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Diggers' Forum report on away work and travel is out
#1
Away work, travel and subsistance report 2012

The report on our survey of away work is now finished and has been emailed or posted to all DF members. The report is over 100 pages long and contains two key sets of recommendations, intended to bring much needed clarity to the advertisement of archaeological jobs, and to improve the terms and conditions for employees who travel or work away; the main report can be downloaded here.


Please read through the report, discuss it with your colleagues and let us know what your comments and views are, particularly on the recommendations on advertising archaeological jobs, and on travel and away work.


We are moving on to the next step in our campaign, and are asking the IfA, FAME, Registered Organisations, employers and unions to join the DF in discussions as to how we put the recommendations into practice. Finally, we’d like to thank all the individuals and organisations that took part in the survey.


Please contact us if you are a DF member and have not recieived your copy, or require a hardcopy.

'The ultimate question must be asked, what kind of profession do we want to leave to future generations of archaeologists? Do we want to maintain the current system of disposable, deskilled workers living often hand-to-mouth and travelling across the country in the hope of just keeping going? Do we want to maintain a kind of two-tier system between those that have permanent jobs and those that are on short contracts; between those working as Site Assistants and those who have climbed the ladder to Supervisor and beyond?


If this survey has shown anything, it is hopefully that by simply levelling the field regarding travel and accommodation conditions we can make commercial archaeology a less dysfunctional and self-abusing profession and significantly improve the profession for all.'
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#2
Starting to implement this in BAJR, some of the suggestions at least, and re-introducing others that I used to have... but perhaps they need to return. the secret is in an easy to understand advert, that allows comparison.

Thank you Chiz and all the others who helped.

ps... Nice to see that BAJR is still numero Uno :_)
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#3
I agree that the formula seems to have a logic and sensibility that defies the critics as to why it hasn't been implemented before......
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#4
Quote: The ultimate question must be asked, what kind of profession do we want to leave to future generations of archaeologists? Do we want to maintain the current system of disposable, deskilled workers living often hand-to-mouth and travelling across the country in the hope of just keeping going? Do we want to maintain a kind of two-tier system between those that have permanent jobs and those that are on short contracts; between those working as Site Assistants and those who have climbed the ladder to Supervisor and beyond?

who we talking about

http://www.bajr.org/Employment/UKEmploym...sp?ID=8624
Reason: your past is my past
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#5
You and everyone else in the job.
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#6
BAJR Wrote:Starting to implement this in BAJR, some of the suggestions at least, and re-introducing others that I used to have... but perhaps they need to return. the secret is in an easy to understand advert, that allows comparison.

Thank you Chiz and all the others who helped.

ps... Nice to see that BAJR is still numero Uno :_)

I thought you'd like that! And yes, the secret is in transparency -if you have nothing to hide, don't hide it. My employer is proud enough of what they offer that they publish the details of their travel pay on their website for all to see, would every employer be that keen to see their rates publicised?

I hope you'll be able to get back to us with a detailed response once you've had a proper chance to reflect on the report.

Chiz
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#7
Hi

I'd just like to add some comparative information from a place overseas. The state service (the majority employer of one of the largest archaeological workforces in Europe) - as a result of union pressure - sorted this out in the early 90's. Before they did so, the situation was pretty poor. Now, to my last knowledge away benefits are as follows :

Overnight stay = 45 Euros....37 sterling
meals = 15 euros x 2 meals per day
Travel : all petrol costs
All travel time is in work time : it is time not however reclaimable for the project, but staffing levels should - in theory - reflect the transport time loss.

A long term stay in a gite usually costs much less per night. This means that away work, with all its real inconveniences...no life outside work,( training possibilities, hobbies, fulfilling pleasurable non-work activities, etc...) absence from home, family, children, are at least partially financially compensated.

People who work long, hard, years - many technicians here are now approaching their 50's : the profession cannot continue to treat staff as disposable "yoof" - are not forced away from their families on sunday evenings to be on site at 8,00 am on monday morning. They do not have to travel in the wee small hours, nor until 8,00 pm on a tired, frazzled friday evening - which means overall they are more likely to survive : many road accidents are caused by tiredness/exhaustion. I knew two colleagues who were killed on friday returns. How many do you know?

Just a note, the private companies, with which the state service has been forced into competition, mostly do not pay these rates, nor travel arrangements. It is not to be wondered at that the government (and their big business cronies) favour privatisation.

Having tried both, the difference in accumulated exhaustion on long-term away projects, is huge : it can be the difference between enjoying the job and suffering it.

Also, I do not know any archaeologists in this country who are without permanent accommodation, living only site-to-site. Everyone here can afford a home. The situation in the Uk may have vastly improved, but I certainly lived from a rucksack for a number of years. I was young and it was fun, but "impoverishment" is gradual and real : how do you invest in your learning when you cant physically carry the books you would like to buy....., for example?


I would like to thank the diggers forum and the individuals concerned with the production of this important report in the hope that it may significantly contribute to the improvement of working and living conditions for archaeologists in the UK. By so doing it may help to make archaeology a more viable long-term career, in which practitioners have the time to supplement/acquire and apply archaeological/historical knowledge as well as technical proficiency, to the long term benefit of the profession, and to the greater professional and personal fulfilment of the individual.
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#8
I note that the Diggers Forum report excluded data provided by individuals working outside the UK....I don't have a problem with that but as Overseas suggests there maybe something to be learnt from systems that are in place in other European nations.

Here in Norway archaeological field workers are paid an addition to their salary to cover overnight accommodation and meals, when away from the office for a specified period of time. The rate varies with different employers but is roughly in the region of ?90 per day/night. It is also payable for each weekend day if you are unable or chose not to return to your home accommodation for any reason. A smaller allowance is payable if working out of the office for the day but not requiring overnight accommodation. The payment is taxable, but at a much lower rate than the rate for salary.

I'm not sure that anyone makes a 'profit' out of the allowance (bearing in mind that short term accommodation and food come at a price in Norway), but it is certainly the case that no-one should be signficantly out of pocket through the demands of their job. I think where Norway has an advantage over the UK is that the system is accepted throughout all sectors of industry, central and local government and in effect the same claim form with the same details is used throughout the country by anyone who has to make a claim The Prime Minister fills in exactly the same form as I do and claims under the same conditions of entitlement. In that sense the system is at least recognised as a 'national standard' for recompensing staff for work related expenses. I mention this because it seems to me that IfA could lead a campaign to establish a 'national minimum standard' for such claims amongst UK archaeologists, perhaps in the first instance being adopted by RAOs but also promoted to the industry as a whole

The second advantage I think is that the component of the budget that recompenses staff for their 'away' expenses is identifiable as an element within the overall project budget. A construction company having to pay for archaeology, would easily recognise that it is no less than the amount they would have to pay their own staff in similar circumstances. Of course Norwegian archaeology's biggest advantage (at least in terms of staff pay, terms and conditions) is that it does not have competitive tendering for the field work component of archaeology, nor the distraction of 'local' archaeological companies able to set 'local' prices as a competitive advantage. In that sense their system is proabably closer to the state service outlined by Overseas, than the common or garden UK scenario.

But it does work and everyone knows where they stand.....no ambiguity here.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#9
Sorry not to notice your comments earlier Kevin and Overseas; yes the survey was just for UK commercial archaeology, although we did get a few responses from UK archaeologists working abroad, and from non UK archaeologists working abroad! The situation in other countries always makes for interesting comparisons, however it was a massive enough job to do a UK survey, let alone include other countries! A similar survey in Ireland might be achievable fairly easily, and shed light on what has actually happened over there, but it is outside DF remit really, and we want to concentrate on the results of this report and trying to get feedback on the recomendations and get them implemented and improve the lot of site staff over here.

But....Kevin, would you care to put your experience of working in Scandinavia into an article for the newsletter? It would make intersting comparison and be useful to those thinking of seeking work there? 'Overseas', I'm not quite sure where you work, but the same goes for you if you'd be interested?

Surveys like ours, and Invisible Diggers 2 and Profiling the Profession all help shine a light on the make-up of this profession. I hope our survey has gone that bit deeper into areas which we all knew about from experience and anecdote, but had no hard data on. Now we have data, we can act on it and try and make a difference. Step one is to get people talking about the issues and the results, step two is to make what is going on more transparent so we can all make informed decisions about what a job really involves. Step 3 is improving the terms and conditions and levelling the playing field up.

There are also some very interesting threads to follow up, one key thread being what will happen when tuition fees really kick in? We are currently experiencing an aging profession as new starters find it harder to get a toehold on the jobs ladder -but our industry is built on disposable Diggers. What happens when this supply dries up when students debts are ?40K? Lots more questions...

What we could really do with is feedback from everyone on the report, and the recommendations. What is important to you, and what would make a real difference? Let us know here, or email us at diggers@archaeologists.net or on http://www.facebook.com/DiggersForum I know its 100 pages, but its hopefully fairly easy to dip into!
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#10
do you think that this survey made a big mistake by defining away work as working away from home. Seems to me that home is not a good tax definition. As I understand it most tax issues relate to place of work. Away work relates to work carried out away from your "normal" place of work. Using the term home throws in a second variable which just about makes this survey impossible to contemplate. On the tax subject maybe you should highlight the tax implications of all of your recomendations.

Quote:
What happens when this supply dries up when students debts are ?40K
this industry (like metromola funny people thought that it might be a local authority rather than a class 2 exempt charity) can just take people off the street like it did for manpowerservices but the truth is that people with 40k dedts will still dig and will still at some point in their self appointed career join the ifa and claim that some standard or something of the ifa should be needs to be enforced. Little do they realise that that its the ifc, institute for curators, but did the curators ever came any where near your survey. Maybe you should get them to put your recommendations into their wonderus wtitten scheme of works Must be standard for it somewhere
Reason: your past is my past
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