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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

Why Not an "Exertion Wage?"

Why Not an "Exertion Wage?"

Now the needs wage should be supplemented by an "exertion wage." The expediency of recognising superior skill and greater energy has long been seen by employers in the old world, and has resulted in what is known as progressive wages. The system is as follows:—
(1)There is a fixed minimum wage.
(2)This is supplemented by a premium corresponding to industry and efficiency.
(3)The minimum wage is based upon the hours of employment, irrespective of the work done—in other words, the wage is for a day's work, not for the work of the day.
(4)Then a specified quantum of work is fixed corresponding to that amount of work done on the average in such day's work, and the worker gets an additional sum proportionate to the' excess of the output over this standard as the reward for his extra effort or skill.

This principle in some form or other has been adopted in many cases in the Old World. It appears in at least three distinct forms: (1) The form I have just described; (2) the form in which each worker who exceeds the standard gets a premium fixed irrespective of the ratio of the excess to the standard. (For example, at Rheims wine-bottlers receive 5 francs a day, but if they bottle more, it does not matter how many or how few more, than a certain number (the standard) they get an additional franc a day.) (3) The third form of this system is a prize offered to a small number among the operatives who may within a given time produce the greatest output. This may be termed a prize day wage.