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Potential mass strike action in the UK


paulsutton
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51 minutes ago, paulsutton said:

How concerned should we be about the upcoming potential of mass strike action in the UK?

Not nearly as concerned as we should be about a government that's seeking to provoke it.

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I'd like to see a compulsory no strike contract for all essential workers. The strike weapon is nowadays being used against the public, not aristocratic mine-owners, which it originally came into being for. 

I would also like to see companies have the right to take civil action against a union for damages due to losses caused by a strike. I don't know why that doesn't happen now, maybe they have some kind of immunity. But that right exists in all other fields of activity, I don't see why unions should be exempt. 

Everyone has the right not to work, but I don't see why there should be a right to strike without consequences. 

Just looked at a UK government website, and strikers are protected from dismissal, and companies cannot hire agency staff to provide temporary cover during a strike.

That is just pure madness. 

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11 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Not nearly as concerned as we should be about a government that's seeking to provoke it.

The current lot are in limbo until the new PM is in pace,  then who knows what will happen.   I agree with the Lib Dems and Labour - recall parliament.   The current PM is AWOL.    However people in the real world can save up  their annual leave and take that during their notice period (so maybe he is doing that)  but when it comes to  running a county, he should be running the country.

Deputy PM seems  to be AWOL too,   but he was during last years Afghan crisis

So back to being in Limbo,  this seems to be out of choice, 

 

Just a shambles  

 

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13 hours ago, mistermack said:

I'd like to see a compulsory no strike contract for all essential workers.

Why do you want to increase the extent to which essential workers are exploited?

 

13 hours ago, mistermack said:

I don't see why unions should be exempt. 

To address the fundamental inequality of the "employer/ employee" relationship.
 

 

13 hours ago, mistermack said:

but I don't see why there should be a right to strike without consequences. 

If you think there are no consequences then you do not know enough about the issue to have a meaningful viewpoint on it.

 

 

13 hours ago, mistermack said:

That is just pure madness. 

No; it's common sense.

 

13 hours ago, mistermack said:

The strike weapon is nowadays being used against the public

In what ways?

 

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19 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Why do you want to increase the extent to which essential workers are exploited?

Why do you want to increase the extent to which the public are exploited ? 

21 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

To address the fundamental inequality of the "employer/ employee" relationship.

Oh right !   That's the relationship where an employee can quit any time he likes, but can't get fired any time the employer likes? When the employer has to pay you for doing nothing, if you choose to have a baby? Or when the company is losing money, rather than making it, the employee still gets the same wages? Or when the employee gets sick, the employer still has to pay them, even though he's getting nothing for his money. Etc etc etc. You're right, the relationship IS fundamentally unequal. 

33 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

In what ways?

If you don't know what ways, then you do not know enough about the issue to have a meaningful viewpoint on it.

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This must be a record, I have agreed with John Cuthber 5 times in a row.  +1 for that post.

17 hours ago, paulsutton said:

How concerned should we be about the upcoming potential of mass strike action in the UK?

Almost every time we have well  publicised strikes the tired old argument about the nature of "the strike weapon", imflamatory language in my opinion is repeated ad nauseum.

 

If employers say " the cost of raw materials, rent, utilities etc is going up so this must reflect in higher prices in the shops".

Why can employees not say "the cost of rent, utilities, food etc is going up so this must be reflected in a higher cost of labour"  ?

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1 hour ago, studiot said:

Why can employees not say "the cost of rent, utilities, food etc is going up so this must be reflected in a higher cost of labour"  ?

If there was a genuine market for labour, as there is for everything else, then the market would decide the pay levels. If you can't recruit bin men, then by all means pay them a rate that will attract more applicants. 

That's not what's happening now. The bin men have their jobs, but refuse to do it. So basically they blackmail the public for more money with their closed shop. 

I haven't heard of a shortage of applicants. If there were, then the wage demands would make sense. 

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Generally speaking, the Employer/ Employee inequality doesn't exist in the same way for government employment as it does for private employment.

The same arguments for the right to hold the Employer hostage can't (generally again) be made.

In the worst cases Unions are able to restrict the number of entry level government service jobs below optimum, turn them into better paying careers for their members at the expense of both the public and those wishing to enter the workforce, and limit any private competition.

There are of course counter arguments, but one size does not fit all with regard to fairness of right to strike, and that is especially true for many government jobs.

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6 minutes ago, mistermack said:

If there was a genuine market for labour, as there is for everything else, then the market would decide the pay levels. If you can't recruit bin men, then by all means pay them a rate that will attract more applicants. 

That's not what's happening now. The bin men have their jobs, but refuse to do it. So basically they blackmail the public for more money with their closed shop. 

I haven't heard of a shortage of applicants. If there were, then the wage demands would make sense. 

Not necessarily.

If you have a Monospony you can supress wages.

https://www.economicshelp.org/labour-markets/monopsony/

 

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30 minutes ago, mistermack said:

If there was a genuine market for labour, as there is for everything else, then the market would decide the pay levels. If you can't recruit bin men, then by all means pay them a rate that will attract more applicants. 

That's not what's happening now. The bin men have their jobs, but refuse to do it. So basically they blackmail the public for more money with their closed shop. 

I haven't heard of a shortage of applicants. If there were, then the wage demands would make sense. 

But the topic was about a strike, not a labor shortage, and it's not about applicants not taking jobs because the pay is too low. Unemployed people are not the ones who go on strike, employed people do. They strike if e.g. wages are not rising quickly enough. (or benefits are being cut, or work conditions are deficient etc.)

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16 hours ago, mistermack said:

I'd like to see a compulsory no strike contract for all essential workers. The strike weapon is nowadays being used against the public, not aristocratic mine-owners, which it originally came into being for. 

I'd like to see a living wage for the essential workers, but that ain't gonna happen while you're alright Jack, with your big stick...

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3 hours ago, mistermack said:

but can't get fired any time the employer likes?

They can.
Businesses make people redundant every day.
They also sack them for other reason.
 

 

3 hours ago, mistermack said:

Oh right !   That's the relationship where an employee can quit any time he likes, but can't get fired any time the employer likes? When the employer has to pay you for doing nothing, if you choose to have a baby? Or when the company is losing money, rather than making it, the employee still gets the same wages? Or when the employee gets sick, the employer still has to pay them, even though he's getting nothing for his money. Etc etc etc. You're right, the relationship IS fundamentally unequal. 

Go and ask your boss for a 10% pay rise.
Then you will find out who is in a position of power.

I presume you can't answer my previous question.

The train operating companies wish to get their staff to work essentially longer hours at a worse rate of pay.
The government is spinning this as "they want more money".
The actual issue is that the travelling public will be less safe because those running the system will be more tired (and, in the slightly longer run, the job will be done by people who weren't able to get a better job; pay peanuts; get monkeys...).
So the strikers are defending themselves against savage wage cuts and preserving safety of the travelling public  so...

4 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

In what ways?

are they using strikes against the public?
 

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

The bin men have their jobs

But , because of inflation, they no longer have the same real-terms income.
Why do you think they should accept a reduction in their standard of living?
In particular, why should they accept it when the people "running" the businesses are typically getting paid huge bonuses?

Do you not realise that's the asymmetry of power I mentioned earlier?

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

So basically they blackmail the public for more money with their closed shop.

How many of those are still going?

here's a hint

"All forms of closed shops in the UK are illegal following the introduction of the Employment Act 1990. They were further curtailed under section 137(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52)[5] passed by the Conservative government at the time. "
From
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_shop#United_Kingdom

Edited by John Cuthber
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57 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

But , because of inflation, they no longer have the same real-terms income.

It's a never-ending loop. People see increased prices in stores. They go on strike. They get raises. And business owners have to raise the prices of goods in order to have money for the workers, who are paid better. And the cycle repeats itself. People see prices rise and again want more money..

Strikes caused the collapse of communist/socialist countries. The only employer was the government. Striking miners, influenced steelworkers, influenced shipbuilders etc... and vice versa in all possible combinations  When the shipyard workers went on strike, the communist politicians turned off all telephony and all possible communications, so they were unable to notify the miners and steelworkers about the event.

Then, when communism collapsed, all these people lose job. Funny. They were not needed in such quantity like in communist country which hired people just to give people any job so they are not boring (therefor inefficiency of communistic country). In capitalistic country, the most important thing is efficiency, otherwise there is no income, and business has to be shutdown. If the government owns everything, then companies that draw energy/money from ordinary taxpayers can survive for centuries, half a century.. The company instead of making money is a black hole for taxpayers' money..

The strikers are 1) stupid or 2) pretend not to see how the price of what they build and sell changes over time. e.g. the price of coal on the stock exchanges. At the same time, the miners 1) do not want to reduce the workforce 2) do not want to reduce wages.. This is "mission impossible"! This results in the inefficiency of the entire mine. That is, they lose money than they earn.

Coal mines hire people when the price of coal is high so they can produce more. Then comes the cycle of falling prices on the stock markets. But the workers don't want to be laid off, and a thriving company has a downfall..

 

57 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Go and ask your boss for a 10% pay rise.

...go to your boss and ask for a 10% pay cut when it will make it easier for a failing company to survive..

 

57 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Then you will find out who is in a position of power.

If someone is not a slave, they can resign if/when the contract does not meet their requirements.. No?

Computer programmers quit their jobs every two to three years. HR are in queue..

 

1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

In particular, why should they accept it when the people "running" the businesses are typically getting paid huge bonuses?

Owners of a business in a capitalist country 1) invested their own money to start the business 2) borrowed money from banks 3) borrowed money from 3rd party people e.g. investors who want to get them back..

1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

Why do you think they should accept a reduction in their standard of living?

The standard of living is given only once and then it can't be lowered? I guess in the U.S. the easiest way to go bankrupt.. looking at the number of homeless people on the streets..

"A person with money" (aka "investor") can 1) make a new business and start having problems like strikes at his/her company or 2) put that money in the bank 3) buy liquid stocks 4) buy government bonds, what will he/she choose?

Edited by Sensei
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29 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

Not a really free market situation. These are mostly government funded jobs with wages/QOL below where they should be(about half).

Miners, steelworkers and shipbuilders are not well paid in your country? Here they are well above average..

..you cut your statement to the level it is not understandable..

 

  

32 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

Not a really free market situation.

In a truly free market, when you don't like your job because the pay doesn't meet your requirements, you find a new one you like.

 

Edited by Sensei
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35 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

Not a really free market situation. These are mostly government funded jobs with wages/QOL below where they should be(about half).

That's fine, if you want to pay double the tax. And the workers are tax payers too, you know.

When you have a cost of living spike, like now, if everybody got a rise to cover it, the cost of living rises furthur. There is no magic money tree. If the inflation is coming from abroad, as in the current case, then a country simply can not defeat it with their own wage rises. Do that, and your currency falls, and you stoke more inflation, and your wage rise is worthless within months. Rampant inflation can even lead to world wars. It's a horrific thing. 

It takes off, it has a life of its own. People see one lot getting a big rise, and demand the same or more. It's like lighting a fire. Governments have to print more money, and you end up carting it round in wheelbarrows. 

2 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Why do you think they should accept a reduction in their standard of living?

If prices rise, you can pay it or don't buy it. It's only when people stop buying, that inflation falls. Why should the tax payer cover the price rises for bin men, when they are having to pay the same price rises themselves?

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2 hours ago, Sensei said:

It's a never-ending loop. People see increased prices in stores. They go on strike. They get raises. And business owners have to raise the prices of goods in order to have money for the workers, who are paid better. And the cycle repeats itself. People see prices rise and again want more money..

There is a good point in there as wage increases can increase inflation. That being said, some companies have made record profits for their shareholders and that is not in line with keeping wages flat. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-30/2021-was-best-year-for-u-s-corporation-profits-since-1950

image.png.936b51eea04192f41169bbc16c44d644.png

Here you can see the profit margin of companies and compare that to the wage development. Since around 2000 there has been quite a separation of these values and after a pandemic bump employee compensation is dropping again.

image.png.966b04a6a19e81940e44542359f644b4.png

 

On the microlevel wage increases might not be ideal for certain businesses, but on the macrolevel it makes sense to push for wage increases when shareholders are having record profits. Otherwise we are just redistributing money upward. 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, mistermack said:

That's fine, if you want to pay double the tax. And the workers are tax payers too, you know.

When you have a cost of living spike, like now, if everybody got a rise to cover it, the cost of living rises furthur. There is no magic money tree. If the inflation is coming from abroad, as in the current case, then a country simply can not defeat it with their own wage rises. Do that, and your currency falls, and you stoke more inflation, and your wage rise is worthless within months. Rampant inflation can even lead to world wars. It's a horrific thing. 

It takes off, it has a life of its own. People see one lot getting a big rise, and demand the same or more. It's like lighting a fire. Governments have to print more money, and you end up carting it round in wheelbarrows. 

If prices rise, you can pay it or don't buy it. It's only when people stop buying, that inflation falls. Why should the tax payer cover the price rises for bin men, when they are having to pay the same price rises themselves?

Sometimes the work being done is so vital that you simply have to pay. Society comes to a stop otherwise.

 

Raising wages also need not mean raising taxes necessarily. Lot of UK's tax revenue is being spent on extravagant projects.

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21 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

Sometimes the work being done is so vital that you simply have to pay. Society comes to a stop otherwise.

Agreed. And that leaves society wide open to blackmail by strike. That's why I would introduce compulsory no-strike contracts for vital services. It already happens for some services. I say it should be much more widespread. The employment market should decide the level of the wages. 

 

24 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

Raising wages also need not mean raising taxes necessarily. Lot of UK's tax revenue is being spent on extravagant projects.

I think that's a question-dodging red herring. 

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9 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I think that's a question-dodging red herring. 

So is imflammatory wording like this.

10 minutes ago, mistermack said:

And that leaves society wide open to blackmail by strike.

 

No one is being 'blackmailed' . Look up the definition of the word and explain what hidden fault of the public or society they are afraid of being exposed for.

 

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39 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Agreed. And that leaves society wide open to blackmail by strike. That's why I would introduce compulsory no-strike contracts for vital services. It already happens for some services. I say it should be much more widespread. The employment market should decide the level of the wages. 

 

I think that's a question-dodging red herring.

Would you sign such a contract knowing your pay isn't likely to keep up with the cost of living?

 

Just a statement of facts.

Rwanda: 120 million for 200 migrants

Oneweb: 500 million

Marble Arch Mound: A low 6 million

The UK seems pretty well off.

 

Edited by Endy0816
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Seems like a lot of distraction tactics to me. 

The taxpayer funds trains, bin collections, barristers, all sorts. The unions seem to regard them as cash cows, ready for milking. 

If you want the lower paid to get more money, stop allowing virtually unrestricted immigration of unskilled labour. The reality of the figures doesn't match the "get tough" public stance. Rwanda was always a distraction. They knew perfectly well that it was a non-runner. It's just done to look tough, while the numbers remain huge. 

So long as there is a regular inflow, the market price for less skilled people will remain depressed.  

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3 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Seems like a lot of distraction tactics to me. 

The taxpayer funds trains, bin collections, barristers, all sorts. The unions seem to regard them as cash cows, ready for milking. 

If you want the lower paid to get more money, stop allowing virtually unrestricted immigration of unskilled labour. The reality of the figures doesn't match the "get tough" public stance. Rwanda was always a distraction. They knew perfectly well that it was a non-runner. It's just done to look tough, while the numbers remain huge. 

So long as there is a regular inflow, the market price for less skilled people will remain depressed.  

Even skilled positions are underpaid.

In our own history, trying to fight against migrant waves has never really worked. We certainly don't have it all figured out either though.

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

If you want the lower paid to get more money, stop allowing virtually unrestricted immigration of unskilled labour.

Well, to me that looks a typical distraction. Instead of negotiating for higher wages, just limit immigration? Hey here is a bad situation, let's not address it, but instead blame something else.

Meanwhile, the effects of immigration on the UK labor market have been relatively small and mostly affect the segment of wages that are occupied by immigrants in the first place. 

https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/the-labour-market-effects-of-immigration/

Quote

Empirical research on the labour market effects of immigration in the UK suggests that immigration has relatively small effects on average wages, with negative effects on low-paid workers and positive effects on high-paid workers.

Reviewing 12 studies conducted between 2003 and 2018, MAC (2018) concluded that immigration had had little impact on average wages. Some studies (e.g. Nickell and Saleheen, 2015) had found a small negative impact on average wages while others (e.g. Dustmann et al, 2013) found positive average effects.

As with the impacts on employment and unemployment, several studies have found that effects are different for high vs. low skilled/paid workers. For example, Dustmann et al (2013) find positive effects for most workers but negative effects for the lower paid; they found that a 1 percentage point increase in the ratio of migrants to non-migrants leads to a 0.6% decrease in wages for workers at the 5th earnings percentile and a 0.5% decrease at the 10th percentile. Another study focusing on wage effects at the occupational level found that, in the unskilled and semi-skilled service sector, a 1 percentage point rise in the share of migrants reduced average wages in that occupation by about 0.2% (Nickell and Salaheen 2015).

In 2021 about 240k work visa were approved (which seems a bit of a far cry from the claim of unrestricted immigration, especially compared to, say, Canada). Even assuming that all of those are unskilled workers the impact on salaries would be miniscule. And this is under the most favourable assumption. Also, I thought the discussion is about essential workers.

Also based on the OP, are you assuming that essential work is only (or mostly) done by unskilled and predominant immigrant workers? Because other groups appear to benefit salary-wise from immigration. 

 

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