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Case for a minimum wage


I am pleased to see George Fleming campaign for a minimum graduate starting salary. In the current industrial climate of high workload and increasing skill shortages the employers' repetitive insistence that low wages are 'simply a case of supply and demand' cannot stand up to scrutiny.

Employers claim that if they provide suitable remuneration they will 'price themselves out of the game'. Yet residential, retail and office space is a highly valued commodity in the production of which the engineer has an essential role.

If engineering fees were doubled they would still prove insignificant when compared to developers' profits. Given the above, it is apparent that the market can sustain both higher fee and salary levels.

Unfortunately individual employers will not implement such a policy for fear that, in the resulting transition period, they would be put out of business. The problem seems to lie in a hostile and fragmented industry which will not act collectively for the benefit of all. If Professor Fleming were to succeed in his ambition he may well provide the impetus to make this happen.

A minimum graduate starting salary would force a general salary increase throughout the ranks and therefore make increased fee levels a necessity for all. Added encouragement would come from the fact that if the majority were to comply, those companies that refused would shortly find themselves with no staff and out of business.

Gary Farquhar (G)

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