Friday news roundup August 24, 2017

Friday news roundup August 24, 2017

The UK National Living Wage does not meet families’ basic needs. Parents who work full time and earn £7.83 an hour are unable to provide for their family even if living a very basic lifestyle. According to the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a single parent on the National Living Wage earns £74 less than the income they need. Despite a government spokesperson saying that: "the employment rate is at a near-record high and the National Living Wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years," CPAG reports that the freezing of tax credits, inflation, and changes to benefit schemes have negated these positive effects.

President Nicolas Maduro devalued the Venezuelan bolivar by 95% this week in a desperate attempt to control the country’s ever increasing inflation rate. Currently forecast to reach 1 million per cent this year, rising inflation has resulted in a massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing the country. The devaluation is only effective as a short term measure however, and other policies will be needed in order to slow inflation.

In California, a growing number of leading Democrats are sponsoring legislation that could extend collective bargaining rights to huge numbers of workers in the gig economy. Consequently, Uber, Lyft, and TaskRabbit, among others, are now lobbying to throw out a court ruling that could make it difficult to avoid reclassifying gig economy workers as employees. Philippe Boucher, founder of the union the Temporary Workers of America, hopes that tactics such as shareholder activism will improve how companies treat contractors.

The Indian government has rejected foreign aid offers to help the state of Kerala after devastating floods killed more than 400 people. The United Arab Emirates offered $100 million to help fund the state’s recovery, however since 2004 India has adopted a policy of exclusively relying on domestic resources. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, distrusts non-governmental organizations and has championed India as a future world power whilst trying to make the country more self-sufficient. Others see the move as an attempt to overturn an old stereotype of India as a country reliant on the generosity of foreign governments.

Read IZA World of Labor articles on trade unions, collective bargaining, and the labor market, pay and incentives, and economic transition.