National Minimum Wage changes

Personnel Today reports that the government have reached a deal with unions to extend the full rate of the NMW to 21 year olds, “subject to advice from the Low Pay Commission.” We can guess what that advice will be, given that the Commission has been calling for this change for years.

Also, the government will amend legislation so that tips and gratuities paid to staff do not count towards the NMW. There were always two arguments on this one; some say that the goal of the law is to ensure that staff earn a certain amount from their jobs, and that there is no reason why tips should not be part of this. The other viewpoint is that tips are, by their nature, in recognition of someone going beyond their normal (and contractual) duties.

I remember in the book Down and Out in Paris and London, all the senior waiters at the top Paris hotel where Orwell works are paid by tips alone. I do not know if this remains standard practice anywhere. I also do not know if the lot of a plongeur has changed:

[A] plongeur is one of the slaves of the modern world. Not that there is any need to whine over him, for he is better off than many manual workers, but still, he is no freer than if he were bought and sold. His work is servile and without art; he is paid just enough to keep him alive; his only holiday is the sack… [they have] been trapped by a routine which makes thought impossible. If plongeurs thought at all, they would long ago have formed a union and gone on strike for better treatment. But they do not think, because they have no leisure for it; their life has made slaves of them.