Home Politics & Debate
Ongoing maintenance - the boards are undergoing some ongoing, intermittent maintenance. Pages might load slightly slower than usual and there may be very short periods where the boards are offline.

Should I leave my Union

13»

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'll be 68 too, unless it changes again between now and then - and I have already been working for over 20 years - during that time I have been paying into a pension on an understanding which is now being changed unilaterally. However, that isn't really what I wanted to comment on, it was the "aw diddums" comment.

    Instead of envy and arguing that everyone show be dropped down to the lowest level, why not ask yourself how the public sector workers have secured slightly better salaries and pensions. Why not ask why private sector pensions shouldn't be raised to the same level?

    This wasn;t achieved through a benevolent Govt offering all sorts of perks. It was because the public sector workers have fought for years to get these rights and then to maintain them They organise and stick together to a greater extent.

    As I said early, people bitching about how one sector has it better than another are falling into a trap set by the politicians (who want to put down the public sector) and the media (who want to protect the interests of their well paid editors and barons)... it's about dividing the workers. It seems to be working.

    The private sector's pension was changed unilaterally in 1997 (and with even less consultation with the pension holders). The contents of that has been paying for the public sector largresse. And to be honest it was the benevolence of Government towards the public sector - if you don't think Labour was acting for political advanatage in pesniosn, pays and perks for public sector employees you're in cloud cuckoo land...

    Everyone wants to protect their interests, including the public sector and we shouldn't pretend people are acting in some great public interest when they're acting in narrow sectional ones.

    Nor was it some magical solidarity which has kept these perks, but because the state and its employees are in a monopoly position. When BA went on strike, people grumbled and flew on other airlines, when the Met call handlers go on strike people can't call an alternative. Nor can most people send their kids to a different school, go private, get their benefits from a different provider.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The private sector's pension was changed unilaterally in 1997 (and with even less consultation with the pension holders).

    Well, unless two wrongs now make a right, I'm not sure that's really a defence for what the Govt are trying to do.
    And to be honest it was the benevolence of Government towards the public sector - if you don't think Labour was acting for political advanatage in pesniosn, pays and perks for public sector employees you're in cloud cuckoo land...

    Yes it was political. I can only speak for the NHS but the investments that we recieved has transformed it. Whatever Landsley may say publically, the public satisfaction has never been higher. It's also worth noting that it was public clamour which lead to the increased salaries because at the time the sector was grossly underpaid and the was a huge vacancy issue in the skilled staffing.

    Was it done without the intention of improving the services though, no. They knew that better terms was what would help. It's also worth noting that Labour also changed our pension rights already once, it has never been just one way.
    Everyone wants to protect their interests, including the public sector and we shouldn't pretend people are acting in some great public interest when they're acting in narrow sectional ones.

    You think this is just about individuals looking after themselves? Or do you think it's wider than that and about longer term Friedmanism at play?
    When BA went on strike, people grumbled and flew on other airlines, when the Met call handlers go on strike people can't call an alternative. Nor can most people send their kids to a different school, go private, get their benefits from a different provider.

    All you have done there is highlight why it is important to treat the staff reasonably. If you want their services then you pay their prices. That's capitalism at play.

    If you believe that privatisation will make things cheaper, then I'm going to start worrying that you have missed the evidence all around us which shows that it actually just leads to higher wages at the top, lower wages at the bottom and huge dividends for the shareholders. I'm sure most users of British Gas, BT and the train network will bear me out on this point...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, unless two wrongs now make a right, I'm not sure that's really a defence for what the Govt are trying to do.

    But unless there were millions of public sector pension holders showing solidarity with private sector pension holders it makes a mockery of the claim that the private sector should be showing solidarity with the public sector. The time for that was in 1997 not 2011, however in 1997 and 1998 we were all rubbing our hands at the extra dosh Gordon Brown was pumping at us without asking too many questions.


    Yes it was political. I can only speak for the NHS but the investments that we recieved has transformed it. Whatever Landsley may say publically, the public satisfaction has never been higher. It's also worth noting that it was public clamour which lead to the increased salaries because at the time the sector was grossly underpaid and the was a huge vacancy issue in the skilled staffing.

    Was it done without the intention of improving the services though, no. They knew that better terms was what would help. It's also worth noting that Labour also changed our pension rights already once, it has never been just one way.

    But at what cost? Yes it may well have improved, but has it improved relative to the money and would that money have been better spent elsewhere (either privatelly or publically)

    I have to say that my professional experience of the NHS is off a very narrowly focussed organisation (or organisations) who seem focussed on pure primary health care without recognising that health isn't just improved by medical techniques, but things like employment and housing - money invested in the NHS is lost to this (to say nothing of the authority who wouldn't release land for affordable housing because they thought in thirty years time they might have to build a new facility to deal with an mental health cases caused by the lack of affordable housing :banghead:)


    You think this is just about individuals looking after themselves? Or do you think it's wider than that and about longer term Friedmanism at play?

    I think its about people looking after themselves. Now I disagree that its in their long term interests, but this is not about them helping the public (who are not at all helped by paying my really great pension)

    All you have done there is highlight why it is important to treat the staff reasonably. If you want their services then you pay their prices. That's capitalism at play.

    Oh, I don't disagree and think the idea of complaints because we pay highly skilled staff well is bollocks. But we also overpay a lot and most of the public sector doesn't manage poor or under-performance...
    If you believe that privatisation will make things cheaper, then I'm going to start worrying that you have missed the evidence all around us which shows that it actually just leads to higher wages at the top, lower wages at the bottom and huge dividends for the shareholders. I'm sure most users of British Gas, BT and the train network will bear me out on this point...

    They might - though I wouldn't say they were correct. BT and British Gas are massively improved services and much cheaper. British energy is amongst the cheapest in Europe.

    http://www.energy.eu/

    BT is also a major success you don't have to book a new phone months in advance and the costs of calling abroad have fallen steadily (strictly speaking I think the main benefits to consumers weren't privatisation - though it caused some, but deregulation which brought in competition).

    Even the train network is only poor if you ignore British Rail, otherwise it's an improvement (and probably would have been even better if there hadn't been a cack-handed split between trains and track... - I've heard from pretty good sources at least part of the reason for this was deliberate sabotage by civil servants in the DfT, see sectional interests again)

    Now there were some failures of privatisation - I'd cite air traffic control and others were sold too cheaply (Qinetiq), but overall they've been successful...

    Not that this has anything to do with pension though
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere... On a slight tangent, what are the attitudes of your colleagues to the strikes and the anti-cuts demonstrations (in general)?

    I have been on a lot of anti-cuts demos and stalls and actually found the police have been quite alright with us and supportive.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Whowhere... On a slight tangent, what are the attitudes of your colleagues to the strikes and the anti-cuts demonstrations (in general)?

    I have been on a lot of anti-cuts demos and stalls and actually found the police have been quite alright with us and supportive.

    This tends to happen when people are not trying to beat shit out of the police!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Slarti

    This is quiet an interesting paper on BT privatisation http://florio.economia.unimi.it/eew//turk.pdf

    - albeit its early 2000s and since then Ofcom has allowed further deregulation driving BT costs down further

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23744300-ofcom-clears-bt-to-offer-discount-package-deals.do
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Whowhere... On a slight tangent, what are the attitudes of your colleagues to the strikes and the anti-cuts demonstrations (in general)?

    I have been on a lot of anti-cuts demos and stalls and actually found the police have been quite alright with us and supportive.


    Quite supportive actually, the guys I work with are quite sympathetic to it all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Even the train network is only poor if you ignore British Rail, otherwise it's an improvement (and probably would have been even better if there hadn't been a cack-handed split between trains and track... - I've heard from pretty good sources at least part of the reason for this was deliberate sabotage by civil servants in the DfT, see sectional interests again)

    The train network has not improved one percentage point due to privatisation. As you well know, the private companies in the UK are little more than sub-contractors. The improved frequencies are paid for by the taxpayer, the improved trains are paid for by the taxpayer. Unfortunately the profits are also paid for by the taxpayer and, even more crucially, the losses are also paid for by the taxpayer. Go and ask your colleagues at DfT about their lovely little cap-and-collar arrangements with the Bus Bandits; Stagecoach keep their profits and pass on their losses.

    There's no privatised railway industry, there's just profiteering aided and abetted by a corrupt Conservative government in the 1990s.

    If you think this just applies in Britain, too, go and ask the residents of Berlin. Deutsche Bahn Regio was privatised and the Berlin S-Bahn ground to a halt two years ago when the privatised company decided to spend its profits on trebles all round rather than repairing the trains and tracks.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The train network has not improved one percentage point due to privatisation. As you well know, the private companies in the UK are little more than sub-contractors. The improved frequencies are paid for by the taxpayer, the improved trains are paid for by the taxpayer. Unfortunately the profits are also paid for by the taxpayer and, even more crucially, the losses are also paid for by the taxpayer. Go and ask your colleagues at DfT about their lovely little cap-and-collar arrangements with the Bus Bandits; Stagecoach keep their profits and pass on their losses.

    There's no privatised railway industry, there's just profiteering aided and abetted by a corrupt Conservative government in the 1990s.

    If you think this just applies in Britain, too, go and ask the residents of Berlin. Deutsche Bahn Regio was privatised and the Berlin S-Bahn ground to a halt two years ago when the privatised company decided to spend its profits on trebles all round rather than repairing the trains and tracks.

    Yep, another depressing example of how the public sectro cannot do commercial contracts. The only thing I can say in defence of DfT is that they're not the only offender (nor whilst MoD is around are they likely to be the worst). They absolutely botched the privatisation (though as a frequent traveller under BR travelling up and down the North eastern after stagecoach pulled out was a burst of nostalgia with overcrowded and poorly cleaned trains - I'm sure the coffee was as bad, though the trains were so crowded they couldn't get the trolley out.)

    I could do a list as long of your arm of other cock-ups, for which the taxpayer paid and for which the only response was a shrug of the shoulders from Government.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think that the private sector is inherently evil, but there are some facilities and provisions that work better with a competitive profit-driven market and there are some facilities and provisions that don't. Telecoms work better in the competitive marketplace, energy would too if the Government weren't so wet with regards to actually enforcing the competitive marketplace. Intercity coaches work better in the private sector, as do airlines.

    But some things don't work better in the private sector. A competitive healthcare marketplace means the private sector picks up the cheap stuff to maximise profit and leaves the difficult stuff alone. A competitive social care marketplace leaves us with the thieving bastards at Southern Cross. A competitive police or fire service means that those who pay get a better service than those who don't. A competitive justice system leaves us with G4S who, quite frankly, couldn't run a bath. A competitive welfare service leaves us with A4E, a company diligently making the DWP look competent and professional since 1986.

    If we accept that we need some services in the public sector (and we do- witness the outcry over NHS privatisation) then we accept that we need to pay for staff to run the public sector services. People can't demand a public NHS and then complain at paying doctors and nurses an appropriate package for the work that they do.

    The issue is, and remains, corruption and incompetence within the higher reaches of Government, especially in the civil service. Gus O'Donnell (supposedly impartial) just can't stop licking Cameron's bottom. I don't wish to slander Dave Hartnett but he's had a lot of lovely lunches with Vodafone, Goldman Sachs and the like; needless to say they were given tax rebates that even HMRC barristers don't think they should have received. Funnily enough it isn't Hartnett or O'Donnell seeing their pensions and benefits package being cut, is it? And as for our elected representatives, isn't it amazing how Parliamentary pensions and expenses are increasing, despite already being the most generous scheme in the country.

    As Gideon the trustafarian would say, we truly are all in this together. Unless you're a thieving little Tory.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And to add, I don't share your views on thecivil service. The CS has some of the most intelligent and talented people in the country in it, I think they know exactly what they are doing. I don't subscribe to the view that they're hapless bumbling idiots, naively being screwed over by the big bad corporate lawyers. I think they know exactly what they are doing when they are framing the contracts that they frame. As you see with the PFI contracts, with the CS seemingly operating a revolving door recruitment policy with the big PFI companies like Crapita and Deutsche Bank.

    Conflict of interest, what conflict of interest? There's nothing to see here, move along. Kerching!
Sign In or Register to comment.