1980s >> 1980 >> no-908-april-1980

50 Years Ago: Social Security and Wages

What is the value to the workers of giving unemployment pay if the ‘gift’ is accompanied by a reduction in wages? The existence of a large and increasing army of unemployed puts the employers always in the position of being able to secure such readjustments. In a report on wages in the wool textile industry. Lord MacMillan, appointed by the Labour Government to reside over a court of inquiry, recommends a wage reduction. He uses as one of his justifications for reducing pay the fact that social services have lessened the demands on the workers’ wages. In effect the ‘gains’ received by the vast efforts of the Labour Party and its supporters over many years are being nullified by reductions in wages. The reforms reduce the workers’ cost of living, but the employers it is who reap the benefit.

From an editorial ‘The Uselessness of ReformsSocialist Standard April 1930.