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A superb article: Ordinary workers should be protected from the evil influence of public sector unions

105 replies

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 22:02

Bravo, Tim Pawlenty!

He has written an excellent comment piece in today's Wall Street Journal.

Pawlenty is a bit of what we used to call a "wet" Conservative - think Ken Clarke - the Americans have the more perjorative term RINO - Republican in Name Only. But this article is spot-on.

Public sector unions should be made illegal. As the article so deftly explains, public sector unions are deeply exploitative.

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claig · 13/12/2010 22:12

Disagree. All workers should have the right to join unions. How else will they be protected from discrimination, harassment and bullying? Also they need to defend their current terms and conditions.

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 22:24

Why can't they defend them individually?

A good worker will have more clout in defending their privileges than a bad one.

At the moment, because of the unions, there is no meritocracy in the public sector (except, perhaps, for a few elite professionals like doctors).

It is too difficult to sack bad workers in the public sector because of the unions. It is too difficult to reward good workers with pay rises and promotions in the public sector because of the unions. Our taxes are too high, because (in part) of public sector unions. Our children get taught by bad teachers, with no recourse, because of public sector unions. People with no pension have to pay for the gold-plated final salary pensions of diversity officers, five-a-day co-ordinators, and all manner of other useless public sector non-jobs.

The only reason to join a union is over matters of health and safety which can have life-threatening consequences. Unions should never be able to bargain over pay and conditions - that is a matter for individuals.

Let's stop our public services wallowing in mediocrity.

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saggarmakersbottomknocker · 13/12/2010 22:28

Blimey you spout some bollocks lfn.

If you really believe that public sector workers don't need union protection you need your bumps feeling frankly.

claig · 13/12/2010 22:29

No, employers have more power than individual employees. That's why employees band together in unions so that they can negotiate collectively, which makes the employer take their demands more seriously.

Prinnie · 13/12/2010 22:35

There is so much HR legislation around now that workers are well protected and there is never a need to be a member of a TU. They cause more unemployment than they save.

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 22:38

claig The "employer" (as well as the "shareholder") is the taxpayer. I would say that taxpayers are the "customers" as well, but increasingly under Labour, the customers of public services are tax non-payers.

If we feel that the managers (the Government, in whichever guise) are being too harsh on the employees we get the chance to periodically sack them.

There are plenty of checks and balances.

I don't believe in collective pay bargaining. Highly motivated, highly skilled people are worth more.

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newwave · 13/12/2010 22:43

LFN you really are a nasty little Tory drone.

huddspur · 13/12/2010 22:49

Whilst I deplore the actions of many of the union leaders, the idea that employees are better of outside of the unions is ridiculous

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 22:52

As long as Labour keeps thinking of Tory voters as being "nasty", they will be nowhere.

It's pretty obvious why Labour voters vote Labour.

It's obvious why people vote SNP, or Plaid, or BNP, or Green, or UKIP.

The reasons people vote Lib Dem are a bit fuzzy, in comparison.

But the reasons why people vote Tory is something which, perplexingly, tribal Labour supporters just don't seem to understand.

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longfingernails · 13/12/2010 22:58

huddspur Why should public sector job security be a priority for taxpayers, instead of public sector value for money? The more people who move out of the public sector and into the private sector, the better.

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huddspur · 13/12/2010 23:03

I agree that there are far too many public sector employees and that there does need to be a reduction but trade union membership does give you security against serious maltreatment in the workplace.

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 23:09

Legislation gives more than enough security. There is already too much red tape in our labour laws, much of it from Brussels.

Unions are used as an excuse not to be able to fire bad employeers.

The worst cases are on the Tube (the RMT is a public sector union in all but name). Bob Crowe is always going on about "safety concerns", but is happy to go on strike trying to keep the jobs of Tube drivers who open the doors on the wrong side, or commit violence against other Tube workers or the public.

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huddspur · 13/12/2010 23:13

I admit I'm not a member of a union and never have been nor am I old enough to remember the 1970s when trade union militancy crippled the country but I still think that the protection that union membership gives you is worth it.

GetOrfMoiLand · 13/12/2010 23:15

LFN - you spout shite. I am glad Claig is on here to talk sense - I would naturally disagree with you being left wing, however Claig is a out and proud tory and even she thinks what you are talking is rot.

Strong unions benefit workers long term - and it is not only public sector in which they have a strong negotiating arm. I used to work for a hugely successful manufacturing company, GKN, which had a very strong union (Amicus) presence, and which successfuly fought back on what were considered unreasonable potential contractual changes.

I have been far, far happier in companies with a strong union presence than I have been in companies which have none.

And the companies which had a union were, generally, more successful and better run.

moondog · 13/12/2010 23:18

I agree.Stranglehold of unions over the country is madness. I see so many peopel who would be out on their arse in the real world and rightly so.
Right, off to read the article. Sounds right up my street.

huddspur · 13/12/2010 23:19

I don't want to see unions having a stranglehold over the Government but that doesn't mean I don't think they have no place.

GetOrfMoiLand · 13/12/2010 23:20

Mind you I only worked in public sector for 18 months donkey's years ago, hated it.

Think unions are hugely important in the private sector. Some companies try to get away with all sorts.

moondog · 13/12/2010 23:21

'The moral case for unions?protecting working families from exploitation?does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.'

Great article and above so true.
What irritates me is peopel who seem to think conditions are the same for ordinary peopel as they were 70 years ago. I speak as one whose greatgrandfather was big in the unions in the coalmines in the 20s and 30s when undoubtedly they were essential.

23balloons · 13/12/2010 23:24

I have never believed in unions but now working in a school where the head is a total dictator I am changing my opinion. Unfortunately i am not a local council employee as it is a voluntary aided school. Although we do receive funding from the local council.

The things I have experienced during my employment are literally beyond belief. i was told (by HR) that I do not need a job description when I asked for one. I have a contract which describes a totally different job to the one I am doing yet I am powerless as an individual employee.

I wrote to the Admin Manager (a teacher) asking for my job & pay to be reviewed in light of additional & changed duties. I was told my letter would be discussed at the next governors meeting (scheduled 3 months later). I wrote directly to the Head quoting the schools grievance policy on the staff intranet. he didn't respond personally but got the Admin Manager to tell me I wasn't actually doing the job I was doing I was doing the job in my contract (completely untrue). My line manager came to the meeting but was afraid to speak up.

I resolved to leave, unfortunately I have flexible term time only hours & they use this to keep staff on low pay & doing duties they are not paid for.

things have actually gotten much worse lately & I am tempted to resign without another job to go to but am reluctant as I may not find another job for a while & need a reference. I am tied by having young children (& they know it). I am a skilled & respected memeber of the team I work in but unfortunately management have their own agenda. i am intelligent & degree educated but feel totally powerless in the situation I am in as laws do not exist where I work.

Monty27 · 13/12/2010 23:26

Read the post and then recognised poster.

Utter rot again.

legostuckinmyhoover · 13/12/2010 23:44

LFN, I read the title and knew it was by you!

I love your determination for something that will never happen Smile [phew]. It is about as likely as my dream for another tax band [or few] after the 50% band.

As a fellow Londoner, may I suggest you commute by bus or taxi or Boris bike or something rather than by tube in the future??

lastly, I think Labour voters think the Conservative party are 'nasty' because, erm well...they are 'nasty'!

By the way, isn't the article american?

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 23:49

Yes, I am getting more interested in American politics these days.

I am trying to work out who the Republican 2012 nominee will be. Pawlenty is an outside chance.

Rubio might be one to watch - he is very conservative, and Hispanic (and quite good looking)!

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longfingernails · 13/12/2010 23:53

At the moment America loathes Obama but doesn't completely trust the Republicans - same problem that Cameron faced, sort of - but with the Tea Party complicating things, forcing Republicans away from the centre.

I think the nominee will have to be someone both the RINOs and the Tea Party can live with - someone in the middle of the GOP. McCain was a bit too far to the left, as far as GOP politics goes. Someone like DeMint or Palin will have no chance, but a mainstream Republican, probably with a good record as a Governor - but maybe a Senator - is the most likely candidate.

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legostuckinmyhoover · 13/12/2010 23:54

Just googled Rubio...not my type at all [on the looks front or politically]. He looks like he should be on Dallas!

longfingernails · 13/12/2010 23:55

Of course, Obama isn't Gordon Brown - he can deliver an electrifying speech, on occasion - but his economic policies are exactly the same - tax the rich, and institutionalise a welfare class.

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