Bryan, Gary, Ken, Steve and I went to Columbia City Ale House (the red balloon on the Seattle map) for beers and dinner – and scored some free Newcastle Summer Ale beer glasses! The Washington state town of Newcastle is not far away (purple balloon), and of course there are several more in the world, and one in South Africa as well, I pointed out.
And when I opened Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, lo and behold, there was a story in about Newcastle South Africa’s textile firms. It’s a tough business, and the minimum wage laws in South Africa is forcing factories to close up shop. I think minimum wage laws are good, but then : is any wage not better than none at all? From the newspaper article : ‘We’ve not gone a direction other countries have gone, where it’s about squeezing workers to the maximum and basically paying them slave wages’ says Etienne Vlok, a research director at South Africa’s clothing union. ‘We’ll never win by keeping wages low’ he says, ‘just like nobody else will ever win’.