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Generation Fucked Update

Companies Are Celebrating the New Living Wage By Finding Ways to Not Pay People

in other great news, food bank usage is on the up.
Simon Childs
London, GB
April 15, 2016, 3:22pm

(Photo by Andrew)

A weekly column about how young people are totally fucked lol.

Shouts to EAT, the beige-on-beige-on-beige sandwich and coffee chain. They're celebrating the new National Living Wage by no longer paying their staff during lunch breaks, it emerged this week.

Doing that means they avoid paying their grasping employees £3.60 to sit on their lazy arses shovelling food into their mouths for half an hour, with the aim of topping up their energy levels so they can spend the next few hours serving customers something disconcertingly similar to breakfast on a long-haul flight.


And let's hear it also for Café Nero, which blazed the trail that EAT followed. Nero is getting really into the spirit of the new wage bump by no longer offering its staff free lunch. Instead, staff now get a 65 percent discount on food, so they can spend the extra money on underwhelming paninis. "There is absolutely no limit on the amount that you can buy for personal consumption," a letter to Nero staff published by Buzzfeed News helpfully points out.

These measures are being taken to offset the cost of the new National Living Wage, which came in this month. You wouldn't think adding another 50p an hour would be that big a deal for companies this large, but apparently paying people almost enough to live on is a real stretch.

Poverty-related news doesn't end there, as food bank usage rose again this year, according to the Trussell Trust, an organisation that runs a network of food banks. The trust alone distributed 1,109,309 emergency food packages between 2015-16, so the actual scale of food bank usage could be way higher. The charity urged people not to accept food poverty as the "new normal". Areas with a lot of people unable to work due to long-term sickness or disability had a particularly high usage of food banks. Another cause is the growing number of people on low incomes.

In the meantime, if you're a struggling family, maybe you could make your way out of poverty with a few savvy investments. You'd certainly have the government's blessing. This week, David Cameron defended his familial offshore wealth, saying "we must always support those who want to own shares and make investments to support their families". His statement to Parliament managed to turn a debate about super-elite tax avoidance into a discussion about families who want to put something away for their kids.


Unfortunately, while passing on wealth or a home may be a natural "instinct", passing on a low income seems more like an inevitability. A study of over a quarter of a million people released this week showed that graduates from poor backgrounds tend to earn 10 percent less than graduates from rich backgrounds. In 2012/13, the average gap was £8,000 for men and £5,300 for women, ten years after graduation. Seems like the best way to get rich is to already be rich.

Meanwhile, Tesco Mobile have done one of those bits of "research" designed to get their brand in the news. So take this with a pinch of salt, but they reckon 40 percent of parents of teen and adult Londoners are paying their children's bills, with 75 percent claiming their child needs help financially.

The government says it's taking us to a "higher wage society". On the evidence so far, that means longer queues outside food banks as bosses snatch away everyone's free paninis and find ever more innovative ways not to pay people. Looks like mummy and daddy are gonna be covering our phone bills for some time to come.


More from VICE:

How Offshore Tax Avoidance Can Be Stopped in London

We Might Be Fucked, But Let's At Least Hold the People Fucking Us to Account

The Rich Bastard's Guide to Choosing Which Tax Haven Is Right for You