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Boycotting minimum wage is the only option

Calling for employers to break the law by paying below the national minimum wage might sound bold. It probably sounds like an attack on some of the poorest members of society, too. It is certainly the former, but not the latter.

During the recession, we have seen a huge increase in unemployment. By far the worst-affected group were young people. Youth unemployment figures remain high and the problem is only going to get worse.

And yet the situation is becoming increasingly exacerbated by a piece of legislation put in place by politicians who intended to help those the minimum wage is damaging most: the young and the unskilled.

In any other format, the minimum wage would be illegal because it is effectively price-fixing. Looking at the law from this perspective, it is not difficult to see why the minimum wage is doomed to failure.

Those who choose to pay the lower price accept the risk that they are probably losing out on experience, but sometimes the bottom line is most important.

Few employers will consider hiring inexperienced staff when they could hire more experienced workers at the same rate of pay. Any politician with a shred of commonsense knows that suggesting scrapping the minimum wage would be career suicide.

A mass boycott looks like the only option in stopping the damage before it becomes irreparable.

WILL HAWKES

director, Monetary Intelligence

Belfast

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