29 March 2006

Public Sector Workers are biting the hand that feeds them.

If a million fast food, hotel, shop and care workers went on strike for better pay and conditions I would back them all the way.

If a million public sector workers went on strike for a higher minimum wage for everyone, ditto.

But when a million pampered public sector workers (who have done well out of this government - though admittedly not as well as the civil service, police etc) strike to maintain a privilege (retire at 60) that private sector workers don't have, then I am very dismayed. No matter how many full page national newspaper adverts they can afford, they are not going to persuade me that this is anything but a defence of privilege.

Why are the unions who do well out of a Labour government always a Labour government's worst enemy? How would they cope with a Tory government slapping them down?

14 comments:

  1. Well fuck me. The first post you've made that makes any sense.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Blue Foxxx29/3/06 2:54 pm

    *sigh*

    I was expecting this from you Neil.

    Check out actual wages in the public sector. A fuck of a lot of people in local government work on or near minimum wage.

    These strikers are striking for everybody - if conditions in the public sector get worse, they will also get worse in the private sector. Why do you think the CBI bleats on about public sector pensions, ostensibly none of their business. They hate having a civilised comparator that reigns in their constant downward pressure on working conditions in the private sector, including pensions.

    Must workers be at the very bottom before they are allowed to defend their pay and conditions?

    "Well fuck me. The first post you've made that makes any sense."

    Nice company you keep these days...

    *re-lurks*

    ReplyDelete
  3. What the blue foxxx said.

    You've really got this one badly wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blue Foxx: Me and Andrew have never agreed about anything before.

    I don't think these strikes are helping anyone. It is this sort of striking that leads to Tory govts and then see where the public sector workers end up.

    Is it true that these workers have done well out of this government? And NONE of them are on the minimum wage or face the conditions that some workers face.

    I refuse to see how this will help minimum wage earners one bit. Why should public sector workers be able to retire at 60, when everyone else has to retire at 65?

    ReplyDelete
  5. carry bag man29/3/06 8:16 pm

    If it was not for the Union's there would not be a Fucking Labour party !!!! I know lets replace union funding with something better the buy a honour scheme !!!!

    Go and read some Gramsci Neil,

    Union bashing is so out of date you will be telling us they are the enemy within next..

    defence of privlage! what to retire at 60 you call that a privlege...and you support a minimum income...


    a lot of low paid public sector workers would too...think you have misplacrd your priorities neil.

    ReplyDelete
  6. carry bag man: I know unions do a lot of good work. I know the Labour party wouldn't even exist without them, but do you remember what helped elect Thatcher? The problem with party funding goes two ways, trade unions buying or bullying for influence and power is just as undemocratic as rich individuals. We need to curb them bothor make everyone join a union so everyone is protected.

    Why are the Labour government opposing the unions over this?

    Are they being unreasonable?

    Of course it would be great if everyone could retire at 60. I know a lot of rich gits get to retire a lot earlier.

    But surely we have to help the lowest paid workers BEFORE we help public sector workers that have BETTER pay and BETTER conditions. That is all my point is about.

    There are a lot of rich people who should be paying more tax, there are lots of better paid workers than those on strike, but this doesn't justify what they are doing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Devil's Kitchen makes some good points on public sector median pay being higher than private sector pay (although (as usual) he rather spoils it with a prejudiced rant against women workers).

    ReplyDelete
  8. carry bag man30/3/06 9:55 am

    Neil,

    you accuse the Union's of bullying and presumably a disproportionate influence on policy via the block vote ?

    let me expalin how the block vote worked in my union.

    First there was a branch meeting open to all members we discussed the conference agenda. Based on this we mandated our executive committee member (me by the way ) to argue and vote in a particular way. The National Execuctive committee then debated the position and reached an agreement on positions vis a vis policy.
    The delegates to conference the general secretary and others then had to vote in accordance with a democratically agreed mandate..

    so all this spurious argument about trade union barons is a smokescreen...
    ordinary members decided policy not a few millionare backers !!!!

    You blame the Unions for Thatcher.. what about the IMF, a restrictive incomes policy...capitalist recession...boom and bust... does this figure at all ???

    ReplyDelete
  9. "You blame the Unions for Thatcher.. what about the IMF, a restrictive incomes policy...capitalist recession...boom and bust... does this figure at all ???"

    Of course it does, but do you think all strikes are justified? What purpose did the winter of discontent serve? Apart from giving amunition to a right wing press and us ending up electing Thatcher. The unions are not always right.

    I am sure the unions have democratic structures in place but they are still representing groups in society and getting disproportionate influence over the Labour party in the same way as business donations are undemocratic. I want the Labour party to represent everyone, including all those on low pay without union backing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. (although (as usual) he rather spoils it with a prejudiced rant against women workers).

    No, I don't, Neil. I merely asked why The Herald editorial seemed to think that women workers in the public sector should be more entitled to pensions than men, or why they thought that women workers particularly needed protecting from these measures.

    Surely we are supposed to live in an equal society, not a "women are just weak and feeble people who need protecting from the nasty world by big, strong men."

    But, other than that, I'm with you on this (Jesus, how can I say that?)

    Check out actual wages in the public sector. A fuck of a lot of people in local government work on or near minimum wage.

    Rubbish. And even if that is the case, so are a lot of private sector workers and they will have to work until at least 65 or more in order to subsidise those in the public sector.

    This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    DK

    ReplyDelete
  11. These strikers are striking for everybody - if conditions in the public sector get worse, they will also get worse in the private sector.

    P.S. I don't know if you've noticed, but things are already pretty bad in the private sector; it would be very difficult for them to get any worse.

    Thanks to our fuckwit Chancellor, pension funds have collapsed and many people who have srimped and saved all of their lives are living on a pittance.

    Besides, the public sector pension liability is huge -- about £690 billion -- and we simply cannot afford it.

    DK

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Blue Foxxx31/3/06 5:00 pm

    "P.S. I don't know if you've noticed, but things are already pretty bad in the private sector; it would be very difficult for them to get any worse."

    Why is that?
    (A clue - it's not down to the Chancellor. You probably won't get too far blaming unions for this one either...)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Why is that?
    (A clue - it's not down to the Chancellor. You probably won't get too far blaming unions for this one either...)


    Two reasons. Firstly, the withdrawal of tax benefits on pension investments, which means the Chancellor whips away about £5 billion a year.

    Secondly, forcing companies to declare their pension liabilities on balance sheet as part of profit and loss. Not only did this damage individual companies, but it also depressed the stock market. This is growth that can never be regained and, of course, most pension plans are invested in... shares!

    DK

    ReplyDelete
  14. DK: "I merely asked why The Herald editorial seemed to think that women workers in the public sector should be more entitled to pensions than men".

    The problem is that, women are discriminated against, which is why women are in lower paid full time occupations, are pushed into lower paid part time work, and consequently are the ones left with no pension or a lower pension.

    "But, other than that, I'm with you on this (Jesus, how can I say that?)"

    You wanna be careful, agreeing with me, you will get a reputation.

    The single biggest thing we agree on is the citizen's income, which would effectively end trade union's usefulness to society.

    In an undemocratic system, TU's are a bulwark against capitalist distortion of our democracy, pay and conditions.

    A CI would solve this problem. The more democratic a system, the more unions become an irritant and a unjustifiable distortion themselves.

    At the end of the day we can both recognise the efficiency of the CI in providing a basic living income safety net and reducing bureaucracy.

    "Firstly, the withdrawal of tax benefits on pension investments, which means the Chancellor whips away about £5 billion a year."

    This was a progressive measure, redistributing from rich to poor. This tax relief was an unjustified tax subsidy to the better off.

    "Secondly, forcing companies to declare their pension liabilities on balance sheet as part of profit and loss."

    This was a worldwide reaction to the Enron scandal to make accounts more honest and drove stock prices downwards everywhere.

    "This is growth that can never be regained and, of course, most pension plans are invested in... shares!"

    This was money built on sand. Many of the funds on which this growth were based were unsound.

    ReplyDelete