Thursday 23 August 2007

Back to the 70's; The revival of the Unions?

In the decade of my birth, we had a torrid economic time. The UK and the West in general were suffering from a huge increase in oil prices, inflation was strong and hard to keep under control. With a slow down in the markets it led to stagflation too - high interest rates, high unemployment, high inflation and low growth.

Today we are starting to see many of the same things impinging on the economy. The last and most crucial aspect of the 70's though was the impact in the UK of the Unions. They held the government to ransom and destroyed much of our manufacturing industry (despite the socialist re-write of history that would have you believe the opposite).

Fast forward to 2007 and the unions remain under control; but with Gordon Brown in hock to them to pay for any upcoming election, they are slowly rebuilding. Today in London a two 3 day strikes have been announced for a couple of weeks time.

What is the strike for?...concern over possible job losses due to Metronet going bust which was thanks to Red Ken's and Brown's machinations)

A real danger of Labour in power for the rest of the decade is the increase in power of the extremely left-wing Unions in the country. I am all in favour of Unions overall, a fine way to balance worker right's against owners, but the likes of radical Bob Crow know nothing about economics or business and are in it for the power game alone. This serves the interests of no one.


Steven_L said...

I've thought this before, you've put it well.

I've got a bit to say against unions as they stand. I work at the bottom of the rung in a movile phone company slamming an extra £4 on everyones account. This is very important because of the saturation and competitiveness of the industry.

There is a meeting room behind me where junior managers often have half-day meetings. I watch their powerpoint slides and they are learning nonsensical business studies theories I learned in sixth form.

I also have colleagues that have too much of conscience to work in sales and should be sacked or relocated to customer service. They waste data by not slamming photo-bundles on people that don't use their cameras.

Its a tough old world. If I saty after I'm, thorugh probation I'm going to join the company share-scheme and go mingle at the AGM.

Lefty unions are shite, there needs to be a right wing alternative that says:

"Hang on a minute my chances of redundancy are up and my wages down because we're carrying dead weight such as ........"

Promotions are all clicky clicky and easy non-jobs are all sucky sucky. Where I work needs a bit of sacky-sacky if you ask me.

Steven_L said...

By the way, your new poll is a bit biased.

There should be an option that says:

Nowhere, the post cold-war globalised economy will see it through without recession.

Steven_L said...

I'm really drunk now. You see, my first ever telephone job involved telling people they'd won a free holiday. I did get a strange buzz off it. I get the same buzz slaming peoples accounts with photo messages.

I say 'We're just calling to make welcome you to the network and make sure your account is set up correctly'.

They often say 'Yeah everyones OK'

And I say, 'It's all going well at your end is it, you haven't had any problems?'

and they say 'Yeah everythings fine'

Then I start my pitch with 'Right, well at our end, the first thing is you haven't got a password for security' and get them through the security shit

Then I set their account up 'correctly' (i.e. with a photo-bundle). I only wish our management were clever enough to let us remove itemised billing.

Anonymous said...

I lived through it all as well.I remember the unions as nothing put 'pigs at the trough' and stuff everyone else.

I was not a member of a union and in the dying years of Labour 1976 to 1979 I never had a pay rise at all. Union members did though.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Boradly agreed.

Bob Crow is a complete idiot, although I believe he's up for a referendum on the EU constitution. He's doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

I'd blame Metronet totally on ther Goblin King. Red Ken was broadly against this from the start.

bloggorazzi said...

Steven you seem to be a reason why people might need unions and protection. You seem to be advocating ripping people off for stuff they don't want or need. And then you say you want to get rid of itemised billing so, I presume, they won't notice they're paying for stuff they don't want.
I think in the 70s the problems that arose were the result of chronic underinvestment by companies and a city dominated economy. It's obviously so much better now to have a service economy now.

CityUnslicker said...

Steven - Well, you are right about the poll. I wanted to see what pepole would say with no neutral option. I can't stand polls that have don't knows....hard to learn anything meaningful from.

As for your work, sounds like a tough call. But I started out in cold call sales too and you do learn some useful knowledge about how to sell to people.

Not sure I am against itemised billing though....I like to know what I am getting charged for!

CityUnslicker said...

Ken - The 70's were dismal and I hope we don't go back there.

CityUnslicker said...

Mark - you are right, but Ken was only against so he could own it all himself, not for any sane business or financial reasons.

CityUnslicker said...

Bloggorazzi - the underinvestment piece is quite right. When the companies were state owned there was no funding to go into them and little incentive to produce good products. We ended up with the mess that was british Leyland.

The City certainly did no dominate the economy of the 70's. It was the decline of heavy industry and a large state sector that was unionised, not the City.

Don't think though that I am an apologist for the City and its lack of morals. However, it is a huge wealth generating force; which could not be said for the 5.9 million state sector employees that we have today.

Steven_L said...

CU - my jobs a piece of piss - it only pays about £21k on full bonus - but it's an absolute breeze. I find it more boring than anything else.

Bloggorazi - it's peoples own stupid fault if they don't listenm to what I am saying or just agree with me so that they dont feel awkward saying 'no'. Itemised billing is a waste of paper, we already charge £1.50 for it to put the punters off. I think we should up the charges to £2.50 and say to them at the end of the call:

"Right your account is set up correctly now, however you are still paying £2.50 for itemsied billing. Companies like XXX are under a lot of pressure these days to stop wasting paper for environmental reasons, what I'll do for you is remove this chargable itemised billing and text you with instructions of how to register for free itemised billing online"

If they get itemised billing there is a good chance we'll only get two months worth of photo-bundles off them, remove it it'll probably stay there all year.

Anonymous said...

Rail unions have always been rather militant. The more a company relies on government subsidy the more militant the unions are. I guess the thinking is "if you are prepared to sub us £1bn p.a. you will be prepared to sub us £1.2bn p.a." - and then demand a 20% pay increase.

Bad news if you work in private industry of course, and see yourself subsidising these losers and putting up with the poor servie they provide.

Newmania said...

Thats a great blog CU I have been whining on for a long time from a diffrent perspective on the same subject.
Whenever brown makes a sop to thje Daily Mail...I say..why are the Unuion sstill loking so happy if any of this ios true . You are right as well the Labour Party is more reliant 0n Union money than ever.

I am not myself wholly against unions. They certianly were responsibkle for a lot of good and they have sound instincts for solidarity and self preservation .

They cannot be allowed to become the force they were though

hatfield girl said...

A lot of the people who were the voice of reasonable co-operation in the Unions left for the Commonwealth and the US in the decade before the ideologicals finally won their way to the top and got their day on the telly fighting the police and eliciting hand wringing about the destruction of cultures. They're still milking it today.

Now the Executive is in the ideologicals' hands as well. And the same kind of people are pouring out again.

Anonymous said...

The Unions are also about to issue a call for the legalisation of secondary actions (aka sympathy strikes).

Listen carefully - very carefully - to the words El Gordo uses in his reply to this call.

CityUnslicker said...

We will see where all this leads, no doubt a theme I will have to return too.

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