Three Tenby restaurants have had to close due to staff shortages, the Western Telegraph reports today. Shall we do a little bit of analysis?
A few predictable comments have instantly said Brexit, so let’s put that one to bed immediately. Employers getting away with paying under minimum wage to European workers doesn’t mean your economy is working and that you can blame everything on what you perceive to be a travesty, that now employers will have to pay actual legal wages to actual legal workers.
Myth number two.. furloughed people don’t want to work. Furlough is over apart from in sectors like the council and other office-based jobs. Most restrictions have been lifted and the county is full again. So, no.
Some people have commented that people on Universal Credit don’t want to work. I think you’ll find that they do, but factor in childcare and the low wages on offer, and you see why it’s completely pointless to give your time to something that doesn’t pay. As workers, we sell our labour power for wages. There’s no point selling your labour power for tuppence ha’penny a week. The people that say this have never tried living on benefits. And they’ve also never had to work full time for minimum wage. In both instances, you end up in exactly the same position. Perpetually skint.
Tenby is now owned by second home owners, much like the rest of the desirable parts of the county. Years ago, the Tenby kids filled these jobs. Seasonal work such as this is of no real benefit to an adult paying rent or a mortgage because of its intermittent nature. Now the Tenby kids are all gone. They all live somewhere else, because their parents all got priced out of the market by investors from the cities and rich incomers. There is nowhere to park in Tenby. The public transport situation is dire. Mix all these ingredients up and there you have it, a work force pushed away, either into another area, or into a state of depression about their situation that makes them unwilling to work for just pride and no money.
Here we see capitalism disintegrating before our very eyes. A business model that may have worked a few years ago, with cheap available labour, where staff were easily replaced and everyone was clamouring over the few jobs available, has tuned into a worker’s market, where people can afford to be a bit more choosy about how they spend their lives.
The ruling class hate this of course. I don’t see these self-proclaimed middle class right wingers out picking veg or waiting tables for minimum wage, but they’re expecting other people to do it. The obvious answer is to raise wages. Yes, you say, but that means that we have to raise prices, because profit is what it’s all about. They’re not willing to take less profits, because they got into business for no other reason that that. It’s nothing to do with public service, and providing what people need and want, it’s about maximum profits. It always has been.
There are a few ethical small businesses that pay their staff well, and look after them, and are willing to forego some profits for a happy workforce and a slick running operation, and they’re the ones that are surviving. Some businesses will say that they don’t have the money to pay more, then respectfully, I’d ask, what business do you have being in business, if you can’t run it in such a way that your staff are fairly paid, with good working conditions, and that you can also make a few bob? Small businesses that survive on exploiting their staff, are not going to last very long, because the staff will not stay loyal, and in this current climate, the worker is king, and starting to be able to name their terms a little bit.
And as these little demonstrations on how capitalism will inevitably fail continue to dominate our headlines, I can’t help but feel that people are beginning to catch on. There is no future for this profit driven fight for the top by the little man. Because the little man will always be the little man, unless he exploits his workers to the maximum. And what sane person wants to do that?
As the workers start to stand up for themselves, and refuse to accept these conditions of life, we’re beginning to see change.
Mutiny in the county.