Fair Pay Versus Cheap Prices - What’s Your Position?

This goes back to the Dominos, 7/11, celebrity chef restaurant, local takeaway place conundrum. Do I care about workers not getting exploited or do I simply care about the lowest prices for myself.

Is it a downward spiral? What are the alternatives given cost of living pressures.

Do we care about fairness Or is it survival of the fittest?

So many questions. Go…

Poll Options expired

  • 62
    Cheapest price (under legal minimum wage)
  • 368
    Fair pay (at least legal minimum wage)


  • Fair pay.

    If all employees received their rightful pay, sure some things would likely cost more from the start (ie. no $5 pizzas or $2 sausage rolls) but everyone would be comfortable with that pricing level knowing exactly why an item costs what it does.

    Selling cheap products all the time is not good for money-conscious consumers. Those who are heavily discounting their goods or services are only serving to eradicate their competition, and once that happens you'll get ripped a new one by the only business that you originally gravitated towards because of the low prices.

    • Agree. With fair pay, there's higher probability that I won't find pubes in my pizza or burger.

    • Have you ever been to an OzBargain meet? People were willing to jump over tables and chairs to ensure they got the first slice of pizza.

      And while at the moment there's a vote count of 192 Fair Pay vs 38 Cheapest Price it seems to be a lot of virtue signalling. In the real world if people could buy a Pizza for $3 as opposed to $18 I doubt the first thing, or last thing, they thought was 'at who's expense?'

      • I don’t disagree. I am guilty of putting the blinkers on and pretending all is fine and dandy.

        I also take my share of the responsibility. Business will cut costs wherever possible to attract customers who care about lowest prices.

        How do we stop the downward cycle or at the very least supporting initiatives to make sure people are paid at least the legal wage.

      • This.
        There is always a gap between what people say they will do and what they actually do.

      • The cost is mostly not the ingredients of the pizza, which are bought in bulk. So whether they make 200 pizzas and sell them at $5-10 each or 80 pizzas and sell them at $10-20 each isn't going to be the key factor deciding whether or not they pay fairly. The first gives you gross sales of $1000-2000. The second gives gross sales of $800-$1600. I doubt there would be a $400 difference in costs of ingredients and labour.

    • Bunnings v Masters?

  • +71 votes

    If you cannot run a successful business while also paying your employees a fair wage, you have no business operating one.

  • Capitalism provides a constant force to rip off labour which can only implode if unchecked. Only the regulation of an authoritarian state can control it. They feed off each other. Yes, there are tangible benefits for many, tonnes of money for a few, but also destruction of the planet, misery for entire categories of person, and a complete loss of our natural liberties as human beings.

    • Extreme capitalism and communism are the same thing in my view. Majority of population = worker and consumer drones while very few at top enjoy the spoils of victory

      • Communism is just one alternative to capitalism; there are others, including left(ish) libertarian variants.

        The "communism" you are most probably familiar with are / were actually just highly authoritarian states - there is as much communist about them as there is democratic about the current Democratic Republic of North Korea.

        • Yes, but the roots of ussr / dprk were equality. It’s what they turned into that is what you describe

        • there is as much communist about them as there is democratic about the current Democratic Republic of North Korea.

          What are the democratic features of DPRK?

          • @Diji1: I don't know any. You tell me.

            • @thevofa: Communism runs against human nature. Capitalism is human nature run rampant. The species is yet to find an -ism embraced by all. Why? There ain’t one.

              • @Ozpit: human nature?

                We've been around at least 200000 years, much more depending where you draw the line. We've had the idea of private property for less than 10000. We've had the current incarnation of capitalism for less than a few hundred.

                human nature?

                • @thevofa: Self interest.

                  • @Ozpit: Communists (I expect) claim communism satisfies their own self interests. Go figure.

                    Also, within a competitive model it is assured that some (most?) self interests will not be realised in a way that may be possible in a cooperative / mutualistic model. We humans, like numerous other species, are interesting animals - most often our own well-being is an affair we share with our society. In fact it is a cornerstone of many communist writings.

                • @thevofa: "My cave. You enter. I smash you with rock."

  • I agree with fair pay but it's almost impossible to know which businesses pay their staff properly and which don't. Something like 50-75% of hospitality businesses don't and it's impossible to know.

  • Fair pay for Fair work.

    Good vs Cheap vs Fast. Pick two.

  • I fall strongly within the Fair Pay for a fair day's work camp.

    I do however also feel that the various legislation governing the current definition is so direly broken that it's arguably in need of a complete reboot.

    Somewhere over the years and decades the distinction between fair pay and a certain sense of entitlement (engendered by various political influences) has made this space almost comical at times. In my younger days, I was endlessly bemused at the kind of things that came up as variables during collective bargaining discussions (tea bags, microwaves, cable TV and gyms).

    Keep it simple, easily governable, and enforce it.

    • Collective bargaining and minimum wage are completely different things.

      And, seriously, I don’t have a problem with asking an employer to provide a microwave. They rest Id happily exchange for a pay rise.

      Also, don’t think $18.73 per hour is living the high life on minimum wage (before tax)

      • Your question wasn't about the minimum wage, it was about a fair wage. There is arguably a big subjective difference between the two.

        My point that is that often those who claim to be pursuing a fair wage for the people they bargain for, often pursue anything but.

        • 🙄 Poll literally (for the purpose of the discussion topic - which is not fair pay amount but rather personal purchasing decisions and the ethical dilemma) defines ‘fair’ pay as at or above minimum wage.

          So feel free to talk about whateveritisyouwanttotalkabout, but the discussion is about us as consumers and the choices we make.

  • It absolutely 100% is potentially a downward spiral I’d suggest, evidenced by 18-19th century child exploitation/employment/forced labour in ‘developed-Western’ society to see what owners of factories were willing to do to produce as much profit as possible; I.E; girls and boys working in coal mines.

    It’s also evident in cases of sweatshop operations in countries where conditions, wages, and benefits for wages are either non-existent or extremely limited, which is a product of both social, and cultural acceptance, and also the ability to ably exploit those workers. For instance Australians generally, and rightly so, expect a certain level of acceptability in terms of their employment, it would be unheard of for instance, for a large employer in Australia to not only provide unsafe, unsanitary working conditions, with no appreciable benefits, and then when/if employees of such an entity sought better conditions from their employer were subsequently abused physically, and yet this is a reality of working conditions in many countries that don’t have the same employment protections, and levels of social acceptance regarding employment that Australia has.

    Large corporate couldn’t/wouldn’t make the same products legally for the same profit in countries such as Australia so they simply outsourced those jobs to countries where such stringent labour laws didn’t/don’t apply. This is accepted in Australia because it’s out of sight, and out of mind, and I certainly don’t blame people for buying products that are made on the backs of exploited people, it is such that many products that have become irreplaceable in today’s society, that it would be nearly impossible to interact within modern digital society without products that have to some degree possess an origin reliant on exploitation. That should be all the more relevant in demonstrating that it’s very possible for labor laws to be eroded in order to meet the demands of a society that is willing to make morally ambiguous choices in favour of expedience, convenience or affordability.

    • We don’t expect that, now. But 75-100 yrs ago? Nations all develop differently.

      • What I mean is that nations can also regress. If it existed in the late 1800’s, it could be replicated again in countries such as Australia today.

        Large corporations don’t care who does the work, as long as it turns a profit. A human being in South East Asia is still a human being. If access to economies that can produce products very cheaply is suddenly disconnected I can guarantee that someone, somewhere, will pick up the slack regardless of where that is.

        • People generally don't care either. Like with cage eggs vs free range eggs. Most people want "fair" wage then will continue to buy products from Amazon or ebay because buying locally costs too much.

          • @Aliastar: It sounds like you see the behavior as hypocritical, but it's not necessarily that way. People want the lowest prices, but they want it under what they presume are fair conditions. The discrepancy comes from Amazon and ebay abusing the power their large position affords them and not paying the tax they should.

            It's asking too much for consumers to be the final arbiters of supporting fair work practices. How are they supposed to know? Corporations game the system all the time. Even things you think are obvious, like cage V free range, can later turn out to be just a big trick, where the conditions for the animals are very similar but consumers are just paying more for the privilege. Even buying locally can end up supporting some dodgy practice (actually the local business' are often the worse)

            Out of everyone in the chain, the average consumer is probably the least informed on whats going on.

    • Large corporate couldn’t/wouldn’t make the same products legally for the same profit in countries such as Australia so they simply outsourced those jobs to countries where such stringent labour laws didn’t/don’t apply.

      There is a simple answer to this: legislate that 50% of the board must be worker representation for large enterprises.

      This is what Germany already does and oh, look, they still make stuff in Germany.

      Australians are morons though, so they signed up for free trade agreements whose aim is to lower the cost of labour to slavery and then failed to protect the working class - which is everybody reading this.

      Like Germany did.

  • Weird, biased poll. Better one would be "Is the minimum wage too low?"

    I'd want the cheapest price while employees are receiving at least minimum wage.

    From the lefty SBS "* Australia now has the highest minimum hourly wage globally, and the one with the most purchasing power"

    Can't complain being at the top.


    • Not biased at all. Realistic. I consider myself on the fair pay side. But guess what, eating out I’ll more often than not go for value with the possibility that workers are being paid below minimum wage. I am part of the problem, I accept that.

      • Enforcing it is another thing.

        What is the dollar per hour figure that you consider fair pay? For Australia it will be $19.49.

      • I agree, vote for the world you want, live in the world you have.
        If it makes you feel any better, paying more for an expensive restaurant, doesn't mean the workers will get paid more.

    • Can't edit other comment but the quote "Australia now has the highest minimum hourly wage globally, and the one with the most purchasing power" is as of right now, before Australia even raises it next month.

      • I consider a fair minimum wage to be the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs on a typical 40hr working week. Needs are defined to include food, housing, and other essential needs such as clothing. The goal is to allow a worker to afford a basic but decent standard of living.

      • Highest minimum wage globally means nothing.

        We rank very poorly on the Cost of Living index.

        A country could have $50 an hour minimum wage. Means nothing if the average mean rent for minimum wage earners is $1700 a week.

  • Loaded question

    You've already made the presupposition of "exploitation" vs "fairness".

    Let's all discuss how much we like fairness because fairness is fair and it is not exploitation.

    • So you don’t believe in the rule of law? Pay less than minimum wage = crime = unfair?

      • So cheap prices = exploitation also?

        Unfair = crime?

        Minimum wage = fair?

        By that logic, I'd want minimum wage to decrease therefore I can pay my employees less and it would still be fair.

        I can then pass the savings onto end consumer but I won't do that otherwise I would be seen as exploiting.

        • So paying less than the current minimum wage IS a crime AND unfair. That doesn’t mean I think the current minimum wage is fair. You can scroll up to see definition of fair pay.

          Feel free to use whatever ‘logic’ you want, doesn’t make it right.

          • @Vote for Pedro: So paying below minimum wage = unfair.

            Paying at/above minimum wage may still be unfair.

            You can scroll up to see definition of fair pay.

            I don't see it. I only see the definition based on yet another poorly defined standard. Ie. Fair pay defined by decent standard of living. Neither one are objectively defined.

            Give us a number. What is fair?

            (This happens to be how pay is negotiated 🤦)

            • @tshow:

              So paying below minimum wage = unfair. Paying at/above minimum wage may still be unfair


              For the purpose of this topic, the poll option defines fair pay as at or above for simplicity sake. Anything below is unfair AND illegal.

              The point of the discussion is what we place as a priority in our purchasing decisions. You can try whataboutism or any other diversion you want to try. But it gets boring quickly.

              • @Vote for Pedro: Change your question and simplify your poll. Ask a straight question if you demand a straight answer.

                Q: Will you buy from a company/business knowing they pay staff below legal minimum wage?

                A: Yes/No

                The diversion is in your question. You're trying to start a dialogue about exploitation and fair wages. When asked what is fair, you call it "whataboutism".

                • @tshow: Or start your own forum topic? Off you go. On your merry way. Toodles.

                  • +11 votes

                    @Vote for Pedro: So you want dialogue that only agrees with you. Everyone else can go find another place?

                    Don't use forums if you cannot accept scrutiny.

                    • @tshow: No, just you. Everyone else plays nice. You have form and enjoy trolling me :-)

                      • @Vote for Pedro: I don't believe I have been deliberately offensive, personal, nor malicious in anything I have said.

                        Frustrating, perhaps. It tends to happen when one is called to substantiate/elaborate/defend one's statements.

                        • @tshow: 🙄 need the last word? Go on, you can have it. Then do me a favour and go away.

                          • @Vote for Pedro: Seems we both have the same penchant for finality.

                          • @Vote for Pedro: Law does not equal morality.

                            If they set the minimum wage at $40 per hour and enforced 100% participation then thousands of businesses would go out of business and thousands of people would either:

                            A. Be forced onto welfare (i.e. higher taxes and essentially redistribution of wealth so lower wages for actualy working people)
                            B. Starve and become homeless.

                            Your question is more complicated than you make out and you seem to just be abusing people who even slightly disagree with you.

                            It's emotional black and white thinkers like yourself who have been responsible for situations such as the shutting down of sheltered workshops because they do not pay minimum wage. In those situations the disabled people lose the only chance they had at adding value to society and of feeling valued in society because no one is going to pay the minimum wage because they cannot produce satisfactory output to support a business in earning a profit.

    • Sure is.

      Cheap isn't the opposite of fair. The parentheses clears it up but also makes it look like a deliberate attempt to skew the results, or there wouldn't be a need to clarify a simple question.

  • /thread

  • As a consumer I care about the cheapest price. I expect businesses to abide by all relevant laws. I will support government practice that seeks to lower costs of doing business. Labour costs are the largest single cost for many businesses.

  • I thing one of Australia's strengths compared with the UK and the USA (which I understand is undergoing minimum wage reform in major cities) is higher minimum wage. In my mind, this leads to less desperation, less violent crime, and an altogether more safe and cohesive society.

    With that in mind, from a position of my own self interest, I would like our minimum wage laws to be respected.

    Aside from my own self interest, I also have some compassion for less skilled and upwardly mobile workers who end up getting shafted. I have been in jobs where I made very little money (under minimum wage), and it sucked. I got out through education, but I still remember those times, and I realise not all people have combination of potential and opportunity that I did.

  • fair pay ~ with consumer discount codes

    But TBH demanding higher pay for less educated jobs is a bit much.

    If you want more pay, you should skill up - rather than asking for the low bar to raised for you?

    • I agree with you 100% but it is illegal to pay people under the minimum wage which is like $19 an hour for an adult

      • No doubt about the law and everyone should get minimum wage.

        We have the highest minimum wage in the world don't we?

        Should have added an "off topic" RE: comment lifting minimum wage.

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