||Issue No. 285||14 October 2005|
Howard’s Secret War
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Hooray for Robots
Good Guy Done Bad
Pay Boss Opposed Living Wage
Professor Ian Harper bagged the Harvester Judgement of 1907, where the living wage principle was established, in an article for the conservative thinktank, the Centre of Independent (Sic) Studies.
While the conservative press is talking up Professor Harper's credential as an economist and Christian, his writing on the minimum wage reinforce the worst fears of workers that wages are about to head south.
Writing for the CIS Policy magazine, Professor Harper noted how other countries weren't burdened with the need to pay a socially determined minimum wage:
"...other countries did not try to divorce wages from the low levels of productivity characteristic of high-employment manufacturing industry. Employers in the sweatshops of lower Manhattan were not obliged to raise wages to 'fair and reasonable' levels....
"In reality, the standard of fairness and reasonableness was set by the higher wages paid (and afforded) by higher productivity primary industry. It was considered unfair and unreasonable to pay lower wages to those whose employers...could not afford to pay wages at the same levels.
" Faced with the choice between greater wage dispersion and lack of international cost competitiveness, Australia chose the latter (while, faced with the same choice, the US chose the former). http://www.cis.org.au/Policy/aut2002/polaut02-9.pdf
NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, says the appointment of Professor Harper was an indication that minimum wages would no longer be based on the cost of living.
"The Commonwealth Minister has previously claimed minimum wages in Australia are $70 a week too high," Della Bosca says. "It appears that Professor Harper has been hand-picked to fix that."
"There is a school of thought that says employers shouldn't have to pay a wage that gives an employee the ability to clothe, feed and shelter themselves
"This concept of paying the lowest wage that anyone will work for flies in the face of a 100 year old Australian tradition of fairness, based on the Harvester Judgement."
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