FWD members provide around 68,000 jobs directly, in all regional of the UK. In addition, around 1.1m jobs in the supply chain – from manufacturers to shops – rely on the services of the wholesale sector.
FWD members support the National Minimum Wage (NMW) although members are concerned about the wider impact of frequent above-inflation rises in NMW. We are concerned that the National Living Wage could severely restrict the profitability of our members, should the proposed target of 66% of median earnings by 2020 be pursued.
Our report, Delivering Employment, outlines the added cost to our sector, and explores how wholesale distributors would be forced to cut jobs and services to meet the rises.
FWD engages with the Low Pay Commission to look at how the lowest-paid can be fairly rewarded without imposing costs on employers that would ultimately result in a reduction of head count.
A key issue for the wholesale sector is around increasing wage rates and the knock-on impacts. Whilst we are all supportive of the National Living Wage (NLW), there are however corresponding pressures on our members, for example in relation to the numbers of people we can employ and wage differentials for those above the minimum wage.
If this increase was to go further, for example to 66% of median earnings, we would be concerned about the significant impact this ambition will have on the wholesale sector.
We also believe that the pace and rate of increases to the NLW are best judged by the Low Pay Commission.
We are calling on the Government to:
At December’s commencement of the new parliamentary term The Queen announced the Government’s intentions on workforce issues.
An Employment Bill to set out and consolidate workers’ rights in the UK, which will include measures to encourage businesses to offer flexible working, more rights to time off for carers, and stronger redundancy protection during pregnancy and making flexible working the default unless there are compelling reasons not to. Also confirmed were increases to the National Living Wage to two-thirds of median earnings within five years, whiich will apply to those over 21 by 2024.
On Immigration the new Government has committed to ending free movement of EU citizens under UK law, and the creation of visa schemes for new migrants who will fill shortages in the public services, includ- ing a FastTrack NHS scheme. They will also increase the annual quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Work- ers Scheme we are piloting from 2,500 to 10,000. The Government will invest an additional £3 billion over the course of this Parliament in the National Skills Fund.