I notice in the Telegraph of the last couple of days that they are making a big deal about money being given to the trade unions. That was Monday’s head line and today they continued this thrust by citing letters from readers saying that the trade unions are not worthy of any support.
I am not sure whether the report in the paper is factual because very little in the Telegraph is, however, it is obvious that the letter writers don’t realize that they only enjoy good working conditions as a result of a struggle of our elders in guilds or unions. If these bodies hadn’t made the effort and the mill owners were satisfied with their income, there would have been no change and we would still be back in the dark ages.When the workers got better conditions, the mill owners had to improve their efficiency and so not only did the workers wages improve but the actual works made more money and improved the production rates and the increased spending power of the workers also lifted the whole economy of that time.
I am not so old, well I suppose I am, but I can still remember that the boss couldn’t be spoken to except by going through the foreman. The boss was address as sir and this applied even if you met in the street and your wife was expected to also call him sir and his wife madam. The foreman was addressed as mister and was the only direct contact with the management.
If you wanted to go to the lavatory during working hours you had 3 minutes and any time over and you lost half an hour. Now days every one reckons that they should get maternity leave but when I was young you didn’t get sick leave, or holiday leave except for public holidays. A tradesman working on an hourly rate could be sacked on a moments notice and was responsible for his own safety on the sites.
As a consequence of my own experience I am prepared to accept that the unions have made mistakes but we should never forget that the bosses have yet to find one example where they have come up with the idea of improving the pay or conditions for their workers.
I would further like to point out that whereas Labor is only giving $20M to the unions, the Coalition wants to give over $20B to the mine magnates and they have yet to do anything good for the country. They make money and as a consequence pay taxes but the ore they mine is from our land and it is, therefore, something that is found and not something that the magnates actually create or produce. I get the impression that most of the money made by the mine magnates goes off shore and we get a pittance as payment for allowing the mining to take place. I also understand that we are in the main rather a stupid lot and do very little thinking for ourselves so when papers, like the Telegraph, tell us that the mines will go off shore if we make them pay their way, we actually believe them. We don’t seem to understand that the ores they mine are under our land so, if they don’t mine it here, we still have it and can make alternative arrangements. Also as a consequence of going of shore, the magnates would have to find alternative sources of ores and these are often in locations where it isn’t so convenient or safe to operate a mine.
In all my working life, I have never heard an employer claim that he/she could afford a rise for their workers, they will always be going to go broke if a rise is given. Some times this is the case where the operator is very small and not cashed up, but in most cases the employer not only manages to pay the bill but increase the profit margins. As an example look at the banks, one gets the impression that for every wage rise for the tellers, the bank profit margin doubles!!
We should start to wake up and begin to look after our living conditions not worry about the ability of the very rich to maintain their high standard of living, often at our expense