Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pay matters - pay review bodies don't...

It is good to learn from the UNISON website that the Institute of Fiscal Studies are critical of the “staging” of pay awards – the latest penny-pinching wheeze from a Government determined to make public sector workers tighten our belts whilst ladling cash at the favoured few.

I think the staging of pay awards is wrong because it steals money from the workers. I am less troubled by the fact that this might “undermine the credibility of the review body process.”

What credibility?

If a “pay review body” were to replace collective bargaining on the basis that it guaranteed above inflation pay increases on some sort of “RPI plus x%” formula then that might be acceptable, as might a formula such as that which emerged from the 1977 firefighters dispute which linked earnings for a group of public servants to earnings growth in the economy as a whole.

Pay review bodies in which “experts” make pay awards having considered “evidence” undermine the role of trade unions in negotiating pay without giving us anything worthwhile back. I can see the attraction to those in our movement who think that we should do the best we can by putting sound arguments the Government and then selling the outcome to our members as the best that is possible. For those of us who are trade unionists the attraction is a lot less obvious.

The only good thing about the fact that the Government has taken to stealing from awards made by pay review bodies is that they reveal the fiction upon which the whole process is based.

The Government won’t honour pay awards from pay review bodies if they don’t want to – and trade unionists don’t have to accept such awards if we don’t want to (ask the teachers!)

Now let’s just start preparations for the massive strike action which will be required to wring a fair deal out of this wretched reactionary Government shall we?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually we organised a strike to get a Pay review Body in the Ambulance Service. Very few would want to go back. Think Unison wide not just local Government