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PROSPECT....where are you?
#51
ME too!

I really have to get on teh phone to people... ! :0
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#52
What I think Prospects' lack of visibility basically boils down to is lack of involvement by the majority of Archaeologists. Prospect is a huge union which represents a very diverse workforce. Our Branch only has 300 members...if it was bigger it may carry more clout in the list of priorities of the paid union officials.
Please...if you want the union to do more than it already is (which is still a fair bit in the grand scheme of things), then join and get involved...a few people working very hard will lead to the collapse of the Branch structure every time those individuals are burnt out and must leave...and it is quite soul destroying to listen to complaints about how the union isn't changing things, mainly by people who aren't assisting change in any way.
It is a particularly harsh economic environment in Archaeology at the moment, and Units are behaving rather underhandedly in an effort to stay afloat (like taking post ex projects from each other, and undercutting until its hardly worth taking jobs at all). Staff suffer as a result (poor welfare, poor H+S, poor wages etc etc etc).
An ACTIVE union membership is the only way I can see of past gains remaining and future improvement of working conditions in the field. Management of Units aren't going to volunteer better conditions and pay at the risk of compromising their competitiveness...its only if each Unit moves forward together that gains can be made. And the workforce are the only ones to force those changes.
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#53
Quote:An ACTIVE union membership is the only way I can see of past gains remaining and future improvement of working conditions in the field. Management of Units aren't going to volunteer better conditions and pay at the risk of compromising their competitiveness...its only if each Unit moves forward together that gains can be made. And the workforce are the only ones to force those changes.

Jasper... you have it in one... and now BAJR is helping to make that visibility happen.... I am hopeful that working together... by seeing that helping each other is better than looking after no. 1 will be the only way ahead... AND it will help the contract units too... by allowing them the strength of workforce to move forward on sticky issues!

:face-approve:
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#54
Jasper makes some valid points, but I would disagree on one. I don't think that Prospect discriminates against archaeologists because of the size of the section. I am thinking about recent publicity that Prospect has attracted to campaigns by its much smaller 'Football Referees' section and previously to its 'Religious Ministers' and Meterologist sections.

To my mind, and I speak as a previous Branch Secretary of a large Prospect archaeology branch, there is a need to engage the whole union membership (and potential union membership) in every aspect concerned with the workplace, the archaeological site and the wider aims of the union. The union cannot function and won't attract and keep members if it is purely reactive, it has to be proactive. That means health and safety commitees, negotiations with management on jobs and job losses, equality committees, staff grievance committees, workplace learning committees, workplace education, training committess, the national union organisation, inter branch organisations, external trade union work (local campaigns, Trades Council etc etc).

It isn't possible to sit back and say 'Well we don't have any of that so we don't have to bother with it'. It is important for archaeological trade unionists to get across the message that the union is more than just about wages, contracts and job losses. And where the union organisation or workplace organisation is lacking, to campaign to improve things. My take on the failure of trade unions in the archaeological profession is that too many of us have fallen for the trap laid by 'conservative' politicians over the past 30 years. We need as workers to invest time and effort into our future and not to think about such investment in pure short term monetary gains or as to whether we are going to be unpopular in the short term, but as building blocks for our later careers and the careers of archaeologists to come.

(And David is right the same could be applied to the IFA. Rather than the 'what have they ever done for me' attitude wouldn't it be more professional to see that many small steps taken now could become giant leaps in the future....well maybe....)
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#55
(Originally by GnomeKing)---
Most competent people can mount a good case, with or without unionisation.

apologies... I could not rescue the rest of this post
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#56
(Originally by GnomeKing)---
Quote:Most competent people can mount a good case, with or without unionisation.


Unfortunately that is often not the case.

During my time as branch secretary of the Museum of London branch of Prospect I was often called upon to act as a representative or support for union members in dealings with both archaeological and museum management. Not least because the disciplinary and grievance procedures of the employer advised staff to seek and use union representation where appropriate. I believe that in the vast majority of cases this was useful to both union member and management as it 'officialised' proceedings. There is often a danger with longstanding colleagues of defining where friendship and/or management hierarchy can begin or end, and involvement of a union rep can often help.

Secondly, it s often the case that even the most 'competent' of persons when faced with issues such as redundancy, employment grievances, disciplinary proceedings, can feel overwhelmed if forced to deal with the issue alone. The strength of a union is comradeship and solidarity, in this day and age unfashionable words I know, but nevertheless words which still carry a lot of weight in my book. And words which I think go a long way towards understanding why many people still work in archaeology irrespective of the low pay, low prospects and uncertain future. I would hate the day if archaeology ever became just another selfish, self-seeking profession....one of the reasons I have always been a union member.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#57
At the risk of putting my head on the block I agree entirely with what you're saying GnomeKing, there do seem to be cases where union representation has NOT led to satisfactory conclusions for the Redundant Craftsman - I've heard of grievances which weren't resolved happily - and the aggrieved asking what happened - and that has made me suspicious, what exactly happened there? I remain a union member nevertheless, because I think that in general the spirit of cooperation can't be turned into yet another management tool, if that's what you're getting at. The two aren't necessarily at odds, but in general unions are on the side of cooperation, management's on the side of competition. Difficult to square that circle, unless you can remove the spirit of cooperation entirely from the human species....though pretty sure there are people about who'd prefer to have person-units working for them, rather than people. Bring on ze robots! Enough.
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