warmly welcomes rise in minimum wage
union Usdaw has warmly
welcomed a 30p rise in the minimum wage as good news for union
members and the future growth of a sector employing 2.7 million
people. The latest increase, which comes into force in October, will
take the minimum wage up from £5.05 an hour to £5.35 for workers
over 21 with a 20p an hour rise for staff aged 18 - 21 who will get
"This Government has its critics but our members are well aware that
this latest increase is due to the principled commitment of
Ministers and Labour MPs who supported the idea of a basic living
wage. The introduction of a minimum wage has made a real difference
to the living standards of many of our members without harming the
massive growth of the retail sector over the last decade. There is
no evidence that these sorts of increases to the minimum wage have
had any negative impact on the retail sector and most retailers pay
well above this rate because they recognise well paid staff are
absent less and are more productive. We'll continue to discuss with
employers the impact of the minimum wage seeking raises above that
figure, but we would remind employers that this rise will only cost
them around £11 a week for an employee working 37 hours."
says Usdaw general secretary John Hannett.
Usdaw is particularly pleased that the minimum wage for workers aged
16 and 17 will also go up 30p to £3.30 an hour.
"The minimum wage was only brought in for these very vulnerable
workers because Usdaw did its research finding some terrible
examples of sheer exploitation of 16 and 17 year olds by employers.
We took our evidence to the Low Pay Commission who accepted that the
extension of the minimum wage to very young workers would offer them
some protection so this latest increase is fantastic news for the
next generation of retail workers."
On the other hand small businesses, increasingly, are being hit by
all the new legislation and rules introduced by this government and
many are coming ever closer to closure. "The latest pay rise
might be good for employees, but are crippling businesses’
development and closing down many who are just starting out. Some,
as does Usdaw, say that small businesses, who can’t afford to pay
workers more, should close. What they don't seem to realize is that
the cash the businesses would use to fund the pay rises are being
swallowed up in red tape and unnecessary legislation and hidden
taxation. Another sting in the tail is envisaged in recent
governmental brainstorming, a compulsory pension scheme for all
businesses to pay into. If this, on top of the already double
employer contributions comes into force it is very likely that most
small businesses and lots of large businesses will go under. We are
heading for a UK which has a plethora of employment rights but no
jobs! Sadly, whilst businesses understand that pay rises are needed,
what groups like Usdaw do not take into consideration is that other
forces are driving the UK ever closer to the edge of financial
collapse." said a local business spokesman Ian White.
What do you our readers
OF LAW FIRMS COULD DISAPPEAR IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS
21st CENTURY Business launches to provide legal firms with a
one-stop-shop for business development, a first in the UK. At a time
of immense change, research indicates that up to 15% of North West
legal practices could face huge difficulties and even disappear
altogether if they do not prepare for the competitive landscape
ahead, as set out in the government's White Paper on the future
regulation of the industry.
The research has been carried out by 21st Century Business, the
brain child of husband and wife team Jayne and Christopher Allman,
which this week launched to offer law firms a one-stop-shop for
business development, with the objective of helping them to survive,
grow and prosper and replace some of the perceived mystique, elitism
and lack of transparency over costs and complaints.
The government's recent legal services review states that going
forward law firms must maintain the highest professional standards
whilst adopting a keen business approach and will only succeed if
they adopt modern methods, offer a wider range of services and above
all, keep their clients as the focus of their attention - customer
excellence is key.
"Currently, lawyers sell on technical ability but consumers
have no way of assessing this, which is why they buy based on the
level of customer care and service they receive," says Jayne
Allman, director, 21st Century Business.
21st Century Business believes that one of the services it is now
offering, a business 'health check', is the first of its
kind in the UK specifically for lawyers and will make available the
advice that law firms will seek in order to adapt to the suggested
It will offer a wide range of services including everything from
marketing, communications and web development, to IT services,
advice on customer excellence, financial and risk management,
managing staff and even administration support. Advice will be
delivered by specialists, such Ex BBC newsreader and broadcaster
Martin Henfield, who will provide media training and advice on
making business presentations.
"The structure of 21st Century Business looks very different
to those of, for example, a local Business Link, or a firm of
management consultants; it is made up of experts who work for
themselves and can provide a strategic service but without any of
the overheads of a large management consultancy practice and
therefore the corresponding fee levels.
We believe we are the
first in the UK to offer such a service in this unique format. With
experts covering the entire business spectrum we can look at the big
picture, bringing them together, in one place, with one common
agenda to add value to the firms' established worth. It's our
aim to allow lawyers to continue doing what they do best,
practicing the law, but in an increasingly business savvy world,
21st Century Business can advise firms on how to remain competitive,
survive in their market place, better market themselves and become
much more customer focussed - thus increasing revenues. Firms
can't afford to simply do nothing - they must adapt to 21st century
methods of working or risk being one of the 15% to disappear.
Consumers vote with their feet," said Jayne Allman,
director, 21st Century Business.
Partners from the region's law firms can attend one of two events
held by 21st Century Business on 25 April, 2006 entitled "The
Future of Legal Services : put your firm on the 'winning' side."
The morning session will be held at the Manchester Science and
Industry Museum between 07.30 and 09.30hrs or the evening session
will be held at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel in Worsley between
17.00 and 19.00hrs.
Interested parties should contact Julie Courtney at Type-IT Events
Management on 01204 590327.