Labour goes crackers over pay disgrace
Wednesday 18 December 1996
Boots the chemist is supplied by women working at home as "sub-contractors" who earn just over 2p, while workers who are contracted to Fine Art Developments, which supply many high street retailers, receive around 1.5p. The National Group on Homeworking estimates that some people are paid considerably less than 1p.
Ian McCartney, Labour's chief employment spokesman, said the wage rates were not high enough to be portrayed as poverty wages. "This is slave labour," he said. "Scrooge simply isn't a character in Dickens, the tragedy is that he actually exists. The pay of homeworkers is a disgrace. I wonder how many people who are buying their Christmas crackers in high street stores realise how little the people who are making them are paid."
Mr McCartney said that under a Labour government a statutory national minimum wage would include homeworkers for whom pay is difficult to police.
Denise McKenna, acting co-ordinator of the National Group on Homeworking, said the amount of money paid to workers who supplied Boots was at the top of the range. "Many are paid far less. One company pays pounds 8 for 1,000 Christmas crackers. If you are desperate for money you will work for virtually nothing," she said.
A spokeswoman for Boots pointed out that the retail price included materials, transport and retail costs. In a letter to Mr McCartney from Jayne Mayled, head of customer services at the company, she insisted that the flexibility offered to workers was often very attractive to those with family responsibilities.
"This method of working is particularly suitable for the domestic arrangements of a number of people as it provides them with an opportunity to earn money whilst continuing to look after their families at home and without the necessity to travel to and from a workplace."
Homeworkers making Boots crackers are supplied with a "kit" of components necessary to produce a batch of 1,800 crackers, for which they are paid between pounds 38.80 to pounds 49.60.
She said typical earnings per week ranged from pounds 25 to pounds 166 with one worker earning pounds 221. However, it should be emphasised that each home-worker could determine the amount of work he or she wished to undertake and therefore also the consequent renumeration.
A spokesman for Fine Art Developments said trials had shown that homeworkers were capable of earning pounds 6 an hour.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...