Wagamama, among others like the Marriott chain, has just been fined for paying under the minimum wage. This is proof that we must abolish the minimum wage.
No, not because this is obviously some impertinence where government prevents the capitalists from exploiting the workers. But because this is proof that the workers would prefer there not to be a minimum wage.
Wagamama and Marriott Hotels have been named and shamed by the Government for underpaying minimum wage workers, as it identified 179 employers that had to repay £1.1m to thousands of workers and fined them £1.3m.
The British Japanese food chain was the worst offender, after it failed to pay £133,212 to 2,630 minimum wage workers. Marriott Hotels came in second, failing to pay £71,722.93 to 279 workers, while TGI Friday’s did not pay £59,347.64 to 2,302 workers.
Whether these are the correct details or some desperate smoke blowing I know not:
Thomas Heier, people director at Wagamama, said: “As an employer we have always paid minimum wage and make sure that our staff receive 100pc of their tips. This was an inadvertent misunderstanding of how the minimum wage regulations apply to uniforms and as soon as we were made aware of this in 2016 we acted immediately to correct the position.”
This is about uniform and shoe allowances, not quite that plutocratic greed. Getting the rules wrong – OK, they say – rather than anything else.
But then this does prove that we shouldn’t have a minimum wage anyway. This rather relies upon us all accepting standard economics of course. You want to start prating about how a minimum wage raises aggregate demand and all that then off you go and we’ll pay no attention. It doesn’t. So, standard stuff, a minimum wage means some people aren’t going to get a job. The very point of a minimum wage being that it is set above the market clearing rate.
And what do we have here? Evidence that people still turn up to work at less than minimum wage. So, therefore, these people prefer, by their actions, to have a job at less than minimum wage rather than no job. So, why do we deny people what they want, that job, by insisting they cannot sell their labour at the price they wish?
It’s not that people pay less than the minimum wage which proves we must abolish it, it’s that people work at less than the minimum wage which shows we must abolish the minimum wage.