Thursday, 17 April 2014


The irony of Tesco profits being hit because workers don't earn enough.


HAVING worked for the BBC for a short time, I can tell you categorically that most BBC journalists don't know their arse from their elbow.

Such is the narrow gene pool that the BBC selects its journos from (think Oxbridge and public school) that it's no surprise that they get the wrong end of the stick when it comes to even the most basic news judgement.

This week there was a classic example of what I'm talking about when Tesco announced its yearly results. The High Street behemoth posted profits of £3.3 billion. Worth pointing out at this juncture that a billion is a thousand million. So, a bunch of glorified corner shops pulled in 3,300 piles of dosh with a million quid in each. Nice work of you can get it.

But the BBC wasn't interested in this massive amount of profit because some highly paid executive had already decided that 'the story' was a six per cent drop in profits. Except it wasn't. If you strip out new store openings, the like for like fall was only 1.4%. Not too shabby in times of austerity, inflation and queues outside food banks.

That was only the half of it though. Having made a decision that they'd spin the story to make it look like Tesco profits were falling off a cliff, the BBC then did its usual crass development of the story to make it suitable for its perceived "dumb" Breakfast audience. They did that by suggesting that Tesco shoppers were deserting the stored in favour of cut price rivals like Lidl and Aldi.

Now, I could say that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that thousands of Tesco loyalty card holders are making a beeline to their German rivals but let's say IT IS true. So how come the useless BBC couldn't see the huge irony?

Surely this irony can't  be wasted on the establishment messengers at the Beeb, that even Tesco's own staff can't afford to shop at Tesco. It might be the ultimate irony but it also happens to be true in a lot of cases. It follows the pattern in the USA where Walmart workers on low pay have to use food stamps. Lets see that on a billboard poster.  Tesco pay most of their staff such shit wages they have to shop in cheaper stores like Aldi and Lidl.

But here's an even bigger irony: guess which store pays the best wages? That's right, the German discounter Aldi. So, we must wonder whether affluent Aldi workers shop at Tesco to even things up.

The larger social issue was of course beyond the remit of the BBC. They'd get threatened by the government with their charter if they did such a nighty thing, but why didn't they look at the long term effect of Tesco and other supermarkets of an economy where wages aren't even high enough to allow people to do a weekly shop. Capitalism eating itself.

It's obvious to everyone who doesn't have an Iain Duncan Smith mindset that if you have a minimum wage that is set way below the accepted living wage, something has to give. We've gone past the point where hardworking families (yes, that bullshit buzz phrase beloved by politicians of all colours) give up life's little luxuries in order to make ends meet. Now we have low paid workers having to use food banks to fill out the cupboards and an increasing number of children living in poverty. The army of working poor is growing larger by the day. And that is precisely what is hitting the profits of Tesco and other stores. By paying everyone shit wages you prevent them from buying the very products you employ them to sell. If it wasn't so serious it would be bloody funny.

But the real disgrace of this low wage economy is that the taxpayer is subsidising all these greedy, grasping companies who think they're doing people a favour by paying a few pence above the minimum wage.

Work in Tesco. Shop in Lidl. Visit a foodbank. You couldn't make it up. 


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  1. My Mrs works at Asda she gets a 10% works discount when she shops at Asda. Where does she shop aldi & lidl. Why.obviously there cheaper and in some cases the Mrs says of better quality. In a recent works meeting asda staff were told that aldi and lidl were there main competitor's now. and were slowly starting to eat away at Wal-Mart's uk profits. As a result you think they would fight back by competing on prices would wouldn't you.
    No. What do they do in the Hartlepool store. They close the works canteen replacing it with vending machines. And announce the opening 10 new self serves check outs. so in effect they cut jobs to compete for profits.
    I'm afraid this is the way all industries work now. why pay a human when a machine will do it for free. Anyway that's another matter. What is for sure. The strongest and cleverest will survive because everything flows ???