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PROSPECT....where are you?
#21
Hello all...I have been a Prospect member since I began working in the sector seven years ago. Not because Prospect was everywhere I looked, but because I have always believed that trade unions, however 'militant' (or not), are the only protection a worker has against employer negligence (through profiteering or simply neglect) and this has proved to be the case on many occasions.

I luckily joined a Unit that has union recognition and about 40% union membership (not bad, but not enough)..and this has meant a pay rise (usually above inflation) every year, a decent amount of attention to health and safety matters and provision of health and safety equipment (we have an H+S Commitee, at which our union H+S Repis present and so there is direct contact with Management on these issues) greater attention to staff training, consultation on even the basics of company policy...the list goes on!

We worked on the Olympic Park for years, in one of the most contaminated parts of the South East and had it not been for the huge support from Prospect H+S Officer Sarah Page, and the then Prospect Organiser for Heritage, Chris Perry, H+S during the project would have been shambolic!
The prospect negotiator dave Allen (who isn't just responsible for Heritage, but has a number of sectors to represent) is working to meet with individual Units and employers organisations to finalise union recognition and attempt to work toward collective bargaining in the industry.
Lots is happening, but the Branch representing all Archaeologists (except those who work for Museum of London, who have their own Branch) has fallen into inactivity of late, because of the lack of activists (the ones who were very much involved for years have recently left, notably Chris Clarke, who has done a hell of a lot for Branch organisation in the past).

In short...more involvement is needed from Prospect members..and more Archaeologists need to join the union..it is a very, very valuable tool to be used to improve prospects for all in this very harsh economic environment (has anyone else noticed that Units are cutting each others throats for work at the min? Staff are bound to be the first to suffer). It seems such a waste that many Archaeologists feel it too expensive to involve themselves in furthering their own interests..that's what the union is about in the end...improving things for the worker..and workers in this industry are mugs not to involve themselves in that!
It takes a mammoth effort for union activists to improve things if there are only a few involved, thats why the main activists dropped out,fatigue! But its not too difficult if activists are numerous..thats how things are really achieved. My experience of union achievement at a Unit level bears this out.
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#22
Many thanks for that Jasper... exactly what is needed to hear about.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Dave Allen is spread too thin?

If we could have a list of Units that do recognise PROSPECT... then this will/should show what is ahppening.

I know only too well the fatigue that can set in, when you try and try and people just sit back and look at you with glassy eyes...

What would it take to get people to join? What incentive is needed... because lets be honest... there has to be one.
Would a discount on xxxxxxx or perhaps a free xxxxxxx? I am willing to put up a one off if it gets people joining... however... IF BAJR goes all out to help... It would be good to see reciprocation.

It is good you highlighted what is good about Prospect mebership... over and above the pay chestnut so a big thanks for that.


I will leave people with this quote from you :face-approve:

Quote: It seems such a waste that many Archaeologists feel it too expensive to involve themselves in furthering their own interests..that's what the union is about in the end...improving things for the worker..and workers in this industry are mugs not to involve themselves in that!
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#23
BAJR Host Wrote:What would it take to get people to join? What incentive is needed... because lets be honest... there has to be one.
Would a discount on xxxxxxx or perhaps a free xxxxxxx? I am willing to put up a one off if it gets people joining... however... IF BAJR goes all out to help... It would be good to see reciprocation.

I am sorry to be negative but I can't see the main disencentive for a field archaeologist to join ever being overcome - short term contracts which just about cover cost of living. If you are employed for 3 or 6 months with the understanding you will be given a months notice at any point due to projects being delayed or falling through, I can't see what good a union can do. The union can't magic up work to keep archaeologists employed on full time permanent contracts. In all but the most blatant cases claims for unfair treatment or constructive dismissal can easily be answered with "We had to give X notice as there was no work for them to do, they have been treated as their contract specifies and within the law".

I can only see union membership being useful enough to justify the membership fee for those lucky enough to have been in post a few years or those who are employed on long term or permanent contracts and want to keep their posts.
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#24
Would be interesting to see PROSPECTS take on that.
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#25
In terms of incentive, Chris Alan bought me a pint when I joined.

However, it probably is beyond the influence of the union to turn short term into longer term contracts. They might do more to influence the terms on conditions though; like Jasper points out on H&S. Also, if the union is recognised and is able to negotiate better T&Cs, like better sickpay or holiday conditions, these will apply to all staff not just the permamnent ones.

On another point, some people are sayuing that they would only join a union when there is a crisis. My old man was a branch secretary for many years, and he was always having people come and ask for help right at teh end of a massive long constructive dismissal process, which had sometimes been strung out over a couple of years, i.e. after they had actually been fired. The union will always try to help you, but they can't represent you if you're not a member. But even these non-members were benefitting from union negotiated contracts, as it was a workplace which recognised the union.
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#26
So a drive for membership will help those who are short term contracts as well... would they get help even in a company that does not recognise a Union? or does it only work in Unionised Companies... in which case... who are these companies. .

To again leave on a quote
Quote:they can't represent you if you're not a member
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#27
BAJR Host Wrote:So a drive for membership will help those who are short term contracts as well... would they get help even in a company that does not recognise a Union? or does it only work in Unionised Companies... in which case... who are these companies. .

To again leave on a quote

There used to be a list of archaeological companies who recognised PROSPECT on the union website, but I am not sure how up to date it is.

If memory serves me right the following employers recognise the union: Museum of London, Oxford Archaeology, Wessex, Cotswold, Headland, York AT, AOC, PCA (London), English Heritage, British Museum and I am sure there are more.......

Union recognition is not a difficult matter. Anyone can join PROSPECT even if the union isn't recognised in the workplace. Under law employees can then initiate a ballot amongst themselves and if a sufficient number vote in favour the employer is obliged to recognise the union. PROSPECT used to have a whole section who advised members how to go about this process and provided legal and secretarial back-up to ensure everything was undertaken as smoothly as possible.

http://www.prospect.org.uk/branchesgroup...rchaeology
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#28
I should also add Archaeological Solutions to the list of employers who recognise PROSPECT and the National Trust (both England and Scotland).....

I believe that all of the local government employerss (Suffolk, Norfolk, Worcester, Surrey, Southampton etc) recognise UNISON for negotiating purposes.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#29
Thanks Kevin.

Looks like we are doing PROSPECTS job for them just now. but it is a bit shrouded in mystery.... like the archaeology branch has been forgotten about.

We don't know where its recognised? and I note that the most recent initiative from them is

Quote:Our most recent initiative is a seven-point manifesto for archaeology, which seeks to raise the status of the profession and improve its terms and conditions.

which was actually published 30th April 2003. And although non members can't see this manifesto... I seem to remember at the time the content... still got seven points to go I think.

Anyway... it seems we have established that PROSPECT in London has worked well. That the concept of joining a Union is to strengthen everyones position and not just your own... to raise your pay or get you out of bother.... That for the Union to work, it needs members and commitment ... that a fully unionised workforce would establish a basis for industry wide negotiations... (which is better than me having to contact everyone!)

HOWEVER>>> PROSPECT central seem to have forgotten about archaeology... the information is out of date, or sadly hollow manifestos contact is minimal, and from what I can see, unless you live in teh London area, the Union reps are dispirited or non existent... not exactly a recipe for a strong future.

If however we do actually work together... and provide the means and platform for real change... will people join PROSPECT.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#30
I have emailed Dave Allen to ask for a discussion... to explain about this thread..and what we could do... and also to see how long it takes to get a reply.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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