About the book
This publication is a timely contribution to the debate on the UK’s national minimum wage (NMW) laws. The author, Kate Ewing, starts by identifying three key shortcomings in the NMW framework – access to the right, challenges determining the right, and enforcing the right – before exploring and explaining the problems via three important case studies. She argues that weaknesses in the legislation must be addressed if the NMW is to serve a protective purpose and be consistent with the Supreme Court finding in Uber BV that ‘[l]aws such as the National Minimum Wage Act were manifestly enacted to protect those whom Parliament considers to be in need of protection and not just those who are designated by their employer as qualifying for it.’
The author notes that the case studies demonstrate the very real value of unions in supporting workers. But, even with union support, the fact that each case took at least four years simply to establish basic principles in terms of entitlement, demonstrates that the current system is unsustainable and unfair. Ewing concludes that steps short of the implementation of sectoral collective bargaining run the risk of being mere window dressing. Reform, of a significant nature, is urgently needed to protect low paid workers in the UK to ensure dignity and decent wages for all.