ACS: Future Wage Rates Must Not Be Political Bargaining Tool

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has submitted evidence to the Low Pay Commission as part of their consultation on future minimum wage rates, calling for the process to remain independent, evidence-based and free of political pressure.

Minimum wages are expected to reach the Low Pay Commission’s target of 60% of median earnings by 2020, a rate which is currently predicted to be £8.67 for the National Living Wage.  The Commission is currently consulting on its future remit post-2020.

In its submission to the Commission, ACS has called for wage rates to be set based on objective economic analysis and in consultation with business groups, trade unions and economists.

Findings from ACS’ annual National Living Wage Survey include:

  • 72% of retailers have reduced the number of paid working hours in their business since the April 2019 increase
  • 64% of retailers believe that the April 2019 increase has led to their business becoming less profitable
  • 52% of independent retailers have taken on more hours in the business themselves as a result of the April 2019 increase
  • 98% of retailers have undertaken measures to try and improve productivity

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our survey of retailers in the convenience sector shows that they are continuing to cut back in response to rising wage rates, taking measures including reducing investment, cutting back on staff hours and working more hours in the business themselves. While retailers have always looked for ways to increase productivity and efficiency, there are only so many measures they can take, and these cost increases are being keenly felt in our sector.

“We urge the Government to ensure that the setting of future minimum wage targets beyond 2020 is done on the basis of economic analysis, carried out by the Low Pay Commission and taking into account the potential negative effects of above-inflation increases on the viability of thousands of jobs and ultimately businesses themselves. Future wage rates must not be used as a political bargaining or campaigning tool.”

In addition urging caution with future wage increases, ACS has outlined support for consolidation of the youth rates to provide clarity and additional fairnesss for colleagues. ACS’ National Living Wage survey found that convenience stores tend not to use the youth rates, as they find it difficult to justify paying colleagues in the same roles different rates based on their age alone.

As part of its work to inform the Low Pay Commission on the challenges retailers face with wage rates and productivity in stores, ACS facilitated a discussion between commissioners and convenience retailers earlier this week.

The full submission to the Low Pay Commission is available here.

Primary data gathered by ACS and forming part of its evidence to the Low Pay Commission included:

- LSR (sample)

- colleague survey (sample)

- VOLS (whichever waves) (sample)

- NMW survey (sample) 

This entry was posted by Chloe on Mon, 17/06/2019 - 09:47