Paying discussions are very complex, although its not fair who are more productive or creative have better gains, which almost a common sense. The word Merit, may have many means. Be more "friendly", with managers, be a relative to the boss. Or be an asshole. Let all has a minimum paycheck is good thing to support a life where the company are. But, let all ha the same, its really nonsense. There many ways to have a better mix of pay and result, but, standardization line, does not work. While high competitive are also bad, since mostly works need cooperation. And cooperation gets better results. Its like in Sports, non cooperative teams its very difficult to wins.