Making a pay claim for 2008

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steven
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Joined: 31-08-06
Dec 14 2007 09:43
Making a pay claim for 2008

Right, so many of the UK public sector pay struggles for 2007 are over, reported here: www.libcom.org/pay-2007

With the exception of civil servants (and the police!), which are still ongoing.

The main disputes in 2007 were pretty well sabotaged by the unions. First by their nature in dividing different groups of workers from each other, then more actively by either recommending the pay cut – UNISON health, Unite, GMB – or calling off industrial action – UNISON local govt (LG), CWU.

Unions are building up now to make claims for 2008. They're saying that they won't take another cut, and in claims some at least are putting in claims to make up for last year. UNISON LG is aiming to put in a claim for 6% (4% inflation + 2% cut last year). My branch rejected that in favour of a £2,000 fixed rise for everyone. My branch always does that as fixed rises are much bigger than %ages as they reduce wage differentials.

The left will do what they did last year, which is call for the unions to launch a united and co-ordinated campaign, which the unions won't do.

What should we do?

I'll post my thoughts in a minute.

steven
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Joined: 31-08-06
Dec 14 2007 09:52

Right, well firstly I think generally trying to build links and communicate across different groups of workers is of utmost importance. Without a groundswell of feeling for united action it won't happen. However, for those of us on the ground, it's very hard to even think about trying to get 3-4 million workers communicating with each other. Things like royalmailchat and Dispatch were a small and very small step in this direction. This should be built on.

Secondly, the unions. It's true that they sabotaged the disputes, by their nature as legal entities (co-ordinating action is basically illegal), and in some cases with more active sabotage. However, if they hadn't put in claims there wouldn't've been a pay "rise" at all. In UNISON, members voting to reject the 2% offer meant we got a 2.475% offer. This is a slight improvement. If more members had voted for industrial action the leadership would've been less likely to call it off. Also, if more people had been union members I think that would've been another upward pressure on the employers.

So I think it's worth appealing to union members to vote to reject deals. I think it's probably worth people joining unions as well. But I think we should stress that the unions will sabotage the disputes, and workers must try to go beyond them.

I think we should attempt to report as widely as possible, the pay disputes – posting stuff to libcom, for example – and the machinations of the unions. libcom wasn't so good at this this year, on an analysis level. Maybe writing a post mortem this year would be good…

magnifico
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Joined: 29-11-05
Dec 14 2007 11:29

edit: misread the title & thought it was about public sector struggles generally, not just pay - sorry

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2007 11:52

One of the people involved in Dispatch will hopefully be writing up a post-mortem - maybe we should start another thread just for post-mortems in tandem with this one?

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 14 2007 12:03
Mike Harman wrote:
One of the people involved in Dispatch will hopefully be writing up a post-mortem - maybe we should start another thread just for post-mortems in tandem with this one?

yup good idea. can you get him to contribute to it?

magnifico wrote:
edit: misread the title & thought it was about public sector struggles generally, not just pay - sorry

well of course that's another issue... workers are quite apathetic about these pay things. in my shop people are more concerned with work conditions. i think pay's one of the only things we can have much mass influence on at the moment though.

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2007 14:04
John. wrote:
yup good idea. can you get him to contribute to it?

I can try, but I already have.