In it together? You’re havin a laugh…

March 17, 2012 5:55 pm

Today saw two great old titans of British football face off in one of the FA Cup Quarter Finals. Two teams who have put their fans through the wringer plenty of times in recent years. Two sets of fans who keep on coming back for more, and more often out of hope than expectation.

They’re also two clubs based in the North, and in cities that have had to fight the impact of previous Tory governments. They’re fighting again now, but today it seems that fight has just got that much harder.

The end of national pay bargaining will hit areas like Merseyside and the North East hard. Already poor areas will get poorer as the rewards for being a teacher, a nurse, or a policeman diminish compared to the pay for similar positions elsewhere in the country. It’ll also have a significant impact on local economies, stunting the impact of any private sector led recovery that might take place. “Brain Drain” to the South is one possibility. A lack of people wanting to work in the public sector is another. Although the government already has the latter covered – the staggeringly high unemployment levels (especially in the North East) mean that any job, even with wages slashed in real terms, will be heavily sought after.

One of the reasons I’m so passionate about Sunderland (as my team) and respectful of Everton, is that there’s clearly a bond between the players, the clubs and their fans. The twenty two footballers who took to the pitch at Goodison today will all either be millionaires already, or will likely one day become millionaires. They play for us, they represent us, they win and they lose for us. And they are stupendously, staggeringly well paid for that. Yet that bond, that societal solidarity, still remains.

And yet today the government looks set to give those players – all of whom will be top rate tax payers – a tax cut, whilst the fans on the terraces see their wages stagnate, or cut, or disappear. The solidarity that exists in society, manifested so clearly on the terrace, between the wealthy and the less fortunate is already so strained in our society as to be approaching breaking point.

Today that strain increased. For the people of Sunderland, and Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds (and indeed Edinburgh and Cardiff) I worry that one day the bond that ties us all together (rich and poor, north and south, private sector and public sector) will snap.

And there won’t be any coming back from it when it does. “All in it together? You’re havin a laugh” – as the fans on the terraces today might have put it.

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  • http://twitter.com/DelroyBooth Delroy Booth

    Tories are trying to goad the PCS into more strikes, as with other Unions, using the Olympics as cover.

    Regional pay rates will be disasterous. Remember how that worked out with the miners back in the day? It contributed to a lack of trust betweeen areas within the union. Divide and rule. same old shit

  • William

    Excellent comment Mark and completely right.

  • derek

    Absolutely @Mark, it’s the thread that binds us together in many ways, if pay bargaining goes and the break up of national agreements, then we’re really back to the Liverpool cut off position that Thatcher nearly instigated.This forthcoming budget is rapidly approaching breaking point.Osborne should think very carefully indeed.  

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      And Cameron, arguing against Scottish independence, describes himself as “a unionist, head, heart and soul” yet wants to erode our national institutions and produce an economic balkanisation.

      The union (U.K.) is only as strong as its shared institutions, if Cameron and Osborne fragment these then we’ll be at the mercy of the global commercial interests who will play one fragment off against another.

      • derek

        Absolutely Dave! and when we come looking for sheep meat, please front Jaime as the shepherd.

        • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

          Well, it’s got to be said: there are some that can’t acknowledge the centrality of shared experience to a cohesive society.

          The political counter position to the denigrators of shared experience is, as Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said the other day: “that the concerns of working people are also the concerns of the vast majority of the electorate. Further, that unions are presented as unpopular, but remain the largest voluntary organisations in the country. Our membership dwarfs that of reactionary think tanks, political parties, newspaper editors, media commentators etc.”

          One might add: “and the fantasists of a deranged individualism.”

          • derek

            @Dave, your a shining light amongst some dark satanic voices.If it’s any comfort, as a layman I’m a fan. Thank you @Dave. 

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Derek (and Dave Stone),
             
            Unfortunately, the neo-cons (who know the price of everything and the value of nothing) are still in the ascendant … if they continue to have their short-sighted way, ignoring all history, the result can only be civil disorder, big-time.
             

  • GuyM

    So your party supports regional levels of benefits but not regional levels of pay?

    Explain the logic in that please?

    Also explain why southern tax payers are forever being expected to fund redistribution to a public sector fixated north?

    • William

      You’re out early.
      Had your orders from HQ?  Usual apologist’s drivel though. Make the poor and the North suffer while helping the rich- What perfect sense that makes.   

      • Dave Postles

        Some people just don’t understand that the manufacturing base of the UK – including for its substantial exports – is located in the North: Nissan; Toyota; JLR with its new jobs at Hailwood; BAE Systems; Bentley; Rolls Royce; and so on.  What will cause the most difficulty to the UK economy is the extent of the overseas investments by the financial services sector with no collateral and likely to be marked down to market even further.
        The second point is whether someone could take the government to the Equal Opportunities Commission on the grounds of discrimination: one person being paid less for doing the same job as someone else.  If the same post description is issued to each, but one with a lower salary, by the same organization, then that would seem to be prima facie discrimination.

        • derek

          Pay and equality of pay…Spot on Dave!

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Does your argument also apply to a typist in New York and a typist in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?  Both doing the same job, same hours, etc.  What about the typists in Reykjavik and Tristan da Cunha?  How about a cooperative of typists in Uruguay who have had the sense to contract for typing work in the UN, but when their contract comes up for renewal are being undercut on price by typists in Hanoi?

          • Dave Postles

            Those are jobs contracted out not people employed directly by a single organization.

        • GuyM

          Then every single private sector organisation with offices about the UK will be facing court action….. except they aren’t.

          Take that as an indication as to the chances of legal action over “equal” pay.

          • Dave Postles

            No, I don’t take that as any indication, because people working in the private sector are, for a large part, browbeaten individuals who either (a) cannot afford access to the courts or (b) risk losing their jobs if they so much as murmur.  In contrast, I expect a union-supported case to ask for a judicial review. 

          • GuyM

            There is no legal case to argue about local pay settlements.

            Tens of thousands of companies about the UK and not one single court action over equal geographical pay?

            All because every single one of the millions of private sector workers are “browbeaten individuals”?

            When we get someone like you Dave who has never worked in the private sector and frankly talks out of his arse about the sector that employs the vast majority of the workforce then we know why Labour are so hopeless in so many areas.

            Never mind I’m sure the small HE IT area you evolved in is a big enough fish bowl for you.

    • Peter Barnard

      @ Guy M,
       
      “ … regional levels of benefits …”
       
      Eh? Are social security entitlements higher in Carlisle and Chester than they are in Clapham and Croydon?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        @ Peter B,

        should it not depend on the local cost of living?  I’d like to see people getting a realistic amount of benefits for where they live, not overpaid or underpaid.  One size does not fit all.

        • derek

          Feck the brains of fluff-land thinks he can offset the cost of items to the local buyer.  TIT!

        • Peter Barnard

          @ Jaime,
           
          That wasn’t the point of my reply to Guy M.
           
          He seemed to say that social security entitlements are, basically, higher in the north that they are in the south.
           
          Perhaps – in theory – you could make a case for “benefits” dependent on the local cost of living. Are you going to apply this to the state retirement pension?
           
          What Mr Osborne (if media reports are correct) is proposing will only lead to a bureaucratic nightmare, as I say in an earlier post. I also say that it’s borne out of political ideology.

          • GuyM

            I think you need to take another look at what I wrote as it seems you badly misunderstood.

            The south subsidises northern benefit payments in that it pays above the equivalent rate for northern benefits to southern.

            The north has lower pay and lower taxes, yet equal levels of benefits, how is that without southern subsidy?

      • GuyM

        Labour propose that the benefits cap should vary by region, therefore benefits payments would vary by region.

        So actually entitlements would by higher in Clapham and Croydon than Carlisle and Chester.

        Seems strange to me to argue in favour of verying benefits by region but not pay, especially when pay in the private sector already and always has varied by region.

    • Amber Star

      “So your party supports regional levels of benefits but not regional levels of pay?Explain the logic in that please?” Easy as pie, Guy: Benefits are based on need, pay is based on equal pay for work of equal value.

      • GuyM

        Then in that case you wil of course argue for exactly equal pay for everyone in the whole country in like for like jobs in the private sector?

        And then why not extend that to the whole of the EU?

        To the very penny, the same pay for an builder in Prague as in Sheffield? The same pay for an accountant in Sofia as in London?

        Equal value is based upon economic value and local economic markets. Therefore the value of 7 hours work in one area is not the same as another.

        Funny enough that much loved “partnership” John Lewis realise this as well, they pay market rates, not flat rates.

        Also the public sector already accept the concept of varied regional pay by having a 3 tiered London allowance.

        This argument is not about “equal pay”, this is about union strength and subsidy for Labour areas from the south, so at least be honest about it.

  • William

    Unfettered free market capitalism and social order/unity are a contradiction in terms in my view. This lot seem determined to subsume the latter under the former. When the rubber bullets start to fly later in this government’s term of office then its abject failure will be complete.

  • Leslie48

    Therefore I think Labour has to be sharper, harder  in its reponses so that the public hear the immorality of it all.  Soft, New Labour, clone-like, Oxbridge tones will fall by the wayside; the public are being warmed up for the 50p tax cut as something beneficial rather than divisive; already the public have swallowed the massive benefits scroungers myth and forgotten they too may hit misfortune one day, moreover the same story is unwinding about tax being re-distributed from the hard working middle class to the indolent under class.

    It shows you the courage of this right wing government that thay can contemplate reducing tax on those on a quarter of a million pounds  a year while reducing say the incomes of council workers. They are doing it because of the help in their press and just maybe the lack of  rhetoric  from the left. Those who say in the Labour party that the press are not important are in cloud Cuckoo Land – just watch the next few days.

    • leslie48

      However I have had a little thought – The Eton Boys ( i.e. The Tory Right)  have clearly run rings round the Liberal Democrats with this 50p Tax rate cut for the very rich as well as the reduction of wages for lower paid public employees. Can you surely imagine Lib Dem urban and university town seats being held by incumbent Liberal Democrats. Annihilation comes to mind.

      • Alexwilliamz

        Yep I am not sure who the Lib Dems think vote for them, because from what I can see it is their core voters who are facing some of the biggest hits from this government, outside the poor and vulnerable of course.

    • Robert_Crosby

      Fantastic post, which says it all.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    If you accept that a shop worker in Mali is paid a different rate than one in Australia, a typist in Moscow a different rate than one in Caracas, or a foundry man in Sheffield a different rate than one in China, then by logic regional variations within the UK are also acceptable.  When I moved from one job in Serbia to one in Darlington I increased my pay by over 6 times, despite doing pretty much exactly the same role.  It’s normal.  It’s why we have so many eastern European workers in the UK, doing what they can but being paid our regional rate instead of their regional rate.

    I personally think all of this is entirely normal, or at least understandable.  We should all of us negotiate individual contracts. If someone has the wit to out-negotiate the employer on the other side of the table, good for them.  If someone has not that wit, they can only blame themselves.  My own NHS contract looks nothing like the model contract I was first offered – I have included all sorts of non-standard things, including paid time off for an annual religious retreat.  It was entirely open to the NHS to find my requests too onerous and reject my candidacy for my job, and I would have respected them if they had said so.  At my nudging, one of my nursing team has now got included in her contract the payment of academic fees for her career development, including accommodation costs at the University of Nottingham for a 3 week residency.

    I see no reason why individual contracts should not reflect individual circumstances.  If houses cost more in one area, contracts and pay should reflect that.

    • derek

      Honestly, your a rabid cancerous gobshite….pisss off

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        And your reasonably argued position is…?  Or is it all only abuse?

        • William

          What would you know about reasonably argued positions?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Only that logical deduction, context, balance, restraint and a sense of history brings.

          • William

            The problem is Jaime that there is little logical deduction, context, balance or restraint in your posts.
            In my experience they invariably tend to be ill thought out rants that are full of idiocies.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Fair enough, it’s not the way I see it, but thanks for replying.  I’m glad there’s someone on LL tonight who is not 17 pints down the road on cheap beer and letting all of his gremlins out unsupervised.

        • derek

          Ho Ho! the intellectual loner! with the passion of a conservative preacher, ripping up the BRITISH TRADE AGREEMENTS and ACAS is about as think as your brain train oil grey matter.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            No answer then.

             “…is about as think as your brain train oil grey matter” – can you tell me what that means in a language we can both comprehend?  I’ll offer you plain English, Spanish or French as my accessible communication interfaces. I’m hoping that at some point in your life you have learned one of them, otherwise it will be mutually incomprehensible.

          • derek

            You offer nothing but despair and nastyness, completely and utterly rapped up in your blotted bubble. Comprehend? pull the plug and sump out, weirdo!!!!!   

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            So that will end this discussion then.  Sorry, you were unable to convince me of your position by the power of your logical argument.

          • derek

            I guess so, so (double negative)  

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Let’s just review how this discussion went:

            1.  I post an opinion.

            2.  You reply with abuse, and not in any way addressing what I had to say.

            3.  I ask you for your opinion on the substantive point.

            4.  You reply with more abuse, and a totally inane mish mash of words about grey oil.

            5.  I offer you some alternatives to communicate your views  in other ways.

            6.  You respond with more abuse.

            7 and 8.  We agree that there’s no effective communication.

            Have a think about how you communicate with the outside world.

          • derek

            Step 1/ tory boy
            Step 2/ Numpty
            Step 3/ @raehole, Steps one, Two and Three.  

          • William

            Trouble is your original point was nonsense. You were suggesting that the termination of national pay agreements within the same country was a beneficial and just proposition. You then went on to justify this by making an analogy between this proposal and the relative global pay rates,  for example, between Mali and Australia. The analogies  were at best wholly misplaced and at worst ludicrous. What did you expect? 

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            If that’s what any reader feels, I am delighted to debate that, with reason and an accepting point of view on both sides.  What is not good is what I received in response, from a poster who is known for his lack of restraint and very often inchoate responses.  Honestly, it is like debating with a drunken 5 year old with a brain injury – it is not worth the candles.

    • Peter Barnard

      Oh dear, Jaime.
       
      People are different, both in themselves and their circumstances. Those in a “strong” position (ie employers in a period of high unemployment) should not take advantage of someone in a “weak” position (ie been out of work for six months or more, and desperate for work).
       
      (i) are you honestly saying that two supermarket employees, working side-by-side on the cash registers, should be employed at different rates for doing the same job just because one had better “negotiating skills” than the other?
       
      (ii) are you honestly saying that engineering companies should employ engineering graduates (mechanical, say) at different rates of pay because of “negotiating skills?”
       
      (iii) as far as the difference in rates of pay country-country, you need to read Professor John Kay’s “The Truth About Markets.”
       
      (iv) this is a lousy idea of Osborne’s, borne out of political ideology (“public sector bad, private sector good”), and it has the potential to open up a bureaucratic nightmare. Housing is just one component (about 17 per cent) of consumer expenditure. Is Mr Osborne going to ask ONS (who else is there?) to calculate a cost-of-living index for each region/city/town? How far is he going to “drill down?” How much would this ONS exercise cost?
       
      None of us is an island. As individuals, so much has been given to us by the quality of our parenting and our education, ie nurture not nature, not to mention the almost inestimable advantage of being born in a country in a temperate climate, and you should not forget that.
       
      There are too many – still – short on nurture. Nature, on its own, is more often than not insufficient.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        @ Peter B,

        (1)  Yes, so long as not below a national minimum wage.

        (2)  Yes, so long as not below a national minimum wage.

        (3)  Globalisation

        (4) This I believe to be the coming reality.  Anyone who does not support global pay banding (with whatever enforcement mechanism) cannot logically support UK pay banding.  So, do you support global pay banding?  If you do, I accept your argument.

        • Peter Barnard

          @ Jaime,
           
          What’s “global pay banding” got to do with varying regional rates of pay in the United Kingdom? The comparison is spurious.
           
          As I say, read Professor John Kay’s “The Truth About Markets.”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            @ Peter,

            simply the observation that there are different rates of pay for the same job in different parts of the world (real life observation), in contrast to some poster’s views that everything is the same rate wherever you are.

            I can confirm that in 1995 a Registrar in general medicine was worth (equivalent) £5,290 in Serbia, and £37,470 in Darlington.  Same job.  In fact the Serbian Registrar got free accommodation, so deduct the cost of that.  Also free evening meals, but it was 101 varieties of dead pig, normally boiled.  I know.  I was that Registrar in Serbia and later Darlington.

          • Alexwilliamz

            My mortgage is more than my work colleagues I should get paid more. I assume then that you agree with Thatcher’s observation that there is no such thing as society? There does seem to be that element missing within your sophisticated analysis. What is it that ties the citizen’s of a nation together, other than common values and collective values. The Labour movement has been about using the power of the collective to make things fair for all, not allow the ‘market’ to force labour to sell itself for a fraction above what a working man/woman can live on. Seems reasonable that parity between people doing the same job within a community could be sustained across a country. That would be part of what ties that country together. Next we’ll be suggesting different labour laws depending where you live, or different standards of health care etc etc. I feel a need to stir this nation up into a recognition of unites us and a vision of a future where saying you are British means a whole lot of things that we could all be proud of. Not this isolationist, self serving mean spirited and reckless government which seems hellbent on turning us into a divided nation of the rich and the poor. With the poor to know their place and take what their given and be grateful for it.

      • Alexwilliamz

        Yep finally Jaime’s everyman for himself philosophy is revealed. I’m not sure what his old man would make of it all. There is some parable in bible about workers in a vinyard I believe…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          I just wish he would stop thinking that his ideological thinking is in any way connected with Labour – when it is clear that his values and views are of the free market right

          • Alexwilliamz

            I think deep down he knows we are right and wants to believe, but something is holding him back, something that is lodged in his mind from the sceptics and mockers. He wants to be taken seriously by the scoffers and their all knowing political economy, and is afraid that if he succumbs to the dream it will turn out to be empty and he cannot take the dissapointment. I also think he ahs been a doctor for too long, being well paid and insulated from the averagely waged has lost track of what really matters.  

    • Robert_Crosby

      You reject collective bargaining.  Don’t you realise that improvement in workplace terms and conditions for employees generally was the initial pre-cursor for sweeping and widespread improvements in societal social provision for all?  If ordinary working people had never organised and mobilised through trade unions, then there would have been no NHS, no system of state education and no universal institution of social services, environmental health and fire and rescue?  None of these services would ever have been established if unions did not exist.

    • Amber Star

      You are mixing up concessions for education & training support with employment contracts/ negotiated wage structures.

      You haven’t negotiated anything. You have simply been allowed paid training & support which is available to any NHS worker who has applied for it & had it approved by their manager.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        @ Amber Star,

        with respect (and of course you can’t see my detailed contract), I don’t believe that is the case.  The NHS has model contracts for most grades, but provides those to PCTs and SHAs as only that, model contracts.  In my case, I’ve negotiated 17 additions and 2 deletions from the model contract.  It was always available to the NHS to say “no”, but their contract negotiator from the HR department did not appear to be very worldly wise.  It’s not really about money in my case (perhaps a total uplift of £5,000 on the model contract), it is about academic freedom to spend working time with blue light services in pursuit of my idea for more effective roadside emergency services, some dedicated time for a religious retreat, plus lots of details about control of my department, budgetary authorisations, and so on.  I have secured a special provision which means that I report to the medical director, not in parallel to the finance director, and also got an extra (beyond standard) £50,000 as discretionary spending for team training and career development for those who work for me.  That was my “price” for taking the job, and they accepted it.

        • derek

          You really have lost the plot. It’s hard to ignore such mania.
          So you openly abuse the child benefit system as you grade it as “free” cash to fund your children’s private education and you think that you personally own a section of our NHS. You tool!

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I’m not abusing the Child Benefit system.  I have two children.  The Government say they will pay £1800 a year for two children for everyone.  I claim it.  That’s not abuse.

            And as I have specifically said before, my children are not privately educated.  Do you know what, Derek, not matter how many times you repeat a lie, it does not make it the truth?

            which bits of the NHS do you think I “own”? I have management responsibility for my own department, I run it to a set of policies and to plans that I previously agree on an annual basis, and I am personally responsible if I get it wrong. If I get it very wrong, I will be sacked and deserve that, but it has not happened yet, nor do I anticipate that. But that is not ownership.

          • derek

            You referred to the benefit as “Free” cash that supported your children’s future private education. Full stop.

            ” for those who work for me” an abstract from your above post, what were you trying to say? I hear Billy Smart is looking for an act.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You are going to have to go back to basic literacy classes.  I talked about university education.  You may have heard that universities are state tertiary  education (that’s 3rd level, if you find that easier), and that there’s a bit of a political row about paying for that.  So far, the rule is that the students do through taking a loan, and then paying that loan back through their working lives, depending on the amount they earn.

            Regarding your second paragraph, I have 19 people who work for me.  19 real people that I look after, and discuss with them how best to develop their careers, and several times a year wave farewell to as their careers take them into new positions beyond my department, and welcome in new people to replace them, and then work with those new people to look at their careers.  What do you expect a departmental manager to do?

          • derek

            In England it’s true because of people like you.

            You don’t employ 19 people? their employed by the NHS. Get on message you bawbag!!!!

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            They are employed by the NHS, but assigned to my department.  Does that make it any easier for you to comprehend?  Take your socks off to help you count if you run out of fingers.

          • derek

            This is becoming very Monty Python, Big nose! It not your department Jaime, you don’t own it.

          • GuyM

            In organisational practice it very much IS his department.

            To think otherwise betrays a lack of management knowledge.

            If authority is delegated to him to manage and run it then it is HIS in operational terms.

          • derek

            That’s the misguided concept here? his employees or his department and his way or no way, power corruptsthe mind and damagesthe ethos of collectiveness. Your both holding on to an old newspaper like headline , the  truth is the appeal has worn off and you neither Jaime can accept it, so the drive is a blind travel full of stupid selfishness, blow the candle out and work with the people for the people.

    • AlanGiles

      There is a great deal of difference talking about differing pay scales in two totally different COUNTRIES and different areas of the SAME – quite small – country. Surely Jaime you can see the comparison is absurd?.  You can also get two completely different set of economic circumstances in one small area – take Tower Hamlets in East London, which includes pockets of serious unemployment, poor housing etc, yet not far away you have the affluence of the Docklands area, with expensive waterside apartments and well paid jobs. Never the twain shall meet, as the saying goes.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        You will find that there are already differing pay scales in regions of our country.  A plasterer in Cumbria does not charge the same rates as one in Kensington.  On the other hand, the cost of accommodation in Kensington is different from that in Cumbria, not to mention the other costs like the congestion charge.  This is real life.

        • derek

          More moronic crap, the congestion charge applies when you use your own transport, it’s doesn’t apply when you use the public transport…idiot! and a bag of browning cost much the same in Cumbria as it does in Kensingston. 

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Have you ever noticed that self-employed workmen tend to have their own vans, because it is more convenient than lugging all of their tools and materials around in a taxi or a bus?

            I really do think you have the intellectual comprehension of a 5 year old.

          • derek

            Do you know that small business and large claim fuel duty return? Let me educate you? if it’s costing more to plaster, it’s a ceiling height issue,i.e. buildings in Kensingston will likely be above and 8 feet standard ceiling height, so scaffolding cost applies. double TIT!

            By the way, you could easily board a bus with a trowel. Kids board buses most day’s with school bags.

            El….Loco!!!!!!

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            How much is the congestion charge in Cumbria, as a percentage of that in Kensington?

            £175 a day in Cumbria, £650 a day in London.  Also quoted prices for complete jobs:  see http://www.whatprice.co.uk/prices/building/plastering-room-skimmed.html

            I hope you’ll be able to stumble through the maths by yourself to realise that it is a bit more pricey in London for the same job.

          • derek

            Is this a congestion charge debate now? have you’d sacked the plasterer! Jeez! you’ve got more moves than Michael Flattery. 

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            No, it is an attempt to introduce you to reality.  Sadly I fear you are not ready for it, but we can try.

          • derek

            Don’t be so obnoxious!

            If your trying to suggest a cost initiative then just ames tape! (dry wall lining of course)

          • Bill Lockhart

            Just  a thought, Derek- maybe don’t switch the conmputer on when you’re bevvied. Then you won’t look like such a bawheid.

          • derek

            Did you read you own link? LoL!
             £8 per m2, INCLUDING MATERIAL, FAST EFFICENT AND EXCELLENT WORK RECCOMENDED: N21 PLASTERING & RENDERING,  £295roomLondon2012-01-06

          • GuyM

            Living costs in london are higher, hourly rates are higher, trades costs are higher, housing costs are higher.

            There are varyances across the UK. The private sector works on those lines, the public sector works to an artificial construct set up to protect union strength.

            Time for it to go, time for employers to be able to pick and chose, to be able to offer performance related pay and not some prehistoric structure currently on offer.

          • derek

            Get real Guy, housing costs are higher because private landlords are screwing the public. Is this your idea of modern Britain? the Mumbai syndrome.

            If you want to end cowboy rip off builders then bring back the trade card and union recognition for all workers. 

            I believe that the last commonwealth games were held in India, day’s before the games were due to open the construction of the facilities were failing apart. I believe the last Olympic games were held in China and the death toll from the Birdsnest stadium was extremely high any many of the unskilled peasant workers never received a penny for the work they done and you want us to introduce that kind of employment in Britain.

            I’m lacing up my boots… Ding Dong!

          • Dave Postles

             Private sector works on those lines?

            You say that, but there is a different take on it.

            http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/author/alastair-hatchett/

            From Incomes Data Services.

        • AlanGiles

          You seem to be overlooking the fact that you can have very different economic circumstances within a very small geographical area. For example, lets take a trip on the Central Line: coming from the City first we reach Leyton (E10) – quite a poor area, lots of empty shops and not very good housing. In a couple of stops we find ourselves at Wanstead (E11) – an East London postcode, but large houses, green spaces, a statue of Sir Winston Churchill on the green (he was the local MP for many years): 1 digit apart, but an entirely different world. Where do you draw the line – literally?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

      Your arguments are cogent Jaime, but for once I find myself pausing for a moment on this issue.

      I accept the logic of paying people a salary that is appropriate to the area in which they are located, and taking that to its conclusion then you arrive at the situation you describe.  However there are a few areas that don’t seem to work for me:

      Firstly the government have control over where these jobs are: either indirectly by growing offices in certain areas (and potentially “downsizing” in others), or directly by relocating staff (from London to Manchester, for example).

      Secondly in the specific cases of NHS Doctors who rotate around the country on various placements, are we to expect that their pay scale changes accordingly?  If so I could see that causing all sorts of problems for those who might have existing financial commitments (pensions, mortgages etc.) as they moved.

      JD

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.farquhar Steven Andrew Farquhar

    can we make positive arguements, like teachers should be paid on the basis of economic value added, where is the most economic value added, why is poor, and typically undereducated populations, it is not a threat this conversatyion is labours moment to shine, to speak to the Liberal beating heart of the british people :)

  • Robert_Crosby

    This is an undisguised attack on trade unionism (you know, the organisations that the Tories have lauded in Poland, Libya, Syria, Iran etc – but never here!).  I saw a clown from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on BBC News today saying that it was “odd” that people in public sector jobs might be paid more than their private sector comparators in any area.

    That idiot clearly discounts or fails to understand what trade unionism is about.  Too many private sector people have bought the Tories’ ‘race to the bottom’ mantra.  They will suffer again if the Tories – and Lib Dems – force this through.  Private sector people… defend yourselves, unionise and organise!

    What is it going to take for the British people to take to the streets en masse?!

    • William

      The IFS is always introduced by the BBC as an independent organisation. It isn’t. It is a right-wing Tory Thatcherite think-tank.

      • Robert_Crosby

        Absolutely.  Ed Balls’s “we are very cautious about this” line just won’t be enough if we are to challenge this poison and prevent it from becoming a “consensus”.

        • William

          Yes but with a media poised to present us in a negative light at every turn, sometimes we have no option but to be cautious lest we fall in to a trap.

          • Robert_Crosby

            I don’t accept that.  People want hope.  I know of people who teach, who work in the NHS and who work in crucial local authority services who feel let down by the lack of vocal support from Miliband and Balls.  It’s important that we argue for what we value to slow the Tories and LDs down as much as possible and to ensure that there’s something left to save when Labour wins again.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Public sector work in poorer areas tends to be harder anyway, as there is often more demand than resources and often anti-social issues. So this reform will effectively make working in leafy suburbs and wealthy areas even more attractive as not only are the conditions better but now so will the pay. I’d be fascinated to know how he envisages this to work, will it be by authority, region etc? Anyone would think we lived in some vast geographic nation with far flung outposts with radically different costs of living when you hear nonsense like this. Yet where is the opposition. Has London really become so far removed from the rest of the country to believe it can survive in its own little bubble?

  • Franwhi

    After all the other attacks on the living standards of UK workers will Labour finally take a stand on this one or are the party strategists already contorting themselves trying to triangulate this one away as well in case it upsets new or switching prospective Labour voters. Osborne is gifting you an open goal. Get real and stand up for the core Labour vote and build a narrative with power that gives people some real hope. If there was ever a time to earn your money it is now – no ifs, no buts, no maybes.
    PS Thank God again I live in Scotland 

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      Expect triangulation from New Labour. Interesting that in the last few days we’ve had reports of a campaign calling on the Queen to refuse royal assent to health reforms and doctors opposed to the Tory-led government’s health reforms have announced plans to stand against senior Coalition MPs in the next general election.

      It seems no one turns to New Labour for opposition. I’m an L.P. member and I don’t hold out much hope of the Westminster New Labour elite getting their act together. The PLP is not fit for purpose.

      • AlanGiles

        Good morning Dave. I saw something on here yesterday that should make any remaining Blairites and New Labourites think long and hard. I can’t be bothered – unless forced – to go back and trawl through the many missives “Guy M” daubed here yesterday, but the only complimentary one seemed to be an approval of Tony Blair!

        Labour seriously needs to think long and hard about the support they want – do they want those of us who have been around a long time and wish to see a more equal society, or do they really want selfish snobs like him?.. I suspect the party is no longer strong enough to cater for both groups.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

          I can’t determine whether this in an appeal to accomplishment, spite or motive, or simply judgemental language, but either way it is a logical fallacy: just because Guy presents a personality which exemplifies much of what you dislike about “the right”, doesn’t mean that anything he agrees with automatically becomes wrong, nor that anyone who agrees with them becomes automatically like Guy.

          “Blairites” and the centre-left are not Tory: if you cannot make the distinction then consider that perhaps it is you viewing the party from too great a distance away…

          • AlanGiles

            David, Don’t tell me you really believe Blair, Mandelson, Straw, Hutton and Purnell are “centre left”?. We obviously have very different ideas on that position!. Even Blair himself admitted to “political cross-dressing”.

            On the subject of “Guy” I actually suspect rather than living on the North Downs he is probably bashing away in a bedsit in Stoke Newington and his name is Fred, but we have to take at face value what he says: he is one of the most odious snobs it has ever been my misfortune to encounter, but his self-interest is such that he regarded Blair as somebody who just “let him get on with it”. I have met many Conservatives who admired Blair, and felt that he was a more credible leader, representing their own interests, than their own leader. He was a Tory for people who couldn’t quite bring themselves to vote Conservative 1997-2010. A bit like those “jazz lovers” whose CD collections groan under the weight of CDs by cabaret singers – people who like jazz but can’t stand the noise.

            The point is if Ed Miliband or his successor wants to drag the party back to the warmongering Blair, Labour is in danger of recruiting a load of “Guys”, who will stay with them for a season, till they get a real Tory leader they like, but they will lose much of their core support – or – should I say, that part  of the core vote that still supports them.

          • treborc

             Most of those Tories that admired Blair were in fact in the labour party, a lot were in the dam government

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            Despite you and treborc indulging in a “self-liking” loop on each others comments, I don’t believe you represent the view of the wider party, and more crucially, the country on this.

            Sorry.

          • AlanGiles

            You are entitled to your own opinion, however to quite a lot of people mention Blair and you automatically think of all the wars he involved us in – the total disaster of Afghanistan and Iraq. You think of his fawning to George Bush, and in his merciful retirement the conceit of his “peace envoy” status in addition to the money grubbing self-promotion you think of Blair and see a man exceedingly pleased with himself with his self-delusion.

            If labour go back to that sort of behaviour, be it under either Miliband or a Blair retread they are condeming themselves to opposition. Blair may have been the answer in 1997, but a Blair tribute act sure as hell isn’t now

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            This is a red herring: I agree that we participated in Iraq on dubious reasons, although Afghanistan cannot really be judged in the same light despite the hindsight we can now apply to that conflict, however warmongering is not necessarily a “right wing” tendency, nor can the evidence of the UK’s support of the US foreign policy be taken to be proof of Blair’s “Tory” status.

          • AlanGiles

            David, with respect, we are never going to agree on this, so let’s not try. It would be interesting to take a vote on it.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            Agreed :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I left the Labour party because of Blair’s foreign policy, in 2004. I thought it was fundamentally wrong. The party lost many others who have never returned. On the NHS demos I have met many people who are Labour’s natural voters but remain sceptical

          • treborc

             I’m willing to give Miliband a chance, but he has to make an effort to tell us where labour is going. We have seen Obama and Cameron cosy up, Iran anyone.

          • treborc

            God help us…..

          • treborc

            Oh you mean the country that gave you a bloody nose, labour lost the last election and although the Tories did not win they had enough for a coalition.

            The day hass gone that people voted labour because they are the party of the working class, labour has told us it’s now the party of the middle class.

            so who will win the middle class, the Tories have the upper hand they can give things to the middle class, while labour can only promise.

          • treborc

             Seems I do actually otherwise Labour would still be in power….

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Guy is too much of a caricature to be real.

          • treborc

            God your not saying he’s not a plant are you, your not saying he really believes the rubbish he spouts about  not taxing the rich and the poor should be paying more.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            There is a wealth of evidence that many people believe exactly that… have you not realised that most people don’t vote Tory just to spite Labour?  This is why political arguments must be won with logic, not insults.

          • treborc

            well some people need insulting.

        • AlanGiles

          I’ve just run across the post I mentioned (I still had the link on my email list):

          It was towards the end of the Child Benefit thread:

          “No thanks, simply mind your own business Alan, and I’ll continue to argue that is exactly what you and your political soulmatea should do always.
          If Labour returns to a Blairite trend of distanced macro management and lets go of the worse excess of socialist lecturing that Milliband is drifting into then maybe you’ll get re-elected.”

          Although allowance has to be made for the fact that he was, by the sound of it, getting a bit tired and emotional by then, I think he is completely wrong in assuming EM is even remotely approaching socialism in any meaningful sense – indeed keep your head down and say nothing appears to be his preferred stance – nothing, I think, proves that more than when last week he pleaded illness to avoid a meeting with doctors on NHS reform, to go to a football match.

          It also proves to me Blair was always more appreciated by Conservatives than he was by traditional Labour voters – birds of  a feather, and all that.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            There are no grounds for a Tory to get worked up about a socialist threat from ‘Red’ Ed or Labour. That’s just deranged hokum.

            But, for me, it is unfortunate that Labour haven’t made the adjustment to opposition. It’s the same old faces with a muddle of policies that seem to only differ from the Tories in managerial style. The only persistent intent is a resolute focus on England’s S.E. swing voters – viewed as the new centre-ground. This will only lead to more of the unprincipled, opportunistic and now discredited triangulation approach. I’m sure this priority only exists because it reflects the life experience of those responsible for it – the poor things are doing their best, but within their limitations! Such a position, however, is too limited for a national political party and won’t, by itself, win a general election.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I think its actually quite common for parties to do this.  But Labour are not going to win many seats in the south-east, and don’t need to. 

    • Peter L Carabine

      Well said Franwhi; this budget looks like  the tipping point in the swing to the Osborne hard Right, a fundamental betrayal by the Lib Dems of their urban vote and a golden opportunity for Labour to capture the public’s imagination by simply stating those on a quarter of million have tax cuts while so many UK people will suffer income loss.

  • GuyM

    Nothing you can do to stop it, just as there was nothing you could do to stop the NHS bill.

    It will come into force and work through the system for 3 years, by which time you won’t be able to afford to reverse it.

    Bye bye national pay bargaining, bye bye a bit more Union power, bye bye a bit more redistribution.

  • Franwhi

    Forgot to ask – will there be regional variations for MPs ?

    • AlanGiles

      Good point – but I doubt it. They are very delicate, special little souls. It really angers me that the hideous Duncan-Smith and Byrne can be so relaxed about youngsters working for Tesco free, to get their £53.45 a week JSA, see nothing morally wrong in claiming “food allowance” each month, while the young lad or girl still has to buy their own. Just one example where MPs of all parties are so out of touch with real life

  • Dave Postles

    Employers – including those in the public sector – have conventionally argued that the salary for the job should depend on the intrinsic responsibilities of the  job, according to a post description and an evaluation of the tasks.  There was no admission of comparability which was regarded, rightly, as an external factor.  The remuneration for the job should depend entirely on the responsibilities of the post not on some assessment of the external environmental factors. 

  • Bill Lockhart

    If the cost of living in one place is 60% of the cost of living in another place, why should public sector jobs requiring the same skill set pay the same in both places? Why should someone have an automatically far higher disposable income for doing exactly the same job in an area with lower housing costs? Private sector salaries reflect these differences , why on earth should public sector employers be forced to ignore them?

    • Dave Postles

       The politics of envy raises its head.  Why should they be paid the same? – precisely because they are performing exactly the same responsibilities.  The external environment is immaterial to the job evaluation.  If you wish to increase your salary as a senior manager in a private firm, I presume the company, for this purpose, performs a job evaluation or a performance review. 

      Would you prefer that these civil servants remain in London at London costs with London weighting and London office costs?  Tax offices were moved to Nottingham to save money.  Many of the tax officers refused to move to Nottingham because they did not wish to leave London.  Too bad.  How will you, on a practical level, address the anomalies?  I’ve never lived in the place where I worked (sadly) because of my wife’s job.  So I worked in Sheffield, but lived in Nottingham and Pinxton (very cheap).  Increasing numbers of people are commuting to work in ‘provincial’ England.  How will you correlate their postcode of employment with their postcode of habitation? 

      On this list, people have decried the North as a place to be avoided because they would never wish to live there.  So they have exercised their choice and must take the consequences in terms of the standard of living.  Those who are prepared to live there should not be penalized, but probably rewarded for tacking the issues here: living amongst ‘chavs’, the deprived, with areas of industrial wasteland, masses of unemployed etc – all those distasteful aspects which southerners are attempting to avoid.  Teachers are not part of this remit (yet), but any teacher who works in an area of deprivation deserves salary increments, not to be penalized because of their workplace (a point related to the one made by Alan).

      • Dave Postles

        FWIW Rochdale to Sheffield commute too.
        ‘Never’ should be hardly ever .

  • Daniel Speight

    Whether some like it or not, social democratic parties are there to redistribute wealth by reforming the system. Of course the Tories are in their own way also believers in wealth redistribution, although in their case in the opposite direction. 

    Since the 1970s we have seen a reaction to gradual, then post war consensus of the very gradual equalization of wealth. (It still left the most wealthy very rich but the gap between richest and poorest was beginning to narrow.) This consensus did cross political parties although the speed of change was argued about. So up until that time we had Labour, Liberals and the (One Nation) Tories in some sort of agreement.

    The change came with the neo-liberal version of economic theory. From that point we see gap widening. We should not be surprise when we hear Osborne talk about reducing taxes on the top 1% while at the same time reducing wages of those working in the north. It needs Ed Balls to lay down some markers on the zonal changes in state sector  pay. If we need more London weighting style allowances to workers pay in the south then have them. What there’s no need for is the removal of national pay bargaining unless you agree with the dismantling of what’s left of the unions, which Osborne obviously does.

    Now if I were one of the top 1% I could possibly take another a view, but when I look in the comments and see the usual suspects jumping up in support of that top 1% without probably being members of it, I find it rather sickening. It carries with it the smell of the toady, the bootlick, of kowtow, of forelock tugging and even of the nark and stoolie, but that’s just my sense of course.

  • mikestallard

    I am 72 years old.
    When I was young, the North of England was vibrant and everyone was in full employment.When I was middle aged, the Trades Unions insisted on higher working standards just as the rest of the world was waking up to taking over our position as ship builder, coal miner, electricity supplier and car producer.Now, the North has its wish. Demands on employers are very high and the national wage is well above the rest of the world.But all the factories, shipyards and mines have closed. And the national debt is bigger than after the second world war (allowing for inflation).We cannot compete with China, Singapore and Poland without hard work, suffering and thrift.So which is it to be?

    • Daniel Speight

       And yet Mike I’m not sure your 72 years have really taught you that much. The de-industrialization of Britain was a conscious decision taken by government. It was a decision that other governments like Germany and France didn’t take. That may be why they still have industry in spite of having wage levels above working standards above us.

      • mikestallard

        Do you really believe that? Blame the government (again). 
        Just go to Singapore. Or Dubai. Look at what is happening! 
        Unless we can work that hard, capital will flow Eastwards and we will be left much the poorer.
        Isn’t that just a plain fact of life?
        I cannot see what the EU or our own government can do about that.

        • AlanGiles

          You can certainly blame Mrs Thatcher’s government, who was so keen on Britain becoming a “service industry” country, and who did little or nothing to aid the manufacturing industries – and – it has to be said – Major and Blair just continued with the same sort of belief in the “knowledge based” industries. Really nothing has been done to aid manufacturing since the founding of the National Enterprise Board by Harold Wilson’s government.

          • mikestallard

            I am not into blame. I do not live in the past.

          • Daniel Speight

             It is useful to be able to learn from the past Mike, and you have had quite a bit of it to learn from. Shame you haven’t used that opportunity.

            Do you have an explanation of why German industry, with all the problems of  high costs associated with being a Western country, has done so well while Britain’s industry has died?

            You see that proves the lie that all you need to do to compete with the East is lower your wages or standard of living to match theirs.

            Government blame? Yes by allowing the City to control government policy.

          • treborc

            Germany used cheap labour to keep down labour costs, it was only two years ago they accepted  people should be paid a decent wage, I know I went over to get a job.

        • Alexwilliamz

          Not the government, but a wider trait amongst those who have run this country for the last one hundred odd years, (albeit with a brief respite period in the 40s and 60s) who seem to be anti-industry in the manufacturing/building sense. it is quite clear that there has always been a snobbery against  the ‘dirty engineer’ and industrialist. Whether lampooning the northern industrialists as they scrambled to buy land and titles (and thus pumping cash into a fading elite) or outright disdain for anyone who got their hands dirty for a living, it is quite clear that when gvts talk about business they only imagine the selling side and never the making. Unlike Germany and France to a lesser extent the engineer has never been embraced and admired over here, instead they have been relegated to the garden shed, out of sight and mind. Meanwhile the shopkeepers have quitely gone on their business of selling other people’s things until there was nothing left to sell, then they invented things that have never and will never exist to sell instead. It would be nice to see a real industrial policy from this or any government, but I fear their idea of innovation does not move beyond a shiny looking office complex. Ho hum we shall see.

          • mikestallard

            So are you prepared to reform the EU with its burgeoning bureaucracy linked umbilically to our own Civil Service and by-passing our elected representatives?

          • Alexwilliamz

            Someone needs to. Why not someone who believes in European Union but not the one we have got…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001102865655 John Ruddy

    Ending national pay bargaining seems perverse to me. When in the 60’s (under Wilson) the start was made to move Government functions out of London, it was precisely because it would provide high skilled jobs to the regions, higher pay and levels of employment would boost the local (private sector) economy, and stop the brain drain to London.

    If a young person gets a degree or other skill, what is to keep them in their local area? All this will do is re-enforce the dominant position of London in our economy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      More than this, it will actually keep some areas as a low-waged, low-level economy – and further overheat the south-east, which will mean moire house price rises etc

      Simply doesn’t make sense as a strategy

  • Dave Postles

    Private sector regional pay rates?

    http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2012/01/regional-pay-the-top-ten-myths/

    Alistair Hatchett of Incomes Data Service.

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