Death to National Pay Bargaining

It\’s a good idea but I do think they\’re going to fuck it up:

It’s true that, in the current system, hospitals in the North can find good permanent nursing staff, and offer their young doctors a less stressful life than in the South or East. But just as national rates undermine private employment in poor regions, they also create problems in rich ones. Hospital trusts in the South East too often find themselves scrambling for agency cover. Relying on agency nurses is bad for your health: researchers have established that hospitals in the South register higher fatalities and lower productivity when, with full-time wages below the local private sector’s, they are forced to use temp staff.

National rates make it easy to hire good teachers in Durham or the Wirral; but in London and the South East, finding a maths teacher can be a nightmare. The Coalition Government is introducing a “pupil premium”, so that additional money follows disadvantaged children to whichever school they attend. Schools with lots of these pupils tend to have fewer good teachers and high staff turnover. But if schools are tied into pay scales and rigid conditions, they can’t offer anything special to attract better staff.

Quite, it isn\’t about lowering pay in poor areas. It\’s about having the right pay in all areas and that could and would mean rises in some areas just as it might mean (gradual, almost certainly in the form of different pay rises over the years) falls in others.

But as I say, I have a feeling they\’ll screw this up:

The change that is being floated is one of five or more separate pay-scales,

Fools: what we want is to be more like Sweden:

Here, rigid, centrally set pay spines were swept away in the 1990s. Instead, everyone has an individual contract, setting their pay as an individual, not placing them at a point on a scale.

How much do we have to pay to get you, yes, you, that unique and precious mixture of skills, talents and desires that is an individual human being, to come and work here doing this job?

Labour, the workers, it\’s just not some homogenous mass which can be parcelled out, allocated across different jobs or regions. It\’s 30 million unique individuals and all should be treated as such, don\’t you think?

4 comments on “Death to National Pay Bargaining

  1. Ironically, while the teaching staff were on strike yesterday morning I had to go in to have an extraordinary Committee meeting at the school of which I am a governor to agree on pay for the Head and Deputy. It is a great school and if it was up to the governors to decide on the basis of the available budget and individual performance we’d all have been inclined to offer big rises for the two key leaders in the school (and indeed for most of the staff).

    Unfortunately, as both were at the top of the rigid pay scales for their roles and those scales could only be changed with a year’s notice and negotiation with the LEA there was no scope whatsoever to offer either a performance related increase in salary however well-merited it might be. The only thing available was a temporary retention bonus which would only be of any use if they were thinking of moving jobs and could be persuaded by a small pay rise. We concluded that if anyone was going to move to further their career they wouldn’t be influenced by a retention payment (it might actually enhance their CV) when looking for a promotion that would by definition pay more.

    They could decide to do the bare minimum next year and it would make not the slightest difference to their pay. Luckily they aren’t like that. But it is purely luck.

    Rigid payscales make little sense other than from the perspective of a Union that wants to avoid performance being assessed meaningfully with the chance of underperformance having consequences at the cost of undervaluing competence and excellence. Difficulties in recruiting people in the South are “not their problem”.

  2. Yes. Until a woman who failed to haggle at each pay review realises that she is paid less than a male colleague who did, and then watch as the fur and feathers fly!

  3. I have been arguing this for some time. As rub a dub points out, this is perhaps more difficult in certain areas, however the principle still holds for the majority.
    Mitigating the problem in the majority makes the problem smaller and a different solution may be necessary but it would work.
    After the initial strikes against it of course 😉 No one wants to be accountable for their own progress or position….

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