Poll: What do you think about pay cuts?
This poll is closed.
Pay is low enough - I won\'t stand for cuts
188 85.45%
Pay is low - But a jobs a job I would accept it
27 12.27%
Any pay is fine for what we do
1 0.45%
I would be happy to do it for nothing
4 1.82%
Total 220 vote(s) 100%
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Pay and Conditions
Clare King Wrote:And finally - people talk about competitive tendering driving down quality and wages. Isn't that what your doing if you take a job that's badly paid?
Hi Clare, can you expand on this statement?
HAve discovered a glitch in the poll... only members can vote... am trying to rectify!
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
All of you contract archaeologists, try asking your line manager/director of unit, etc. how much they charge the client per digger (ie., what is the day rate per site assistant). Do any of you know how much you are 'charged out' for? How much of that actually goes to you? Why the hell should diggers get a pay cut? What they should get is a bugger cut of the huge day rate charged by their unit to the client. I suspect most of you working for the bigger units will be costing the client upwards of ?250/day! How much of that are you getting? I was a contract archaeologist for many years, getting a measly ?60/day (a lot less in 'the old days')and being charged out at around ?180-?200/day. I'm now freelance, and me and many of my freelance friends would never go back to contract work because of the blatant exploitation. How can units justify giving such a small cut to the individual who earns them their money?
I'm confused. Everyone is saying we should stand up for our profession and do something before things get too bad. But how? What is there that us lowly site assistants can do to help prevent pay and conditions from getting any worse? Other than trying to convince every archaeologist in the country not to accept a job lower than ?15K, or their BAJR pay grade, in an attempt to force units to pay more. Though that is unlikely to work as there will always be some people willing to take any job, as the poll is suggesting. Who actually has the power to make change and how do we get them to implement it?

Just wondering. Sorry if slightly off topic.
Well said Julie. I also would like to applaud Bradders for having the guts to stand up and tell it how it is for many of us who have been working at the sharp end in commercial archaeology, I've had many similar experiences, for instance;
1.The huge infrastructure job a few years ago where we were entitled to something in the region of ?35 per day (paid by the main client) for our subsistance allowance. Of course we never saw this as it was directed through our immediate employers. The accomodation we were provided with would have struggled to fetch a price of ?35 per week. To call them hovels would be an insult to hovels. I wonder if the rest of the money went on post-ex, eh?
2. Being told by a county mountie who was standing a meter above me at the side of my eval trench that the feature I was digging was "plainly a tree throw". He wasn't too amused when I pointed out that the "tree throw" was actually jam packed with a series of definable tip lines of burnt flint debitage. It gets better; the spineless area supervisor later approached me and told me to destroy any documentation I'd carried out on the "tree throw". Wonder what he did with the bags of finds!
diggingthedirt may have a point to some extent when he says that;

"It's more complicated than just saying that manager grade staff should take a pay cut-in many instances they already have."

Well maybe, "in many instances" they have. However, the idea of folk similar to myself agreeing to a pay cut when the levels of our pay are already so abysmal is not going to wash with me. Maybe the manager grade staff may have to get their backsides out of their offices and go dig for a living if they find they can't attract enough experienced diggers willing to work for a pittance, pay for their own transport to site, provide their own equipment and find their own accomodation, usually a tent.
You are right there have been a number of diffrent issues raised in this disscussion

One of the issues seems to strees that other construction workers and skilled site staff wouldn't except what archaeologist do.

Is this a problem with perception of archaeologist within the construction industry it know becoming common for archaeologist to hold a CSCS card but there are no grades for archaeologist as there are for other construction 'professionals'
surly this doesn't help in if with were trying to join and work with the construction industy and how there see us.

I know this has been raised before but how and who can we help to bring about these changes
Jo Wrote:convince every archaeologist in the country not to accept a job lower than ?15K, or their BAJR pay grade

Worth a go. There are many contractors who do this already... many units who pay well and provide benefits (and empathy) -- IF... IF people would stop one minute and only work for them... AND the potential for a skills bar where only 'qualified' field staff could work as field staff then you would have the power... BAJR has done its share... and did it because it would never back down. I prefer to lose adverts and jobs than to advertise anything. I am struggling with money for BAJR, but I am willing to do that, rather than accept anything. There is a bit to go until this can happen, but its in the pipeline... you will have the power if you want it.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
I don't agree that anyone on site should get a pay cut, I don't particularly agree that anyone off site should get a pay cut. I would like more wages for site staff, linked to better site staff. Pay peanuts get monkeys....There are two problems in archaeology that are the crux of our situation:
There are too many unskilled, untrained new entrants who are willing to work for less to get their foot on the ladder, and the units are too scared of being undercut to value what they do properly, and charge accordingly. There is no reason why we have to depress wages just because we are in a recession. As long as the county archs hold their ground, then the archaeology has to be done. FAME has been talking about small, nonRO units undercutting, but they have led the way by cutting accomodation and subs.

It may be callous and 'unfair', but I'd prefer the skilled archaeologists got the jobs during this downturn, and the new starters didn't get any work. It would be kinder to them after all! allow the industry to retain skills, it would be better for the units and the archaeology, and 90% of the new starters would have left archaeology in 5 years anyway, so whats the problem? Increasingly it appears that we are a victim of our own success, and we need to control supply by having skills based entry bars.
Drunky Wrote:developers seem to be under the impression that the archaeological investigation of a site is something that can be left to the last minute? ?Is this a problem with perception of archaeologist within the construction industry??

I think develops are fairly predicable creatures - perhaps the problem is they have become aware of how we view ourselves....as somebody said a while back, are we a profession capable of stabbing ourselves in the back?

@Jo ? yes if we all stood our ground collectivity like that (like some much else) it would be a glorious achievement! As far as unilateral action is concerned, the numbers involved are actually quite modest, when compared with vaguely applicable historic precedent ? disconnection and individual fear are the enemy...

But perhaps its not the same people with knives in their backs as those with the knives...lets us consider the (alleged) behaviour of of certain RAO 'representatives', as first suggested in the IfA Council Statement on Archaeological Salaries thread...

let us also consider a number of comments in this thread, first Ken Denhams about the wilful falsification of site records ? an extreme example only in that, more commonly, genuine ignorance, narrow mindedness, authoritarianism, and self-promotion ? rather than naked fear ? are to blame for comparable acts of neglect.

Drunky Wrote:Is this a problem with perception of archaeologist? ?

Yes ? crucial workers have been undersold in the tendering processes. Developers often are given unrealistic estimates and blurry, short-sighted interpretation. Archaeology is shoe-horned around, quibbling details bated about, all in an attempt by ambitious, under-informed managers to maintain the personal interpretation they have given their clients. No surprise that developers assume the value of archaeological work is limited.

Worse ? either that person is too weak to be anything other than transparent, or they have put so much effort into promoting their own narratives and agendas that they lose contact with alternatives suggested by the evidence. They fail to see the need for 'proof', and the abandon any pretence of research ? a thing that could truly generate Value.

Geli Wrote:Stupidity, greed and competitive tender will be the death of any meaningful commercial archaeology.?

Bradders Wrote:Please wake up ... the main thing being lost is the archaeology just so we can live the dream.?

But who, pray tell, gets the best dreams Mr and Mrs RAO 'Representatives'?

And don't they just so well jolly deserve it ? like the bankers ? for all the hard work they've done, the experience they embody, their inspired leadership?

Or perhaps RedEarth is right...
RedEarth Wrote:Exploitation combined with those who seem only too willing to be exploited is a dangerous combination. We need to do more to look after our own?

Julie Martin Wrote:How can units justify giving such a small cut to the individual who earns them their money
? apparently quite easily, the way all exploiters mask their actions from their own face, with a self affirming mantra, and a sickly air of undeserved worthiness.

Clare King Wrote:We ... need a certain number of archaeologists for the contracts that are around, ... People talk about competitive tendering driving down quality and wages. Isn't that what your doing if you take a job that's badly paid?

How right you are Clare King.....however I take issue with Benmoore, and Moggy for applauding the sentiment that:

Benmoore Wrote:I tend to accept pay cuts in the same way I accept pay increases...if we had an effective and knowledgeable union we could sort the bastards out.

oh dear, oh dear.......

a union can not sort out all these problems ? they can only enforce general employment law and best practice - the structure of employment and wages, if not agreed upon by archaeologists themselves can not be solved externally by a union, whose membership amongst archaeologists is somewhat less than could be desired if these sentiments are widespread and truly held...

Kevin Wooldridge Wrote:But why just cut the pay for junior staff, why not for the managers as well. In fact why not the managers alone.....Just a thought.

But a good thought Kevin Wooldridge...perhaps Equality is the issue rather than Size of wage per se.

There are Bad Apples out there ? they have undersold both the archaeology and their staff ? take a look around and ask if all those 'managers' really deserve the extra money ? have they contributed more than you have? Is their knowledge sufficient? Have they taken responsibility? Have they enabled your archaeological work, or have they hindered it?

Chiz is right ? the 'best' should be kept when there is oversupply (? but then again fresh young minds are so much easier to Exploit aren't they....)

Like Bankers, the Bad Apples justify their position :
-?we are working hard in difficult times?
-?i deserve my extra money because of my experience/qualifications/arcane 'knowledge'?
-?i generate contracts?
-?i take all the responsibility? ?.....................................................and so on............

Often these fall down on contextual examination ? most fundamentally the central concept that:

?if you don't pay these wages, then you don't get the best people?

While we might argue about our role as Temporal Waste Contamination experts, (imho) it is clear that archaeology MUST be for the Cultural Benefit of Society ? the more like a Construction Contractor the profession becomes, the more it will resemble and incorporate the deficient social norms that underpin Modern Capitalism.

Bankers and Bad Apples need that underpinning ? but We don't need Them. They CAN be replaced by people with equal or superior ability and knowledge, who really are prepared to work in a co-operative and equitable way.

Archaeology can try to operate within a Capitalist system, but it can NEVER be a Capital Enterprise, without also being a Farce and a Lie. Business Managers who think otherwise are poisonous and a liability to the archaeology.
Wages will always be relativity low, and as Craft, there will be an extended 'apprenticeship' period ? but this should be offset by Fulfilment ? the heart of which is Equality, Community, and Shared Purpose.

There is no point 'discussing' wages with some of the slimy, self-serving, overvalued individuals who might be found 'representing', for example, some IFA RAO's. Better to take radical action - abandon those employment hierarchies altogether...or cull the Bad Apples who routinely undersell the archaeology and archaeologists.

A Co-Operative, equitable company, with a harmonious community at its heart, not a fictional capital enterprise - it would not be able to pay anything like the 'top end' wages, but the central community would be Fulfilled and able enjoy the quality of their craft. Direct wages might fluctuate, but collective approaches to life have many other potential benefits.

Ask not whether wages should or should not be lower/improved ? only collective action can prevent/enable that ? if such collective action is possible, then why not make more radical changes for the long-term benefit of archaeology and society?
latest version of the advert now lists ?15,257 as the wage...

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