Announcing the incomplete conclusions of the Wage Commission without publishing the report invites speculation and destabilizes our ailing, vulnerable economy. These kinds of announcements are reckless and irresponsible. They cloak political pandering with pseudo-science and do little to add clarity to an already unstable economy.
The announcement was that: ‘We will legislate a minimum living wage and it may be one of three numbers. And, we won’t tell you how we got to those until a full week later. And then after that, maybe a year, there will be another report which will give more numbers. And we won’t know which one of those numbers we will legislate. We’ll tell you more later as we figure it out.’
At this point, the public hasn’t been told what impact this will have on jobs and the labour market. Or maybe the report will include this – or maybe it won’t. The public are left to assume and guess. This is not how people plan for their futures.
This kind of announcement plays into the story that businesses, including small business and entrepreneurs, are profit-hoarding, unethical and megalomaniacal. Business is risky and hard. It’s putting your money where your mouth is. It’s investing what money you have, what money you can borrow and putting your future on the line. Every dollar has to be forecasted, considered, planned for and found. Every day is chess game, where winning is nothing more glorious than paying the grocery bill. But losing is one less loan payment made, one more mortgage payment missed and one more month digging out of a hole.
If we’re going to have a liveable wage or minimum wage, and we should, then it cannot be announced piecemeal. It cannot leave businesses hoping and guessing. Because a business that is reliant on guessing is a business that would rather not take the risk. And that downward spiral cannot be solved with another piecemeal, abbreviated press statement.