This week’s letters

Leave minimum wage to experts

Somewhat ironically, while criticising the CIPD for its lack of commentary
on the level of the minimum wage (Off Message, 1 April), Stephen Overell says
virtually nothing about the level at which it should be set.

Presumably, that was because – like us – he hasn’t got any comprehensive,
accurate data on pay levels and trends across the economy, and so concludes –
like us – that this is best left to the Low Pay Commission, which does.

The institute supported the introduction of the wage at an appropriate level
for the UK economy. And it has welcomed the practical and fair stance taken by
the Low Pay Commission. Our view is that the National Minimum Wage, together
with the social security and tax system, should form a safety net for workers.
It should also provide a base for jobs so that competition between employing
organisations starts at a reasonable minimum level of pay.

In recent years, we have commented extensively on a range of public policy
issues at the heart of good people management – most recently, the Green Paper
on pensions, which our research shows to be a key reward issue for people
management professionals.

We have also published a wealth of material on the reward issues that
practitioners are grappling with today, such as equal pay, bonus incentive
plans and total reward packages. We understand the challenges our members face,
and focus our efforts in support of these.

Duncan Brown
Assistant director-general, CIPD

Pay is discriminating against young adults

What has been lost in the debate about the National Minimum Wage increase
announced by the DTI, is the Government’s failure to address the shameful
discrimination perpetuated against younger adults.

There is absolutely no justification whatsoever in paying a lower rate to
those under 22. The productivity of a well-trained 18,19, 20 or 21 year-old is
no less than that of someone aged 22.

In view of the impending EU directive on age discrimination, when will the
Government rectify this anomaly before it is forced to do so by law?

Ram Gidoomal, CBE
Leader, Christian Peoples Alliance

Generation Y is set to revolutionise work

I must take issue with the views aired by Margaret Mitchell, chair of the
British Chambers of Commerce’s skills taskforce on the younger generation
(Guru, 1 April).

While Generation Y (those born after 1978) pose some challenges to the
entrenched habits of some workplaces, they are far from being the wastrel
generation. Indeed, they may be the most useful generation for decades,
bringing about some timely modernisation to the way we do things now.

For example, Generation Y and the subsequent millennium generations will
believe that if the job does not reward them with personal growth and expanded
career options, it is not a job they should stay in, which is not unreasonable.
Nor do they accept that the ownership of knowledge should be determined by
status or hierarchy; an attitude which excellent businesses can fully support.
Finally, they are likely to expect inclusivity in the workplace as a basic
human right.

In all, Generation Y may have arrived at exactly the right time to do UK plc
a lot of good.

George Edwards
Head of strategic development and implementation, Institute of Leadership and

Broaden professional HR horizons in Africa

As HR directors, expatriate managers and diversity specialists grapple with
the challenge of creating a productive and employee-friendly environment in
today’s multicultural workplace, how many are ready to take on the challenge of
developing their own cultural muscles?

At Interims for Development, we are calling on HR and training professionals
to extend their cultural horizons by volunteering to work with Africa-based
companies on HR and training projects.

Assignments can be as short as one month, and offer HR practitioners a
personal and fascinating insight into long-established cultures while enjoying
the social amenities of modern Africa.

Making personal connections with other cultures is the swiftest way to break
down barriers between people who, at first glance, appear to have little in

We provide return flights, health and travel insurance, accommodation, a
local stipend, plus a host family to help integrate interims into the local
social life.

Human resources/training professionals ready to invest in their own personal
development are invited to register with us.

Frances Williams
Chief executive, Interims for Development
e-mail: Info@InterimsFD.com

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