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Workers news… September 13, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is a depressing analysis, in the Observer at the weekend detailing a strike at the Bank of England. It notes that this as over an offered 1% wage increase to low paid staff.

Governor Mark Carney took a tough line, even though the Bank is not seen as part of the public sector.

And he held the line with only a few minor concessions. A little extra money was promised to a handful of the very lowest paid, a little extra holiday entitlement was also part of the modest package, and there was a pledge to include the union in future pay talks from the start.

But as the article continues the strike lasted for all of three days:

A longer strike was never on the cards; it is a sad fact that workers have such little power in Britain today. The railway workers might use their muscle should they embark on a winter of disputes over driverless trains, but elsewhere workers face draconian employment laws that make them among the most flexible in the world when it comes to how and when they work.

Yet:

That’s not how the Bank reads the broader economy. It disregards the dispute under its nose and believes that 3%-plus pay growth is around the corner. Listening to the speeches of some policymakers, anyone would think that with unemployment at a 40-year low of 4.4% in June, the workers would have taken their dispute to the wire and, without a more generous offer, quit for a better job elsewhere.

But as the Observer notes, all this is fantasy. And this is proven by other events too…

Maybe Bank officials comfort themselves with the news that McDonald’s workers have also struck for higher pay along with their own low-paid staff. But again it was just a smattering of staff who felt able to confront the restaurant chain – in line with the real trend, and not the Bank’s fantasy projections, McDonald’s has so far felt little anxiety about workers quitting for higher pay elsewhere.

So the flexible market for labour remains firmly in place and pay increases are a pipe dream for most. It’s why the archbishop of Canterbury joined the IPPR thinktank’s commission on economic justice to say, among other things, that trade unions needed more support.

Welcome to the new status quo. Never were unions more necessary. But given their enfeebled state…

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Comments»

1. EWI - September 13, 2017

Their enfeebled state is going to continue as long as they take a collaborationist, non-confrontational line to the bosses.

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WorldbyStorm - September 13, 2017

Agreed.

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