Figuratively speaking

A report of wage cuts by the John Lewis multiple stores is given by the “Liverpool Post” of 30th June in a quotation from the house magazine of that 60 store concern, and Mr. John Spedan Lewis is quoted as follows

“Our sales this year are at the rate of 20 per cent. below last year. Obviously you cannot go on like that without making some adjustment . . .
“The shareholders in our group get only moderate fixed dividends. The average rate is under 4½ per cent. Everything beyond that goes to our workers.
“Over the last 23 years since I introduced the scheme they have had more than £2,750,000 additional to what they would otherwise have got. In other words, they have had the amount which would have been my income less taxation and I have worked gratis for them ever since it started.” (Our Italics.)

On perusing this literary bombshell, the 10,000 wage slaves of Messrs. Lewis’ may consider themselves rather fortunate in having a boss like Mr. Lewis and accept the reduced price of their labour power pacifically, whilst no doubt, vaguely wondering why they have not noticed Mr. Lewis working so hard for them! If, however, they carefully consider the figures quoted, as we shall show below, they may then realize the deception served on them as a “softening up” process for wage cuts.

The shareholders “only” got a “moderate” 4½ per cent. from this 60 store, £14,000,000 organisation, but the 10,000 greedy workers have grabbed £2,750,000 over and above their wages during the last 23 years. This represents, roughly, about 5s. each per week. At the present cost of living, of course it would pay for the cat’s milk.

As a single salary, the amount would be, again roughly speaking, about £5,000 per annum, a “useful addition’’ to Mr. Lewis’ present income. Obviously he must have a “present income” otherwise he could not have existed working so hard for his workers. Here we see why these figures mean so much to Mr. Lewis and so little to his wage slaves.

In passing we wonder what the high pressure salesmen have been doing, to “allow” that 20 per cent. drop in sales ? Shades of Henry Ford, Bedaux and the rest, this won’t do, Mr. Lewis, bad for “morale” and all that. But we shed no tears over the drop in sales, that is Mr. Lewis’ concern and whilst he advocates wage cuts to offset the reduction in sales, we advocate Socialism to cut the wages system out of existence, thereby dropping sales (not an alarming 20 per cent. Mr. Lewis), but altogether. No selling, no buying of labour power or any other commodity. Just plain simple production for use.

Get the idea, Buddies? What about it


Leave a Reply