There is a lot of talk at present about how life in Britain has changed over the past 60 years – but how has work changed? The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) looked at this recently and, amongst other things, found the following:
- The working age employment rate for men has fallen from 96% to 75% and has risen from 46% to 66% for women.
- The proportion of people working part-time has increased from 4% to 25%.
- The number of people in manufacturing jobs has fallen from 8.7 million to 2.5 million. However, the proportion of people in managerial, professional and technical jobs has risen from 25% to 44%, while the proportion in sales and customer services has risen from 6% to 16%.
- Trade union membership has fallen from 9.5 million (40% of workers) to 6.5 million (26%), while the number of people in personnel (HR) has risen by 2,000% from 20,000 to 400,000.
One wonders how far the last two statistics go in explaining the many problems facing people at work in Britain today.
Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.
According to Government calculations, the strikes over public sector pensions on 30th Novermber will cost the UK £500million (LINK).
That is just for a single day’s strike.
So let me see…. if I multiply that figure by 5 (for five working weekdays in a week) I get £2.5 billion…
And if I multiply that by a further 52 (52 weeks in a year) I get a whopping… wait for it… £130 billion!!!!
Given the value of public sector workers to our economy, maybe the Government should work harder to negotiate and maintain a peaceful relationship with them, rather than the bullying and antagonistic approach that we see them adopting today. The Government should value the role of public sector workers and the contribution that they make to our economy and respect them, rather than vilify them.… after all they have done the maths themselves.
Many point to the fact that some of these are paid higher than the Prime Minister and that pay for those in high positions at the Council should be reduced given the cuts that the Council has to make. I personally agree with this.
However, when people have signed contracts this is difficult to achieve. To make such changes, the Council would face legal costs which would end up costing the Council more.
Nonetheless, Brent Labour has made sure that newly appointed Director’s pay is more fairer. In addition, there is now a female Director in the Education brief which is one of the highest at the Council – thereby dampening the male dominance in the top roles at the Council.
Jayaben Desai, aged 77 has passed away. Sadly, I am too young to have experienced her leadership during the 1977 dispute with the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories but her story is one of true inspiration. The Guardian has published an article conveying her incredible determination and hard work in championing the rights of Asian female workers – LINK.