30 March 2006

You can get me, because I am not part of the union.

I knew I was going to come in for some stick for attacking unions, but much as they have driven social justice, they have also held this country back. The unions are not always right.

Why should I support fireworkers striking for 30k when there is a queue of people wanting their job?
Why should I support tubeworkers striking? When it is about staff re-location, nobody is being made redundant. And why should I support public sector strikes when it is about keeping pension rights (retiring at 60) the rest of us don't have?

I fail to see how these strikes will help those on the poorest pay and conditions in the private sector. The unions are quite rightly getting the best for the members, but that is a self interested group in just the same way as professional bodies protect solicitors or doctors high pay.

I admit Labour have been cowardly in going for the poorest public sector workers. They were too scared to touch the pension rights of the civil servants, teachers, police and NHS staff, but even those public sector workers affected have pay and conditions better than those in the private sector (median pay 24k v 22k). We can't pretend this is going to help anyone but them. And these strikes will help no-one but the Tories.

15 comments:

  1. carry bag man30/3/06 4:14 pm

    your normal detractors will have a field day with this post.

    It clearly demonstrates the crude authoritarianism that runs through New Labour.

    Trade Union's have held this country back you claim...provide some evidence for this statement.

    Union's set benchmarks.. and try and improve the conditions of ordinary working people...which has a knock on effect for other workers...your alternative Blair's Labour party...

    the arguments you use were exactly the same ones made by the right wing during the miners strike and who was proved right then
    whatever happened to solidarity Neil,oh that was ditched along with clause four !!!!

    When all the peerages have been sold, when all the influence and favours gone the millionaire backers will disappear New labour will come back cap in hand to the Union's lets hope they understand or labour is finished.

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  2. Union's set benchmarks.. and try and improve the conditions of ordinary working people...which has a knock on effect for other workers

    No they don't. Unions are like any minority interest group grasping for state money. They benefit one group of workers (union members) at the expense of everyone else. Just because the tube drivers get a payrise, it doesn't mean that everyone else in London gets one. Rather, it means the fares go up so everyone else gets screwed.

    And most union membership nowadays isn't 'ordinary working people'. It is the middle class public sector workers out to protect their already gold-plated, platinum-reinforced benefits packages.

    Or: why should a McDonalds worker on minimum wage have to pay tax to fund a middle class public sector office worker to retire at 60?

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  3. Firstly, I don't think I am representative of new Labour or traditional Labour. I do my own thinking (rightly or wrongly) and that is independent of any party policies.

    It just happens to be that Labour is closest to the way I think (still a long way off, but closest).

    "Trade Union's have held this country back you claim...provide some evidence for this statement."

    Do you remember the overzealous union rules that caused inefficiency in British industry where ridiculous restrictions were placed on an employee's role?

    It all stems from the union tradition (in this country)of 'resisting new technology or practices if it led to short-term job losses', regardless of whether it was in the employers, employees and consumers long term interests.

    Here are some objections to trade unions.

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  4. carry bag man30/3/06 6:31 pm

    andrew,

    any connection that mcdonalds and wal-mart are the most anti trade union of employers and sack staff who join one
    thats why their staff are on minimum wage.

    the council workers I saw on strike on tues were not middle class and most were on little more than minimum wage.

    grasping for state money you tosser these people are selling their labour to the state big differance.

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  5. carry bag man:

    You are right to highlight how un-unionised unskilled workers are lower paid, but you are wrong to suggest that these strikes will help them.

    The only way to help them is to increase the minimum wage and we need government for that. Unions look after their members at the expense of everyone else (including those on minimum wage).

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  6. carry bag man: If you look just two or three inches to your left, you will see the Shift key on your keyboard. Kindly read up on the use of it.

    any connection that mcdonalds and wal-mart are the most anti trade union of employers and sack staff who join one
    thats why their staff are on minimum wage.


    Wal-mart is a US company. And sacking employees for joining a union is illegal in the UK. Exactly what the fuck are you talking about?

    the council workers I saw on strike on tues were not middle class and most were on little more than minimum wage.

    Really? I find it hard to discern people's class from their appearance. But nonetheless, the council workers I saw striking were very much belonging to middle class professions.

    grasping for state money you tosser these people are selling their labour to the state big differance.

    Selling their labour to me, actually. And it is only because of mass unionisation of the public sector that I am forced to buy at a price I would otherwise not be prepared to say.

    But that said, you have deployed the argument-winning gambit of calling me a tosser. I humbly concede. You are clearly the better mind, and I am outwitted.

    Christ, Neil. Since Blimpish and I stopped hanging around here, the quality of your commenters has really gone to the dogs, hasn't it?

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  7. Andrew: Actually the quality of commenter has improved since you and Blimpish disappeared (not surprisingly).

    For a start no-one is petty enough to pick on someone for their typos and resort to personal abuse as easily as you two.

    To answer your points, there are public sector workers of all class but the crucial point for me is that median pay is higher in the public sector.

    Carry bag man's point that un-unionised labour is lower paid is a correct observation, but Andrew's point that union's benefit insiders at the cost of outsiders is also true.

    My point is that only a Labour Government will increase the minimum wage and improve conditions which will help the lowest paid workers. These strikes put at jeopardy a Labour government for the benefit of a few union members.

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  8. carry bag man30/3/06 9:22 pm

    Andrew,

    Apologies, in my haste I forgot to prefix tosser with "Tory"

    enough said.

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  9. The Blue Foxxx31/3/06 11:13 am

    What Carry Bag man says!

    Especially:

    "Union's set benchmarks.. and try and improve the conditions of ordinary working people...which has a knock on effect for other workers"

    Contrast with:
    "They benefit one group of workers (union members) at the expense of everyone else."
    "Unions look after their members at the expense of everyone else"

    Because capitalism is a non-dynamic, zero sum game? The truly iniquitous trend of the last 20 or so years has been the growing diaparity in the share of newly created wealth going to the different classes.

    Andrew:
    "I am forced to buy at a price I would otherwise not be prepared to say."

    Please read up on the use of the 'p' key.

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  10. The Blue Foxxx31/3/06 11:14 am

    'Tory Tosser' seems a bit rude. Is 'typo twat' acceptable?

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  11. The Blue Foxxx31/3/06 11:57 am

    Following your link Neil - is your objection Fascist, neo-Liberal or revolutionary Socialist?

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  12. Blue Foxxx: "Following your link Neil - is your objection [to unions] Fascist, neo-Liberal or revolutionary Socialist?"

    How about sensible?

    The more undemocratic a society, the more Trade Unions are needed to counterbalance the power of rich capitalist employers exploitation.

    Despite the influence of an unfair electoral system, unfair press and unfair party funding, this Labour government IS still largely on the side of the poorest paid.

    Michael Meacher has proposed increasing the minimum wage to 7.40. If he stands for leader he will get my vote for this policy alone.

    The Labour government is the best way to help low paid workers. Trade union strikes against Labour governments that have largely improved pay and conditions for their members help elect Tory governments.

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  13. carry bag man1/4/06 1:34 pm

    Neil,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the logical conclusion to your argument is that Public Sector Union's should never strike irrespective of the nature of the dispute during a Labour administration ?

    so is it ok for them to strike when the Tories are in office ?

    just thoght I would check.

    Blue foxx...nice post perhaps I was a bit rude,but justified methinks

    Neil... Walsall going down after today!!!!

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  14. "Correct me if I am wrong, but the logical conclusion to your argument is that Public Sector Union's should never strike irrespective of the nature of the dispute during a Labour administration ?"

    There are some things they would be justified to strike over whatever the administration, but this isn't it.

    I got to admit it don't look too good for Walsall after today's result!

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  15. Neil, you are right on some things, and I'm sorry I didn't defend you when those Sharpener idiots were onto you for posting something unoriginal (whether it was previous released or not is irrelevant: getting that right wasn't your responsibility if it was your fault).

    One of the things you are right on is the unions. Unions should stick up for their members. No-one else. That means doing things which harm the consumer, the employer, the public, the nation, other unions, the Labour party and so on. After all: all of those other groups are looking out for themselves.

    You seem to post sometimes as though you assume the unions are a force for social good - and I think sometimes they have been, and often they are (though it was hardly the unions which got Bismarck to introduce social insurance), but this isn't part of their essence or raison d'etre, it's just a frequent coincidence.

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