Patrick Roach of NASUWT calls on education secretary Gillian Keegan to reopen pay talks
There are many in the UK who are deserving of good pay rises, some, perhaps, even more so than Teachers, Nursers and junior doctors, but, if these others went on strike many in the UK would not notice and many wonldn’t care. This is because, just as we tend to do, we are taking on the American culture of me, me, me to be first, second and third and others way down.
Yes, these workers have suffered by previous too small pay increases and perhaps even no increases and that also is totally wrong for, especially a government should not enforce pay freezers. For that is abuse of power.
Rather than strike, no matter how justified a pay claim is the claim should be put to independent arbitration, such as ACAS and this should the Law in every case as many strikes affect innocent parties much more than the strikers, and those who employ them.
Why should the innocent suffer when they have no say in what occurs for this is total punishment on the innocent.
This so much more so when the employer is the government as governments don’t care, no matter which political party they represent.
So all Parties to pay claims go to arbitration and not make the innocent suffer.
Three doctors share their views on the dispute that will lead to 350,000 cancelled appointments in England
I feel for anyone who is employed and not being paid their true worth, which could apply to many within the UK as the disparity in many areas between the highest and lowest remunerations in many situations is so great.
However, within many, if not all areas, these areas depend on everyone who is employed for these areas to survive and progress, so no one person should ever be discounted.
Unfortunately in some of these areas the government plays a part and hardly ever, if at all, to the advantage of most of the persons employed.
Every person no matter who they are should be entitled to a yearly increment of at least the rate of inflation for to not do so is deeming the persons employed. So every time a government states that remunerations are not being increased and if increased by less than the rate of inflation is deeming every one of those persons employed.
Unfortunately these government interventions occurs far too often with persons employed in Public employed areas, while not so much in Private employed areas.
A Government should never be allowed to intervene in these ways and it should be illegal to do so. Instead all parties should be legally required to access fully independent arbitration on which the eventual outcome is accepted by all parties. So strikes should never be required and then not one person will be inconvenienced.
But there are many areas in the UK where strikes rarely occur if at all and these include areas of agricultural work, all areas of hospitality and all areas of care work to name just three. For these areas to strike would be not advantageous to anyone especially those employed as they earn so little many just above the National living Wage and in some instances less if the workers are under 23. These workers are just as essential as all other workers and should be regarded as so.
So while not striking they decide not to be employed in these areas so causing extreme problems for others, let alone themselves.
As with agricultural workers farm produce is not harvested and left to waste so depleting the food stocks available within the UK,
Within hospitality this causes shortage in all areas of hospitality, some being hotels, Pubs and restaurants and many others.
Then with care workers major staff shortages in care homes, home care, supported living, respite, hospices and others and not just for the elderly, which many believe are the only ones affected, but includes all ages of children and adults.
Unfortunately all these areas are classed as being unskilled, when this is totally not so and should never be classed as so.
Take care workers for it is believed that all they do, is get people washed and dressed, help them to toilet and prepare meals, now while that is part there is so much more. For the persons they are caring for are human being and as such have their own rights to be given and shown respect, have their dignity respected, their belongings respected and looked after. But there is so much more. The caring as to be centred around the person, each individual person and each person being cared for how each person so wishes. How they were cared for yesterday, may not be exactly how they wish to be cared for today and more likely not tomorrow, for we all change our views and opinions regularly. Many will need emotional support as well, in many instances support in manging their finances and in all instances full safeguarding as many will be deemed as being vulnerable in many respects. The caring being given needs to be modified as often as each individual deems so for no matter where they are it is their home and that also needs to be understood and respected.
All of this requires many areas and levels to be considered and that means each and every care workers needs to have these skills, otherwise the care being given will not be to the standard required. To pay these workers the legal minimum are just above is totally disrespecting each and every carer and they all need to be remunerated for the skills they have to have. So the current rate of around £11 per hour is so way short and it needs to be around at least £14 and in many instances so much higher.
This is required immediately and then annual increments, at least in-line with the rate of inflation be then given. However, for this to occur the providers who employ these care workers also need a rate to enable them to do so and most providers receive this from the respective local authorities, (LAs). But, these same have since 2010 been subjected to severe austerity cuts imposed by the then governments and still are being in many respects. The current Government needs to remove all austerity cuts and immediately restore all funding to LAs to the levels of 2010 and to not impose any more cuts on LAs financing. In reality the funding needs to be much more than the 2010 levels for then these levels were totally insufficient.
By this government not doing so they are, effectively reducing every persons quality of living in the UK and the lower a person earns the greater this inequality will be.
The government mentions ‘Levelling Up’ but really they have no understanding of what Levelling Up is and what it entails. The Government and the Ministers and many MPs have no understanding at all and they all urgently need to acquire this understanding.
Unfortunately with regards to MPs it relates to MPs no matter to which Party they say they belong to.
Parliament is totally giving the entire population of the UK no respect at all and in a so-called democracy this is truly a great disgrace. And everyone in the UK deserves so much better from our elected representatives.
Routine appointments suspended for up to a week to deal with junior doctors’ walkout
Most of the strikes which have occurred, are occurring and still to occur are all down to Government actions now and in the past with their exceedingly disruptive incidences of interfering in areas where their knowledge is way insufficient, not providing to persons employed sufficient remuneration for the work they undertake and effectively discounting the benefits they contribute to all in the UK.
This is a great dereliction of duty to not only the workers affected but to all in the UK and this government and all those governments previously to which it pertains to should be condemned.
No matter who they are they should be suitably remunerated for the work they do, while many in government are remunerated for work they don’t do or do exceedingly badly, so they should be made to return any remuneration they have not reasonably earnt. That should be at least their minimum accountability, for everyone in government should be always held accountable and then better governing could, possibly be done.
Unfortunately, currently, there is no accountability and this is completely wrong. It is held that the accountability rests with the UK population at every General Election, but there should be something which is there immediately there are actions done which are deemed to lack accountability. Having immediate accountability would mean they act with accountability in every instance.
Due to many workers in the UK being paid salaries which are insufficient has lead to much unrest in the UK and in many areas where strikes have yet to occur and in some instances where strikes will never occur, but will mean no one wishes to be employed in these areas or if they are unable to live on what they receive.
With the wealth in the UK this is totally unacceptable and we need a government that will right this wrong for everyone.
But, from what I see this will never occur for all who may come next are, in reality about the same as we have now, but just a different political party.
We need to scrap all the political parties and have a government of the people from the people and not from irrelevant political parties.
I am not qualified to talk about Pay for Teachers, but pay is but one aspect of the strike action, for there are others. Be their pay be good or not there is a shortage of teachers and other forms of support in schools. Schools are also extremely short of many other resources vital to the actions of teaching and much of this is down to the continued spending cuts imposed by Governments.
No matter how much one is paid they need all the resouces available to do the job completely and this is not occurring currently.
Exclusive: Voters will ‘punish’ Tories over low pay at general election in 2024, says Paul Nowak
No matter what Sunak does, the Tories are finished at the next election, but those waiting in the Wings are not much better.
What is needed is a completely new Party for the average British worker, one who is not influenced by the Rich, which all our major political Parties are.
This will require a major change to the funding of UK politics, where currently donators are giving for their own ends and not for the benefit ofeveryone.
When it comes to employees being remunerated be it public or private organisation they should be remunerated on the basis of what is a deserved remuneration, where all factors are taken into account, the ability of the employer to pay, the positivity of the employees to work, the productivity that is generated by both employers and employees, with the cost of living being a factor, but not over all the others.
Where any agreements to a remuneration package can’t be agreed there should be a true and independent arbitrator organisation whose decision will have to be totally binding on all parties.
In this I would include MPs whose remuneration should be based on what they deliver, so this could be them giving back rather than receiving, but in reality if they have appeared lacking then no increase awarded.
All this been said, the remunerations in the UK have, for many, been far to low for many in the UK, and some much more than others.
Care workers being just one for care workers have always been poorly paidwhich is why Social Care is in such a bad way currently, but it has been for many years, perhaps always has been, but the present is making it so much worse. This is one of the major reasons for the current failings in the NHS for without a strong and efficient Social Care the NHS is being set up to fail, no matter how much investment is brought into it.
But there are other, agriculture and hospitality to name just 2 more.
The governing bodies within the UK have been failing the majority of workers in the UK for way too long and if this is to improve the Rights of all UK employees to receive a decent remuneration have to be abided by. Perhaps to legally state that the persons at the top of every organisation can only receive a remuneration which is a certain percentage above that of the lowest paid employees of the organisation.
This and every future UK Government needs to ensure that there is true equality in the UK and not the rich and powerful being able to reduce equality for those not as rich and powerful as they are.
But the UK is not just an island for external events do have a bearing on how the UK can survive, so existing will not be easy so we all need to ‘pull’ together and not, which is occurring, only out for ourselves.
Second strike of week begins after TSSA union accepts pay deal with Network Rail
So many strikes currently and virtually every one of them is affecting the public who have no influence in any of them.
Yes, in the UK remunerations for work done are not good in virtually every area of employment, unless you are MPs or captains of industry. The austerity cuts imposed since 2010 only made matters so much worse. Also, there are any so much more worse off, those in care, agriculture, and hospitality and many more.
With the Railways many unions have settled but not the RMT so why are they different they say because it is not all about money but safety. However, technology is forever improving and so some parts of jobs will be lost, that is inevitable. Network Rail have apparently said there will be no compulsory redundancies, but there will need to be changes to some working practices. Travellers are already moving away from rail travel and will most likely never return, so even less jobs eventually.
As to nurses no one would begrudge them a good remuneration for the work they do and there are tremendous shortages but so are in other employments causing many problems some which are interrelated; shortages of care workers which seriously affects the NHS and in turn nurses.
Also, the NHS is not only reliant on nurses for there are Doctors, support workers, porters, catering, administration and others all of whom will be wishing remuneration increases, so whatever the nurses receive will be required by them also.
When remunerations have been agreed it will not be fully funded by the Government for it never is and a good part of any increase will need to be funded from current NHS budgets which means less money available for NHS treatments.
Why not bring in compulsory independent arbitration which is legally binding on all parties.
What are the RMT demands compared with Network Rail’s pay current offer? Here’s what’s on the table at the moment
Lets face it strikes benefit no one, the employers, the employees and in many respects the public, so no strike should be started until all avenues have been exhausted.
In fact, it could be argued whether strikes should be allowed at all, surely independent arbitration should be a consideration on which the outcome is binding on all parties.
Then at least the public would not suffer from actions that are totally outwith their control or influene what the public will do, which could be to take their custom elsewhere or do without the service completely.
If customers stop using a service then the income to the employers reduces and so there is less finance to fund remunnerations to employees so in these circumstances striking is benefiting no one.
Reunerations in many employments in the UK are poor in comparisons to similar employments in other countries and some employments are much worse than others. Some of these employments include care, hospitality and agriculture but there are many others, in these vacancies are excessive causing many problems, but due to the low remunerations not enough persons in the UK are taking these employments and the UK immigration rules are not allowing sufficient persons to enter the UK to fill these vacancies.
We are experiencing crisis after crisis and no one is willing to act, which is mainly the Government, who do need to do what is required for all concerned and not just sit back and do nothing for it is their duty to act for all concerned.
The government blames the unions for strikes – but what’s the truth?
‘This is effectively a general strike’
“This is looking increasingly like a general strike” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail, 7 December
“It’s almost like a de facto general strike taking place by the amount of disputes” – Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, 3 December
Everyone agrees that industrial action in the weeks running up to Christmas will have a significant impact. But claims from both sides that the whole economy will grind to a halt in a “general strike” exaggerate the parallels with the past.
As this explainer from Philip Inman sets out, it used to be possible for the Trades Union Congress to coordinate a general strike without ballots in each area. But now the law bans strikes without a successful ballot in an individual workplace.
It might still be possible for a “de facto general strike” to happen if enough industries succeeded in bringing industrial action at the same time. But union representation in the UK since the Winter of Discontent in 1978 and 1979 has fallen significantly, from around 50% in 1979 to around 23% in 2021, although it is still around 50% in the public sector. The reality of the 1979 comparison is made clear in Richard Partington’s piece from 8 December, which points out that while the number of working days lost this year could reach 1.74m, in September 1979 alone, 12m days were lost.
‘Striking workers are being greedy and their demands are unaffordable’
“Where is [Rishi Sunak’s] big effort to mobilise the country against these greedy union extremists?” – Douglas Murray, The Sun, 8 December
“Inflation-matching or inflation-busting pay rises are unaffordable … There simply isn’t the money.”Transport secretary Mark Harper, Sky News, 27 November
One way to get at the question of affordability is to examine the government’s claims of the cost to taxpayers. Rishi Sunak claims that it would cost about £1,000 extra per household to give pay rises offsetting 10% inflation this year. But Ben Zaranko of the Institute for Fiscal Studies points out in this BBC Reality Check piece that once you factor in the 3% average pay rises for public sector workers already budgeted for 2022-23, the real “extra” cost is around £640 per household, about a third of which would be returned in tax.
The question of whether a bit over £400 per household is affordable – with the greatest burden falling on the richest – is ultimately a political judgment. We can also ask whether it is true, as is often claimed, that pay rises will stoke inflation. This piece by Richard Partington yesterday argues that fears a “wage-price spiral” is under way are overplayed. The Bank of England estimates holding overall wage growth to 2.5% could reduce inflation by 1.5 percentage points – “a drop in the ocean” compared to the impact of soaring energy prices.
‘NHS strikes are putting people in danger’
“[Ambulance staff] joined the service to save lives, not put them at risk” – Conservative MP Mike Penning, Daily Mail, 6 December
“It will cause pain and discomfort for people and put lives at risk” – Whitehall source, Daily Express, 6 December
One common theme of coverage of planned strikes by nurses and other NHS workers is a possible risk to patient safety – and there will clearly be some discomfort or delay as a result of the action. But it is another step to suggest that lives will be put at risk.
The evidence from previous strikes suggests that it is possible to take industrial action without jeopardising safety. An Independent article published in August pointed to a 2018 BMJ study which found no measurable impact on mortality during junior doctors’ strikes in 2016, although it added that there were fewer A&E admissions and attendances. A strike in Northern Ireland in 2019 ended with “no adverse incidents” for patients, the RCN says.
‘Negotiating is out of the government’s control’
“My role is to facilitate and support – not negotiate.” – Mark Harper, letter to RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, 29 November
“The essential discussions have to occur between the rail operating companies, Network Rail and the unions.” – work and pensions secretary Mel Stride, TalkTV, 23 November
Government ministers say that they stay out of negotiations, and that their hands are tied by independent pay bodies – with the government yesterday refusing the nursing union’s request to negotiate for that reason. But there are reasons to be sceptical about that account.
On Thursday, the FT reported that employers had planned to offer the RMT a 10% pay rise over two years, only for the government to intervene. The eventual offer was 8% over two years, tied to the introduction of driver-only trains. That was not denied by the Department for Transport, while the FT quotes an “industry figure” as calling the intervention a “clumsy mis-step” that exacerbated the situation.
‘The public opposes strikes’
“The put-upon public are turning against militant unions set on ruining Christmas.” – report in the Sun, 6 December
“Civil servants shouldn’t expect sympathy for their strikes from the working taxpayers who pay their wages.” – John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers Alliance, 10 November
Opponents of strikes naturally wish to present themselves as the voices of ordinary working people. But the reality of the polling is more complicated.
Last week, for example, a YouGov poll found that only 37% of people support striking rail workers, against 51% opposed. But an Observer poll found 40% blaming the government and rail companies, with 37% holding unions responsible – and also showed big majorities supporting nurses.
If that picture is mixed, that is probably worse news for the government than unions, who certainly want public backing but ultimately answer only to their membership. The battleground now is whether the reality of strikes in the run-up to Christmas turn voters against the unions – or reinforces the sense that industrial action is part of a wider picture of government incompetence.
To strike or not to strike, well that is the question. But, is it easy to answer for it all depends on who you believe, for it could be that each party is exaggerating the areas in question.
It is true that inflation has begun to rise, now 9.1% from the similar period last year, so say, a 3% salary increase would be, in real terms’ a wage cut. It is also said that due to COVID and persons working from home there has been a reduction in rail travel of say, 20% and by striking this reduction could well increase and be hard to recover, especially in the short term.
The government could do more for all UK workers by bringing in tax cuts to Income tax, thereby increasing net pay, by reducing the rate of VAT, which would reduce, to some extent, the costs of goods and services, but would mean there would be less revenue for the Government, thereby to recover this shortfall some Government spending could have to reduced, which could lead to some services being reduced, especially those funding by Local Authorities, as, to a large extent the Government funds Local Authorities. But there are other services and organisations which are funded by the Government, including the Police, the armed services, the NHS, etc., so funding could have to be cut to these organisations and services.
With the railways some alterations to working conditions could be a solution to save on costs and release more money for salaries, as there are some restrictive practices. Some of these are relating to work processes before modernisations or automations were made, such as ticket machines instead of ticket booking offices. But the Unions appear to be against alterations affecting the reductions in the workforce due to these modernisations and automations, so staff are effectively having less to do. There are also possible future automations, such as driverless trains, automated track inspections, automated signaling and others.
But there is something which has not been mentioned to any large degree and that is the large pay gap from the lowest paid workers to that of the highest paid workers, of which the highest would be the Chief Executives, so the highest paid could have there salaries restricted to a certain percentage increase above that of the lowest paid.
Much needs to be looked at and nothing should be off the table, including compulsory arbitration on all parties, with strikes being not required.
If you vote yes it is not for the status qou as the EU is for ever changing and the bigger it gets the less say individual countries will have. Brexit is the only way for the UK to decide its future, so Vote Leave.