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Summer Of Discontent?

I work for a company that is heavily unionised. I'm no ultra-leftie, but being in a union has it's benefits, because they keep employers in check - sometimes, however, unions push their luck too far - and my current situation is a really good example of when a union has obviously lost touch with reality.

We have a ritual that kicks off at the beginning of each new financial year. It's a painfully slow affair, but in the end they usually sort things out and it goes like this:

i) Union asks employer for a big pay-rise.
ii) Employer declines and offers a tiny pay-rise.
iii) Both parties talk and compromise on a small pay-rise.

Unfortunately, this time the union has asked for a stupidly high pay-rise. The business, in return, has said that they can only have a pay-rise which in effect amounts to a pay-cut. Both parties have polarised and consequently, there's no common ground to reach a final deal.

This is where the shouting begins. Each day, I go into work and two propaganda machines spew out stuff, telling us which story we should believe. As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere between the two - just like kids having a playground scrap, there are cries of,"but he started it!". It's just a shame that it hasn't stayed as a playground scrap, because the union has decided to press ahead with the threat of industrial action. Whilst they haven't actually done it yet, they probably will go ahead and do it as their 28 days-from-ballot expiry period comes to an end. Why waste an opportunity to let them know who's really the boss?

This will result in my work environment becoming very unpleasant.

Having to cross a picket-line to get to work hardly fills me with joy, nor does the fact that I may be called on to police it. To me, all this union stuff seems totally reminiscent of the 1970's/1980's and the miners - and it didn't do them any good. We're supposed to have moved on and learnt from this, aren't we?

Evidently not.

I can see why the union is spoiling for a fight, though. It's a very big union. If the business gets it's way, it might not be such a big union - and they probably can't afford to lose such a huge amount of subs from paying members.

Perhaps the argument is about money after all, just not the sort of money it would have you believe. It's just a shame that people have to get caught up in this sort of stuff, because it's going to put pressure on our job security and make it a summer to remember.
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