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View Full Version : UK Pay Gap to hit "Victorian Levels"


Super Badnik
16-05-11, 18:42
A study from the High Pay Commission warned that the pay gap between the richest and poorest is set to widen markedly over the next two decades.

It forecast that at current trends the highest paid 0.1per cent of earners will take home 10 per cent of all national income by 2025, up from 5 per cent today. By 2030, the figure will be 14 per cent – a level last seen in Victorian times.

The study, titled 'More for Less', warned that the gap between top FTSE 100 chief executives and the average worker was likely to double by 2020.

A top executive is currently paid 145 times the average wage. By 2020 the differential will be 214 times, the report found, when the average FTSE-100 CEO will be paid £8million a year.

The report, backed by the centre-left pressure group Compass, warned that “excessive rewards are undermining relationships with employees and shareholders”.

It added: “They are encouraging harmful risk-taking and creating economic elite which wields enormous power but appears to have lost touch with how the rest of us live.”

It said that the current structures for restraining rewards at top companies– by shareholders exerting pressure on the boards of their companies- were ineffective.

Deborah Hargreaves, chairman of the commission, said: “This is the clearest evidence so far that the gap between pay of the general public and the corporate elite is widening rapidly and is out of control.

“Set against the tough spending measures and mixed company performance, we have to ask ourselves whether we are paying more and getting less.”

An ICM poll published alongside the Commission’s report showed that nearly three quarters of people – 72 per cent – feel that high pay makes the UK “grossly unequal”. A similar proportion had little faith in the Government to deal with the issue effectively.

Robert Talbut, a member of the commissioner, and chief investment officer at City firm Royal London Asset Management said: “The clear link between executive pay and company performance appear tenuous at best.

“As the polling shows there is a clear public interest in tackling top pay, and increasingly there is a clear business interest too.”
Source (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8513105/Pay-gap-on-course-to-hit-Victorian-levels-in-two-decades-time-report.html)

Victorian Levels? Ouch!

Mad Tony
16-05-11, 19:00
The report, backed by the centre-left pressure group CompassNo bias here lol. They're being completely impartial.

Cochrane
16-05-11, 19:09
That sounds bad and stuff, but it's very hard to say what this actually means. As far as I can tell, there is no evidence of the poor getting poorer, only of the rich getting richer. And while I admit that I can't see why someone, anyone, should be paid in seven or eight digits per year, this is hardly a social problem as long as you find someone stupid enough to actually pay this kind of money.

No bias here lol. They're being completely impartial.

You do realize that this does not disqualify the study, right? I doubt a lot of conservative groups are doing research into pay gaps at the moment.

Mad Tony
16-05-11, 19:14
You do realize that this does not disqualify the study, right? I doubt a lot of conservative groups are doing research into pay gaps at the moment.No, but I'm taking it with a pinch of salt. Similarly, I wouldn't expect a study by a centre-right pressure group to be unbiased either.

To be brutally honest I don't see the pay gap as that big a deal. Seems to be as if a lot on the left would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich.

Super Badnik
16-05-11, 19:23
It dosen't say whether the poor are actually getting poorer. But the wealth of the poor (or the "middle") must be, at least, stagnating behind that of the groups mentioned, which, from a moral perspective wouldn't exactly be good either. Assuming this money being payed to the CEOs is ultimatley being made through profit of course.
No bias here lol. They're being completely impartial.Well no not really. Considering that it has been "backed" by said pressure group, not carried out by them.

Mad Tony
16-05-11, 21:45
It dosen't say whether the poor are actually getting poorer. But the wealth of the poor (or the "middle") must be, at least, stagnating behind that of the groups mentioned, which, from a moral perspective wouldn't exactly be good either. Assuming this money being payed to the CEOs is ultimatley being made through profit of course.Seems like jealousy to me. Lots of people always seem to have a massive problem about the widening of the pay gap without even knowing if anybody is actually going to be worse off.

Lemmie
16-05-11, 22:21
I suppose what might be problematic about the stagnation of lower-middle and middle class wages is that it is happening at the same time as government cuts are being made and costs of living are going up - oil and food prices, increasing costs of education, (possible) NHS re-structuring.

If there's little growth in wages for the bottom sectors of society as costs of living increase, then there will be a very serious problem in the future - unless of course wages start increasing again, as the government hopes they will.

Super Badnik
16-05-11, 22:52
Seems like jealousy to me. Lots of people always seem to have a massive problem about the widening of the pay gap without even knowing if anybody is actually going to be worse off.Oh please, you don't know how much money I have. You have actually played this one before and with all due respect it just seems like an easy yet false way of discrediting any criticism your not comfortable with in this area. I already explained briefly why a dramatic increase in pay for CEOs at the expense of stagnating pay for average workers isn't good. You can argue that maybe its unavoidable but lets not pretend that its right.

Chocola teapot
16-05-11, 22:58
That sounds exciting.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 07:35
Oh please, you don't know how much money I have. You have actually played this one before and with all due respect it just seems like an easy yet false way of discrediting any criticism your not comfortable with in this area. I already explained briefly why a dramatic increase in pay for CEOs at the expense of stagnating pay for average workers isn't good. You can argue that maybe its unavoidable but lets not pretend that its right.I wasn't saying how much money you have. :confused: I was just saying that in general I think it comes down to jealousy a lot of the time. Once again putting words into my mouth.

Some people would rather the average wage was 5% lower provided the wage of those evil CEOs was 10% lower than if the average wage was 5% higher but the wages of CEOs 10% higher. They think it's wrong that there are some people out there on millions a year and that they must have gotten it through exploiting the oppressed working class.

jajay119
17-05-11, 07:44
Well regardless, the UK is still financially better off than both France and Spain, so at least we have that to be greatful for!

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 12:17
I wasn't saying how much money you have. :confused: I was just saying that in general I think it comes down to jealousy a lot of the time. Once again putting words into my mouth.Well to be fair you did make the comment on something I said, but I apologise if that wasn't what you meant. But anyway on the jealously issue. Maybe that is true, but when all the wealth being created is only going to the before mentioned groups it is inevitable that somethings going to be said about it eventually.

Some people would rather the average wage was 5% lower provided the wage of those evil CEOs was 10% lower than if the average wage was 5% higher but the wages of CEOs 10% higher. They think it's wrong that there are some people out there on millions a year and that they must have gotten it through exploiting the oppressed working class.Yes but look at what is happening. The pay gap is widening, its not simply a case of CEOs getting payed more than the rest, thats always been the case. Its the fact that only they are benefiting from increasing wealth while the "average worker" isn't which is of concern. Its completely unrelated from a hypothetical situation where the pay of average workers is dependant on the pay of CEOs. As for your comment about the "oppressed working class", I don't know, although wealth ultimatley orginates from the work of workers so maybe your onto something.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 14:08
Well to be fair you did make the comment on something I said, but I apologise if that wasn't what you meant. But anyway on the jealously issue. Maybe that is true, but when all the wealth being created is only going to the before mentioned groups it is inevitable that somethings going to be said about it eventually.But it's not though, it's just that more is going to certain people than it was before.

Yes but look at what is happening. The pay gap is widening, its not simply a case of CEOs getting payed more than the rest, thats always been the case. Its the fact that only they are benefiting from increasing wealth while the "average worker" isn't which is of concern. Its completely unrelated from a hypothetical situation where the pay of average workers is dependant on the pay of CEOs. As for your comment about the "oppressed working class", I don't know, although wealth ultimatley orginates from the work of workers so maybe your onto something.Why does it matter so much how much more the big CEOs are earning? Let's just say this article is right and the rich are going to get a lot richer what do you want to see happen? The richest in the country already pay fairly high taxes so if they get richer it means they'll be paying more in taxes anyway.

I couldn't care less how much bankers or CEOs were paid. They're private companies (yes I am aware there are some state-owned banks) and are entitled to pay their staff such high salaries if they wish.

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 15:21
But it's not though, it's just that more is going to certain people than it was before.No, thats not exactly what the issue is. The issue is that all the wealth being created is going to, well, the wealthy. While the average worker isn't seeing any benefits which, for reasons already briefly covered, isn't fair or right.

Why does it matter so much how much more the big CEOs are earning? Let's just say this article is right and the rich are going to get a lot richer what do you want to see happen? The richest in the country already pay fairly high taxes so if they get richer it means they'll be paying more in taxes anyway.

I couldn't care less how much bankers or CEOs were paid. They're private companies (yes I am aware there are some state-owned banks) and are entitled to pay their staff such high salaries if they wish.I don't think it does matter how much more CEOs are payed. I think it more matters how much less everybody else is paid. As for what to do about it, I'm not sure, government intervention is a no go. Maybe the answer lies with "average workers", unionisation perhaps.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 16:09
No, thats not exactly what the issue is. The issue is that all the wealth being created is going to, well, the wealthy. While the average worker isn't seeing any benefits which, for reasons already briefly covered, isn't fair or right.It's no problem at all. It's not as if wealth is literally being created and is being handed out to just the rich.

I don't think it does matter how much more CEOs are payed. I think it more matters how much less everybody else is paid. As for what to do about it, I'm not sure, government intervention is a no go. Maybe the answer lies with "average workers", unionisation perhaps.There's minimum wage. Companies don't have to pay a cleaner £40,000 a year if they don't want to.

What do you mean? There already are unions.

Cochrane
17-05-11, 16:15
I think what Super Badnik means is that all the economic growth businesses are experiencing is not just down to good management, but also due to the efforts of the lower-paid ranks. Not letting them share in the companies success, while paying managers way more than they could reasonably need, can be considered unfair.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 16:17
I think what Super Badnik means is that all the economic growth businesses are experiencing is not just down to good management, but also due to the efforts of the lower-paid ranks. Not letting them share in the companies success, while paying managers way more than they could reasonably need, can be considered unfair.It's not illegal though. I think it would be good if companies did raise wages as profits rise but I don't think it should be law.

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 16:41
It's no problem at all. It's not as if wealth is literally being created and is being handed out to just the rich.Baring in mind we're talking about wages, it sort of is.

There's minimum wage. Companies don't have to pay a cleaner £40,000 a year if they don't want to.

What do you mean? There already are unions.There is minimum wage, obviously as it stands its not bridging the pay gap. I guess they could alter it in light of said gap. I suppose the problem there could be that companies may prefer to lay workers off rather than pay less to CEOs if they had to pay workers a better wage.

I know there are Unions, but not every worker belongs to a Union and the Unions themselves don't seem to be tackling this issue.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 16:46
Baring in mind we're talking about wages, it sort of is.

There is minimum wage, obviously as it stands its not bridging the pay gap. I guess they could alter it in light of said gap. I suppose the problem there could be that companies may prefer to lay workers off rather than pay less to CEOs if they had to pay workers a better wage.

I know there are Unions, but not every worker belongs to a Union and the Unions themselves don't seem to be tackling this issue.Sometimes pay CEOs less is not enough, bearing in mind there aren't going to be that many top executives in a company.

What if not all workers want to belong to a union, and what action do you suggest they take?

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 17:50
Sometimes pay CEOs less is not enough, bearing in mind there aren't going to be that many top executives in a company.Not quite sure If I fully understand this bit. You mean that paying CEOs less may not be enough to improve workers wage? If thats the case then in this situation, where pay has become disproportionate, surely the answer is to decrease pay somewhere and increase it elsewhere. Of course thats assuming that a company actually cares enough.

What if not all workers want to belong to a union, and what action do you suggest they take?Usually when a unionised group of workers aren't happy they either strike or threaten to strike. Unfortunatley strikes are not always good for their interests since a company may be unwilling to hand over pay to a striking worker and the participants could face retribution later on.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 17:56
Not quite sure If I fully understand this bit. You mean that paying CEOs less may not be enough to improve workers wage? If thats the case then in this situation, where pay has become disproportionate, surely the answer is to decrease pay somewhere and increase it elsewhere. Of course thats assuming that a company actually cares enough.I was talking about if a company were in a position where they needed to cut costs. The CEO taking a pay-cut isn't really going to do much.

Usually when a unionised group of workers aren't happy they either strike or threaten to strike. Unfortunatley strikes are not always good for their interests since a company may be unwilling to hand over pay to a striking worker and the participants could face retribution later on.That's exactly what we don't need - unions holding the country to ransom like they did in the 70s.

Ward Dragon
17-05-11, 18:48
I know there are Unions, but not every worker belongs to a Union and the Unions themselves don't seem to be tackling this issue.

At least here in the US, the unions are often corrupt and don't care about issues that actually matter to the workers. The union bosses do what's best for themselves. They negotiate bonuses for themselves (sometimes even bribes) and the workers get next to nothing despite being forced to pay dues to the union if they want to keep their jobs. The system is really messed up.

Anyhow, regarding the CEO salaries, I think it really depends on what they are doing with the money. If they are spending it within the UK or investing it in the UK, then it might be a good thing for the UK overall. However if they hide the money under a mattress or in a Swiss bank account then it's not helping anybody.

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 19:26
I was talking about if a company were in a position where they needed to cut costs. The CEO taking a pay-cut isn't really going to do much.Oh. I don't see why cost cutting needs to come into this. The idea being that you cut pay for CEOs so that workers can have more. Surely its a matter of redistribution rather than cutting costs.

That's exactly what we don't need - unions holding the country to ransom like they did in the 70s.If "holding the country to ransom" is whats needed to achieve justice then so be it.

At least here in the US, the unions are often corrupt and don't care about issues that actually matter to the workers. The union bosses do what's best for themselves. They negotiate bonuses for themselves (sometimes even bribes) and the workers get next to nothing despite being forced to pay dues to the union if they want to keep their jobs. The system is really messed up.I don't think thats such a problem in the UK, although I've never really looked into it. I guess the lesson here is that Unions should be democratic or they will inevitabley become another corrupt institution.

Anyhow, regarding the CEO salaries, I think it really depends on what they are doing with the money. If they are spending it within the UK or investing it in the UK, then it might be a good thing for the UK overall. However if they hide the money under a mattress or in a Swiss bank account then it's not helping anybody.That is also an issue. Although I think the main point is that, ideally, everbody should be spending the money.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 19:54
At least here in the US, the unions are often corrupt and don't care about issues that actually matter to the workers. The union bosses do what's best for themselves. They negotiate bonuses for themselves (sometimes even bribes) and the workers get next to nothing despite being forced to pay dues to the union if they want to keep their jobs. The system is really messed up.It's the same here. To be honest I'd say they're worse than the politicians.

Oh. I don't see why cost cutting needs to come into this. The idea being that you cut pay for CEOs so that workers can have more. Surely its a matter of redistribution rather than cutting costs.You mentioned companies would rather lay off staff than cut CEO pay and I was pointing out that if a company ever got into the position of needing to lay off staff then cutting CEO pay wouldn't do much.

If "holding the country to ransom" is whats needed to achieve justice then so be it.It's not what's needed at all though - both the method and the goal.

That is also an issue. Although I think the main point is that, ideally, everbody should be spending the money.There's nothing wrong with saving money either.

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 20:10
It's the same here. To be honest I'd say they're worse than the politicians.Well thats another issue related to Unions. Obviously there needs to be change if there is such corruption, but workers ultimatley do need a voice.

You mentioned companies would rather lay off staff than cut CEO pay and I was pointing out that if a company ever got into the position of needing to lay off staff then cutting CEO pay wouldn't do much.I did, but that was in the context of a hypothetical situation where the minimum wage was altered to make pay fairer with the pay gap in mind. I believe that I pointed out that a company may have favoured laying off workers rather than redistributing pay.

It's not what's needed at all though - both the method and the goal.Well thats a matter of means and ends. Striking is sometimes needed (what else would you do?) and as for the goal, well that depends, but if democracy means people rule then people have every right to make demands.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 20:23
Well thats a matter of means and ends. Striking is sometimes needed (what else would you do?) and as for the goal, well that depends, but if democracy means people rule then people have every right to make demands.Striking whenever you don't get your own way isn't democracy. The unions holding the country to ransom so that their demands are met is not democracy.

Super Badnik
17-05-11, 20:39
Striking whenever you don't get your own way isn't democracy. The unions holding the country to ransom so that their demands are met is not democracy.Well, this all depends on what a Union is, you do make it sound like an organisation with its own interest at heart, rather than a group of organised workers. But anyway, I don't know what you mean by "the country" but the government should appease its people and a company should appease its workers.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 21:34
Well, this all depends on what a Union is, you do make it sound like an organisation with its own interest at heart, rather than a group of organised workers. But anyway, I don't know what you mean by "the country" but the government should appease its people and a company should appease its workers.It's both an organization with its own interests at heart and a group of organized workers. It's those organized workers the unions use to get satisfy their own demands.

By the country I just mean everyone basically. And no, I don't believe the government should appease its people as everyone wants different things. Same goes for companies.

Cochrane
17-05-11, 21:43
Striking whenever you don't get your own way isn't democracy. The unions holding the country to ransom so that their demands are met is not democracy.

That depends very much on your understanding of democracy. Peaceful protests if one isn't happy with the situation are very much part of democracy, in my opinion, and a strike can be considered one of those.

If you don't like strikes, then what other means do you propose? Wait for the company bosses to decide on their own whether they want to pay their workers or not, placing themselves in the power of a few people they did not elect? That seems far less democratic than strikes. And obviously "quit and start working somewhere where the wages are better" is only marginally more realistic than "leave the country if you don't like the government".

"Holding the country to ransom" sounds bad if you put it like that, no doubt about that. And clearly, there are cases where striking often goes too far, e.g. France. Fromwhat I heard, this may have also applied to the UK of the 1970s, but I don't know much about that issue. But if companies do not want that, then they should try to form good relationships with the workers early on rather than try to break unions. I'd rather have a bit of inconvenience due to strikes than workers who are not able to negotiate wages freely.

Mad Tony
17-05-11, 21:46
That depends very much on your understanding of democracy. Peaceful protests if one isn't happy with the situation are very much part of democracy, in my opinion, and a strike can be considered one of those.

If you don't like strikes, then what other means do you propose? Wait for the company bosses to decide on their own whether they want to pay their workers or not, placing themselves in the power of a few people they did not elect? That seems far less democratic than strikes. And obviously "quit and start working somewhere where the wages are better" is only marginally more realistic than "leave the country if you don't like the government".

"Holding the country to ransom" sounds bad if you put it like that, no doubt about that. And clearly, there are cases where striking often goes too far, e.g. France. Fromwhat I heard, this may have also applied to the UK of the 1970s, but I don't know much about that issue. But if companies do not want that, then they should try to form good relationships with the workers early on rather than try to break unions. I'd rather have a bit of inconvenience due to strikes than workers who are not able to negotiate wages freely.Peaceful protest is a part of democracy, but I don't really class striking as a form of peaceful protest. I'm not wholly against strikes per se, I just think they're used far too often.

Super Badnik
18-05-11, 09:44
It's both an organization with its own interests at heart and a group of organized workers. It's those organized workers the unions use to get satisfy their own demands.

By the country I just mean everyone basically. And no, I don't believe the government should appease its people as everyone wants different things. Same goes for companies.Ok, I guess thats just your view, but if an institution does not appease the subjects it relies on then it deserves to be annihilated by them. I do have to comment on your idea that everybody wants different things. That may be true from a wider perspective of life in general but I don't think it holds up as well in this context. Consider what people actually want from companies/government; a good wage, decent working conditions, decent living conditions and the right to basic necessities. They don't actually conflict to that extent.

Peaceful protest is a part of democracy, but I don't really class striking as a form of peaceful protest. I'm not wholly against strikes per se, I just think they're used far too often.But isn't striking peaceful protest? Striking itself isn't an act of violence or destruction. As for your point about them being used too much, I have to reaffirm Cochrane's point of what else do you do when your a worker and its a company? You have no method of voting bosses out or any other kind of democratic voice.

Cochrane
18-05-11, 09:55
I have to side with Mad Tony for a moment: Appease is not the right word for what the government should do. Appeasing is mainly emotional, giving the people what they think they need. Right now, we can see how leaders in the middle east are trying to appease the people by reshuffling a few seats in cabinets or (in the richer states) handing out cash to people.

What the government should do is serve the people and their interests. That can and has to include unpopular decisions, as long as they help the people in the long term. Obviously, a government should try it's very best to get the people to agree (grudgingly) to unpopular things that are necessary.

Obviously, serving the people does not directly translate to business - a business has the job of serving the shareholders. But a business should take the interests of its workers into account and fulfill reasonable demands. Ensuring that is what strikes are for, and in that regard I agree with you fully.

Mad Tony
18-05-11, 11:01
Ok, I guess thats just your view, but if an institution does not appease the subjects it relies on then it deserves to be annihilated by them. I do have to comment on your idea that everybody wants different things. That may be true from a wider perspective of life in general but I don't think it holds up as well in this context. Consider what people actually want from companies/government; a good wage, decent working conditions, decent living conditions and the right to basic necessities. They don't actually conflict to that extent.An institution doesn't deserve to be "annihilated" if it doesn't appease its subjects. Government especially, people want different things. A large chunk of the country want no spending cuts, where as an equally large chunk want them. Some don't feel they go far enough. What are the government for example supposed to do to "appease" people? If they carry on cutting they'll piss off people like you but if they stop they'll piss off people like me.

Business isn't quite the same, but even then people want different things.

But isn't striking peaceful protest? Striking itself isn't an act of violence or destruction. As for your point about them being used too much, I have to reaffirm Cochrane's point of what else do you do when your a worker and its a company? You have no method of voting bosses out or any other kind of democratic voice.Not in my books it's not.

I feel they're used too much because sometimes they're just not necessary and the unions are making unreasonable demands.

Cochrane
18-05-11, 11:57
I don't know what books people here in this forum have, but generally speaking, why wouldn't striking be a form of peaceful protest?

A proper strike means people voice their opinion loudly, in accordance with the right to free speech, and together, in accordance with the right to free association. So far that is like any normal protest. It is unusual in that it is directed against companies instead of the government, but there are many peaceful protesters against banks or against pollution that direct most of their ire against businesses as well. A strike is also not really open to the public, but usually limited to workers at the companies in question. But this does not make it less of a peaceful protest; protests by university students, for example, are just as limited.

And yes, there are violent strikes, violent demonstrations against banks and pollution and violent protests of university students. I don't mean any of those, but the many more cases you don't hear about in the news precisely because they are peaceful.

The main argument you could make is that a strike can hurt the economy. That is true and in fact a necessary part of strikes (otherwise companies would just ignore them). That does not make them violent, though. Not working is anybody's right and very different from actively interfering in anything.

In fact, strikes could be considered the oldest form of peaceful protest. The seccessio plebis in ancient rome, first seen in 494 BCE, meant that many of the poor and oppressed classes walked out of the city and striked. That is quite a considerable history.

Super Badnik
18-05-11, 12:03
An institution doesn't deserve to be "annihilated" if it doesn't appease its subjects. Government especially, people want different things. A large chunk of the country want no spending cuts, where as an equally large chunk want them. Some don't feel they go far enough. What are the government for example supposed to do to "appease" people? If they carry on cutting they'll piss off people like you but if they stop they'll piss off people like me.

Business isn't quite the same, but even then people want different things.Spending cuts I suppose is an issue. The trouble with your analysis is that it assumes there is an equal split between those who are in favour and those who are against. I mean, considering that only a measley 350 people turned up to the pro-cuts "rally" the other day in opposition to the 5,000 who tuned up to rally against disability cuts the wednesday before suggests that one view may be more popular than the other. Especially considering the 350 strong rally for cuts was supposed to counter the 500,000 people protesting against said cuts back in March. Obviously though you would need some sort of referendum to establish how pro/anti cuts the country is for definite. I suppose the solution to such problems is to use a voting system to establish what people want.

Not in my books it's not.

I feel they're used too much because sometimes they're just not necessary and the unions are making unreasonable demands.But ultimatley strikes will only happen if companies refuse to give their workers what they want, and if they do refuse, again, what other powers do they have? As for unreasonable demands, you'll have to be more specific, but generally workers don't ask for things such as £40,000 in pay. And lets bare in mind when you have a workforce to work for you, your ultimatley relying on them to create the wealth needed for you to live and for your company to survive, so when do demands become "unreasonable"?

Mad Tony
18-05-11, 12:47
I don't know what books people here in this forum have, but generally speaking, why wouldn't striking be a form of peaceful protest?

A proper strike means people voice their opinion loudly, in accordance with the right to free speech, and together, in accordance with the right to free association. So far that is like any normal protest. It is unusual in that it is directed against companies instead of the government, but there are many peaceful protesters against banks or against pollution that direct most of their ire against businesses as well. A strike is also not really open to the public, but usually limited to workers at the companies in question. But this does not make it less of a peaceful protest; protests by university students, for example, are just as limited.

And yes, there are violent strikes, violent demonstrations against banks and pollution and violent protests of university students. I don't mean any of those, but the many more cases you don't hear about in the news precisely because they are peaceful.

The main argument you could make is that a strike can hurt the economy. That is true and in fact a necessary part of strikes (otherwise companies would just ignore them). That does not make them violent, though. Not working is anybody's right and very different from actively interfering in anything.

In fact, strikes could be considered the oldest form of peaceful protest. The seccessio plebis in ancient rome, first seen in 494 BCE, meant that many of the poor and oppressed classes walked out of the city and striked. That is quite a considerable history.It's definitely a gray area. What about all the disruption they cause?

Spending cuts I suppose is an issue. The trouble with your analysis is that it assumes there is an equal split between those who are in favour and those who are against. I mean, considering that only a measley 350 people turned up to the pro-cuts "rally" the other day in opposition to the 5,000 who tuned up to rally against disability cuts the wednesday before suggests that one view may be more popular than the other. Especially considering the 350 strong rally for cuts was supposed to counter the 500,000 people protesting against said cuts back in March. Obviously though you would need some sort of referendum to establish how pro/anti cuts the country is for definite. I suppose the solution to such problems is to use a voting system to establish what people want.People aren't going to turn up to protest when the government are doing what they want anyway. Much less incentive than protesting against something that is happening that you want the government to stop. Not only that, but those opposed to spending cuts tend to be younger and more liberal (I'm just generalizing here) and thus are more likely to go out and make their voices heard. Protest numbers aren't reflective of the whole population. If they were the Tories would have about 50 MPs in parliament, if that. I think you'd find there's a fairly even spread from people who don't want any spending cuts at all to those who want to go much deeper.

It's very rare for the large majority of the population to have a similar opinion on a national issue or government policy. This is why the government shouldn't have to "appease" people because it's quite simply impossible. Not only that, but in some cases certain things are necessary regardless of how much support they have. Democracy doesn't mean mob rule.

But ultimatley strikes will only happen if companies refuse to give their workers what they want, and if they do refuse, again, what other powers do they have? As for unreasonable demands, you'll have to be more specific, but generally workers don't ask for things such as £40,000 in pay. And lets bare in mind when you have a workforce to work for you, your ultimatley relying on them to create the wealth needed for you to live and for your company to survive, so when do demands become "unreasonable"?Just because workers want something doesn't mean it's morally right that they get it. As I said, I'm not against strikes per se but IMO a lot of the time they are not necessary with regards to unreasonable demands.

Super Badnik
18-05-11, 15:32
It's definitely a gray area. What about all the disruption they cause?"Disruption" dosen't make it not peaceful or undemocratic though.

People aren't going to turn up to protest when the government are doing what they want anyway. Much less incentive than protesting against something that is happening that you want the government to stop. Not only that, but those opposed to spending cuts tend to be younger and more liberal (I'm just generalizing here) and thus are more likely to go out and make their voices heard. Protest numbers aren't reflective of the whole population. If they were the Tories would have about 50 MPs in parliament, if that. I think you'd find there's a fairly even spread from people who don't want any spending cuts at all to those who want to go much deeper.Well I guess the government could stop cuts and see what happens but that would be an odd way of assesing the country's mood. Again, a referendum like vote would be most effective. As for the ages, maybe but I'm not sure. The people at the rally back in march appeared to be mostly of adult age. As for the Tories, their popularity has been decreasing since taking power, last I heard YouGov put them at 36% behind Labour with 41% this month. Of course, it should be remembered they had been more popular than Labour in opinon polls from 2007-10 so its a pretty notable drop. On top of that, I would say it was far from the truth that the majority voted Conservative last year because they liked their policies and not because they felt let down by the previous Labour government.

It's very rare for the large majority of the population to have a similar opinion on a national issue or government policy. This is why the government shouldn't have to "appease" people because it's quite simply impossible. Not only that, but in some cases certain things are necessary regardless of how much support they have. Democracy doesn't mean mob rule.But we are going a bit off course. I believe the orginal point was the demands of people. Nobody is going to actively go for things that result in their living standards dropping. Of course people have in the past voted against their own interest, but when it actually comes to that time, people end up being not so in favour.

Just because workers want something doesn't mean it's morally right that they get it. As I said, I'm not against strikes per se but IMO a lot of the time they are not necessary with regards to unreasonable demands.I don't know about this. Again, if you rely on a workforce to produce the wealth needed for you to live and for your company to survive are the limits really being breached?

Mad Tony
18-05-11, 15:47
"Disruption" dosen't make it not peaceful or undemocratic though.I never said it did. :confused: I said striking is not protest.

Well I guess the government could stop cuts and see what happens but that would be an odd way of assesing the country's mood. Again, a referendum like vote would be most effective. As for the ages, maybe but I'm not sure. The people at the rally back in march appeared to be mostly of adult age. As for the Tories, their popularity has been decreasing since taking power, last I heard YouGov put them at 36% behind Labour with 41% this month. Of course, it should be remembered they had been more popular than Labour in opinon polls from 2007-10 so its a pretty notable drop. On top of that, I would say it was far from the truth that the majority voted Conservative last year because they liked their policies and not because they felt let down by the previous Labour government.A referendum on every big government policy wouldn't work. That's the whole point of parliament.

I think you're missing the point. If protests were anything to go by (and I don't just mean now) the Tories would have been a very minor party for decades already. For some reason protesters tend to be mainly a left-wing (no I'm not saying they're always left-wing). I don't know why. My point is that protests never have and never will be representative of the opinion of the entire population. You compared the hundreds of protesters" for spending cuts against the hundreds of thousands against them but you and I know both know opinion is split far more evenly than that. This applies to most big issues by the way.

I don't know about this. Again, if you rely on a workforce to produce the wealth needed for you to live and for your company to survive are the limits really being breached?You seem to think the limits can never be breached.

Cochrane
18-05-11, 15:52
It's definitely a gray area. What about all the disruption they cause?

I never said it did. :confused: I said striking is not protest.

So striking isn't clearly a form of protest because it causes disruption? I'm not sure I fully understand what you are trying to say here.

Mad Tony
18-05-11, 16:22
So striking isn't clearly a form of protest because it causes disruption? I'm not sure I fully understand what you are trying to say here.A lot of the time striking isn't used as a means of protesting but simply to cause disruption and get the union bosses what they want.

interstellardave
18-05-11, 16:28
Not working when you normally would be working will naturally cause a "disruption". Things aren't getting done as they were before: a disruption. And that's why they can be effective... but strikes are born out of protest at some real or perceived injustice.

Cochrane
18-05-11, 17:34
A lot of the time striking isn't used as a means of protesting but simply to cause disruption and get the union bosses what they want.

You keep conflating unions with corrupt unions and strikes with pointless strikes, and I don't think that is helpful. Yes, some strikes aren't justified, but that can be said about any protest. It does not reflect on strikes in general.

With this post and most others in this thread you are implying that unions are always or mostly corrupt, and hence strikes are less worth than other forms of protest. That's like saying "all these politicians are corrupt anyway, so why bother with politics". As I understand it, you do not like that point of view.

Are there unjustified strikes? Hell yes. Look at what the GDL is doing with railroads in Germany right now (In short: They are escalating their labor conflict very rapidly, so that most people who are not members of this union, including other unions, have said this was an abuse of power. Some assume as a means to attract more workers to the GDL). But that does not mean strikes in general are not a legitimate form of peaceful protest.

Peaceful protests can cause disruption. That is inevitable (e.g. when roads have to be closed for a demonstration) and sometimes necessary for the protest to succeed, but as long as the main offense is simply not doing something, it is still peaceful. Peaceful here does not mean "can't do anything other than speak very loudly"; it means not doing anything illegal and/or violent.

Super Badnik
18-05-11, 20:16
I never said it did. :confused: I said striking is not protest.You really need to explain this point. Why isn't it a form of protest?

A referendum on every big government policy wouldn't work. That's the whole point of parliament.True, although I don't think centralised government should be the future I think they should very much look to the opinon of the public as much as possible, ideally all the time.

I think you're missing the point. If protests were anything to go by (and I don't just mean now) the Tories would have been a very minor party for decades already. For some reason protesters tend to be mainly a left-wing (no I'm not saying they're always left-wing). I don't know why. My point is that protests never have and never will be representative of the opinion of the entire population. You compared the hundreds of protesters" for spending cuts against the hundreds of thousands against them but you and I know both know opinion is split far more evenly than that. This applies to most big issues by the way.I do doubt the Tories will ever become a minor party, but for the same reasons why Labour will never be a minor party, but thats another issue. As for the cuts, no I actually don't know how even the split of opinion is. I can guess that the waning support for the Tories and Lib Dems suggests that opinion is going away from favouring their action, which involves cuts, but beyond that there is no way of telling. Hence why some sort of census of public opinion could be useful to a government.

You seem to think the limits can never be breached.That dosen't really answer the question at hand. The limit, pressumabley that being whatever a company can cope with without collapsing, is rarely breached by demands of striking workers.

Mad Tony
18-05-11, 21:56
You really need to explain this point. Why isn't it a form of protest?I've already explained why it isn't IMO.

True, although I don't think centralised government should be the future I think they should very much look to the opinon of the public as much as possible, ideally all the time.It's not feasible. The whole point of electing MPs is that they go to parliament to represent their constituency. Not only that but a lot of people couldn't care less about politics or how the country is run.

I do doubt the Tories will ever become a minor party, but for the same reasons why Labour will never be a minor party, but thats another issue. As for the cuts, no I actually don't know how even the split of opinion is. I can guess that the waning support for the Tories and Lib Dems suggests that opinion is going away from favouring their action, which involves cuts, but beyond that there is no way of telling. Hence why some sort of census of public opinion could be useful to a government.You missed my point again. I said if protests were representative of the population then the Tories would be a minor party.

Tory support held up well in the local elections. Ok, Labour would probably win if an election were held tomorrow but Tory support hasn't gone down that much since most Tories wanted spending cuts in the first place anyway. Most of us are fiscal conservatives remember. The Lib Dem vote collapsed because of the tuition fee row. And no, a consensus on public opinion would be pointless because it's the opinion of myself and most Tories (including the ones governing) that spending cuts are necessary, so it's not like an overwhelming view that there should be no cuts would do anything, nor should it. The general population don't directly govern the country for a very good reason - most of them have nowhere near enough understanding of the political system and the issues.

Super Badnik
19-05-11, 12:45
I've already explained why it isn't IMO.

It's not feasible. The whole point of electing MPs is that they go to parliament to represent their constituency. Not only that but a lot of people couldn't care less about politics or how the country is run.But when it comes to issues that directly effect people, such as spending cuts, people often do have an opinion one way or the other. I don't see why it is unfeasible to listen to public opinion more, when it comes to important issues I'm sure it could be done if the government really wanted to do it. But I don't think they would.

You missed my point again. I said if protests were representative of the population then the Tories would be a minor party.I know the Tories, and Labour for that matter, will never be minor parties, but thats not really because the majority of the population think they are wonderful.

Tory support held up well in the local elections. Ok, Labour would probably win if an election were held tomorrow but Tory support hasn't gone down that much since most Tories wanted spending cuts in the first place anyway. Most of us are fiscal conservatives remember. The Lib Dem vote collapsed because of the tuition fee row. And no, a consensus on public opinion would be pointless because it's the opinion of myself and most Tories (including the ones governing) that spending cuts are necessary, so it's not like an overwhelming view that there should be no cuts would do anything, nor should it. The general population don't directly govern the country for a very good reason - most of them have nowhere near enough understanding of the political system and the issues.Tory support hasn't held great though has it? In a short space of time they went from being more popular than Labour to clearly being less popular than them, and Labour haven't exactly been very active this past year. The Tories did want spending cuts, but again, they hardley won the election because of an overwhelming support for their policies (come to think of it they didn't actually win). I don't know if most of us our fiscal conservatives, maybe we are, until we realise the services we use are being taken away that is. As for your comments on the population governing themselves, well the people would have to overhaul our entire system for that democracy.