A Living Wage is a Right

Regardless of the amount of value created, a Living Wage should be made a constitutional Right. It is not a question of a job being sacrificed, as justification for low pay, sustainable jobs incorporate the necessity for a Living Wage. It is not a whether the Living Wage is a ‘fair days pay for a fair days work’ or ending of the wages system itself. It is not a question of ‘affordability’ or whether profit is affected or not. The fundamental right to be paid the Living Wage stands on its own.

Fighting for the Rights of all must encompass the Living Wage as part of the essential programme for human rights or rights by dint of being workers.

New start ups and small and medium enterprises should take into account the Living Wage Right, before coming into being or pursuing operations. Large enterprises have no excuse for not awarding above the Living Wage.

The claim on the social product is a struggle around a specific issue in its own right. This being the claim on wealth creation and value added to the product or transferable value via the production of the means of production. It is not connected to the Living Wage as a Right in principle.

In certain branches of the economy, support for business start-ups, certain essential services and social programmes, subsidy may be required for either production or other functions to commence or be sustained.

The workers’ organisations do not enter into negotiations on behalf of a Living Wage by compromising on the basis of ‘affordability’ but demands that workers Rights are fulfilled. Companies and authorities may have to fund the Living Wage by other means. There is no argument in waiting for better days or keeping jobs. The labour time necessary has to be maintained if the labour is required as essential to the product or otherwise. Jobs versus pay cannot be the basis of argument. Enhancing productivity through pay not only sustains skills, but develops the collective capacity through division of labour and develops the basis for inward investment. It also proves the efficiency to carry out services or attract production in the locality because of its worthiness.

The Workers’ Opposition takes the specific demand for a Living Wage as Right as part of the general struggle against neo-liberal Austerity measures and part of the Rights of all. It is a specific demand to enshrine human rights in law and in constitution.It is part of the strategy for the Alternative for a society based upon the human factor and social consciousness, placing the pro-social agenda before a capital centred agenda.

The Living Wage takes basic questions into consideration and sets its
criteria and bench marks, by basic requirements to fulfil the freedoms and various other rights, of which would not be able to be fulfilled without living standards or livelihood rights being available.

Maintenance of workers health and well being of their families and material and cultural requirements have to be reflected in the purchasing power of workers. Other aspects involved in disposable income are also factors. All modern Rights that are not privileges, need to be guaranteed by workers’ income, that are not readily available by the state and society, which need to be supported. all of these things should be calculated in ascertaining the Living Wage.

The Living Wage enshrined in law and within the constitution, as with many Rights, guarantees the minimum condition or bottom line for human beings. It guarantees the basic practices for democracy.

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