Sunday, 10 May 2015

Observer letter on low productivity

Last week`s excellent editorial stressed how the UK`s economic recovery "is fraught with weaknesses", including "low productivity and low wages", so it will be interesting to see the role played by workers` pay in the post-election negotiations. (We are now at a crossroads.We need to move towards a fairer, better Britain.Only Labour offers that vision,03/05/15) With 44% of all adults ineligible to pay income tax because their earnings are so meagre, it is essential, whatever new government is formed, this shameful situation be addressed. Our 28th position in an equality league table made up of 34 developed nations is disgraceful not only on moral grounds, but also because concentrating wealth in the hands of "fewer and fewer people with less reason to spend" contributes little to economic growth.
     However, if the reasons for low productivity, as your Business Leader suggests, are puzzling, ranging from "lack of investment, poor education",and failure to "buy in new technologies and equipment", perhaps more joined-up thinking is required? (Ignore the politicians and look at the figures: this economic recovery is veering off course,03/05/15) Even full-time workers are often receiving such little renumeration for their efforts, they have to rely on housing benefit to pay the rent. Is there any wonder that productivity is "lamentable"? No matter how hard people work, rewards are scant, whilst bosses and managers are in line for massive bonuses and pay rises, much of which avoiding the proper tax due. Is it not likely that productivity would rise if workers were not only receiving decent pay, but sharing more in the profits their efforts bring to the firm? It is not too late to learn lessons from post-war Germany when co-determination prevented pay gaps developing!

     There can be little point in bemoaning lack of productivity of the workers when the short-sightedness of politicians and business leaders is obviously a major factor

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