindus Dans La Rue?

  38. MC

    “…it will take a while for reality to sand off the nonsense.”

    When reality hasn’t sanded off the fantasies of the striking McD workers, I am sceptical…. Moreover, many young people will remain insulated from reality by benefits and/or public sector employment…Inevitably, a majority of this group will vote for socialism, just as the ageing anti-socialists die….Electorally, the immediate future looks bleak.

  39. Abacab: “contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of people in the UK don’t live in London … why does everything have to revolve around London.” – The strike was in London, though. And in Cambridge where rents are as high or higher.
    Abacab: “one is permitted to move one’s domicile if one so desires” – You seem to be suggesting that the entire young population of London should move out. That doesn’t seem either equitable or practicable.

    AndrewC: “When I started work the order of things was “what do I earn. Where can I afford to live”. So I rented a room in a shared house.” – So did I. So do young people today. Trouble is, renting a room in a shared house in London today costs north of £500 a month (Same reply to Tim Newman).

    AndrewC: “Since when is a burger restaurant expected to address the shortage of afforable housing?” – It isn’t, directly. What the employees are doing here is to encourage it to pay them a wage that addresses that shortage. Presumably you approve of this exercise of their freedom of expression.

    Dennis the Peasant: [commenting on my “How do your aspirations help you to pay this week’s rent?”] “Straw man, and not a particularly good one at that”. – Not my straw man, I was just pointing out the stupidity of Julia’s previous remark, when she answered the question “How can a 20-year-old pay rent on £6.84 an hour?” with “By aspiring to work somewhere other than McDonalds”.

    Sorry about the clumsy quoting. If only this were proper Usenet instead of a blogger’s bum-kissing orgy.

  40. Spiro:

    bedsits in Cambridge start at c.£85pw. I know because I have rental property there. So not exactly unaffordable, even on the NMW.

  41. @Spiro Ozer, September 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Sorry about the clumsy quoting. If only this were proper Usenet instead of a blogger’s bum-kissing orgy.

    Spiro, you’re a prat.

    It’s not Usenet, if you don’t like it then don’t post, but don’t complain if you decide not to learn how.

    On rent:
    Rent a room in a shared flat/house – I did after I graduated and was in first job in London.

  42. Spiro.

    Didn’t realise bum kissing got you so excited. You’re attributing quotes to me that aren’t mine.

    If I couldn’t afford £500 a month i wouldn’t move in. Problem solved.

  43. “living in a continually precarious state”

    There’s that stupid ass meme again: there is no link between what people make and “precarious.” The Left want everyone to believe that the poor are almost dead. To give urgency to the Left’s demand for statism.

  44. “abacab
    September 5, 2017 at 8:49 am

    @Spiro – since contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of people in the UK don’t live in London. I chose “large city not being London”. And last time I looked the UK does not have a system of internal passports, so one is permitted to move one’s domicile if one so desires.

    And we’re not including housing benefit, tax credits or anything else in this calculation.”

    @ Spiro, here’s something else to consider – if you’re working a ‘McJob’ in London, you have the skills to do the exact same job for the exact same wage in Birmingham with a lower cost of living to boot, so that money goes further. Those at the bottom of the bracket, those with the least skills, are also those who have the most mobility. They are, literally, interchangeable cogs and that makes it amazingly easy for them to move between jobs and between geographic regions as needed. Its the size of the government handouts that incentivize their staying put.

    And I’m told the UK has a pretty good long-haul rail system so its not exactly going to be hard to come back to visit the parents if London happens to be where you grew up.

    I mean, its only a hundred miles – a two hour drive. Its hardly even an imposition.

  45. For me the chief life-lesson working in a fast food restaurant taught me was to engineer my life such that I never had to work in a fucking fast food restaurant ever again. It was like a vaccine.

  46. If they’re that skint, London to Brum is cycleable in a day by a good cyclist. It took me, a 20 stone (when I started) prop forward 2 days to get from South Brum to Sarf London, with about a tenner for a campsite overnight, en route to Amsterdam this summer.

  47. Not my straw man, I was just pointing out the stupidity of Julia’s previous remark, when she answered the question “How can a 20-year-old pay rent on £6.84 an hour?” with “By aspiring to work somewhere other than McDonald’s”.

    Actually, her response was completely correct. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of stupid out of Julia, but that statement isn’t part of it.

    What you need to do is think it through.

  48. “By aspiring to work somewhere other than McDonalds” – it gets me that people equate mcdo with a bad place to work – mcdo remains a standard for customer service, they’ve been the best for years and still are, anyone who works there learns that the customer is first and last and everything in between.

    Its like the ghost of Ray Kroc stands behind each and every member of staff, and when someone walks in, taps said staffer on the shoulder ‘customer just walked in’ or ‘customer waiting’.

    I challenge anyone – go to a mcdo, and see how good they are compared with almost anywhere else at making eye contact and being willing to serve YOU the customer.

    And they offer VFM – fed one adult and 4 kids last sunday for 19.97GBP. Double cheeseburger – 1.49. Fries – under a quid. Coffee – quid and a half ( acceptable coffee, starbucks better but twice the price ).

    Don’t knock maccyD, they”re one of the best, not one of the worst, probably hard work, but working to the highest standards in the customer service world. The staff and management get a big up vote from me.

  49. Don’t knock maccyD, they”re one of the best, not one of the worst, probably hard work, but working to the highest standards in the customer service world. The staff and management get a big up vote from me.

    Not just that, they are spotlessly clean, the fact that caused my mother to introduce me to McDonald’s some 35+ years ago!

  50. I think anybody with the ‘work ethic’ can make a go of it…

    My nephew (much to my disgust after funding private school for him) dropped out of college and got a job in a petrol station on night shift…

    He was living with his Mum so outgoings were small.

    To be fair to him, he stuck at it and was promoted to day shift, supervisor, manager, area manager…

    He bought himself a car (used to ride his bike to work), bought a house and has just got married…

    I can’t imagine his promotion would have been so rapid if he had been on strike half the time…

  51. @ BIC, so your generosity hasn’t been misplaced after all. The lad took his education and used it in the best way for him. My third son chucked in A levels and joined the army, seeing service in NI. He then went back to school and completed his education with a good degree from a redbrick Uni. Class will invariably shine through.

  52. I suppose it’s worth remembering that silly Thornberry woman decrying white van men, who probably pay nobody but themselves, and make a good living.

    Lefties just hate the self-employed don’t they.

    But wait, isn’t the BBC full of self-employed service companies masquerading as individuals…

    And how many self-employed Grauniad people are there? (There can’t be many to chose from, it’s such a small rag nowadays).

  53. @johnnybonk: “..it gets me that people equate mcdo with a bad place to work..”

    Totally not my intention. I agree, it can be a superb job, if you aspire to be management.

    But in general, it’s a job for students/retirees/people with few other options.

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