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Movement on the living wage?
the big issue is going to be how to feed through improved wages and conditions into pricing for our clients. One for all or everyone for themselves? The difficulty is doing it without moving into cartel territory.

I think I will change my name as well Kevin - Voice of my Dad has a ring to it - sad to say, the older I get, the more I understand what my dad was saying and why.
Good point, VoR (or is it VomD), we do need to make sure the dignity wage can be enforceable without by employers without the smaller firms going under. Does anyone have experience of the construction industry? Is there a model we can look at? (If I remember rightly this has been discussed before).

nil desperandum

You forgot to include in you list of the diggers income (am I still allowed to use the word digger) the following

job seekers allowance.
rent rebates benefit
free dental treatment for people on low income

also I think the tax calculation is incorrect.

I think when we are discussing such figures we should look at the full picture.

On the beer and fags issue at £5.50 a packet and £3 a pint drinking and smoking are very luxury items in todays society.

Started on £8.60 a week when beer was 25p and fags 50p.

and maybe doing a temporary job to fill in, or am I being my dad again? In current climate, how much sustained 'digger' unemployment is there?
Peter, surely you aren't suggesting that we consider government handouts as part of a wage package? I suspect that would be straying from the realms of debate into argument for its own sake.

As for all the Pythonesque posturing, I believe the appropriate response is 'Up yours, grandad'. It wasn't much fun in the early nineties either, which is why there's a shortage of archaeologists in their early thirties (see invisible diggers report).

VoR, surely for other correspondents that should now be VoYD
(or VoKWD?).

'In the busy market there are fortunes to be won and lost, but in the cherry orchard there is peace'.
Chinese proverb
"how much sustained 'digger' unemployment "

Until the next unknown drop off... at the moment there are enough jobs... so many that there is not enough... but how long does that last?

That said the discussion on ensuring companies don't go under is valid... to play devils advocate (like yourself VoR) Companies should have been dealing with this for the past 20 years, rather than keeping prices lower and lower for fear of someone else getting the tender instead... You could say that the reason that there is now such a need for a BIG jump.. is that contractors cut-throat each other to the point where a few quid off a contract could win it for you... <<sigh>>

However... thats where we are now... so no point crying ...

I had suggested a 5% rise in wages over the next 5 years - sustainable... and also gradualy creeping up to where they should be.

Or is that to simple?

Nobody could survive a 40% pay rise... but you can over time...

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Just to clarify, I was talking about personal experience of unit directors I have worked for. I am very well aware that the sort of example I gave is not universally applicable, but there are still people like that in archaeology, and I've had the misfortune to work for a few. I know I personally don't have the skill or temperament to run a company, and am well aware the renumeration on offer to those who do is not commensurate with the time, effort and ability required.

My main point is that diggers are not on a wage which allows the purchase of certain things many would deem essential, while those higher up (though still underpaid) can. There is a 'them and us' gap between 'field workers' and 'office workers' of higher grades, both in wages which are over the level needed to pay for the essentials of life in Britain today, and in security of position.

In the current state of archaeology this gap is very hard to bridge, and in my experience is usually only achieved by those lucky enough to have worked in the field consistently for the same unit for several years and moving up to fill 'dead man's shoes'. That's another issue though.
Posted by Tom Wilson:
Quote:quote:'Up yours, grandad'
And I think the appropriate response to that is 'young people today - you don't know you're born'. Also, 'mind your manners'.

The point is nothing to do with 'Pythonesque posturing' - just to counter the belief expressed in some posts on this thread that older archaeologists, now in managerial roles, have no sympathy with the problems of today's diggers because they didn't experience similar problems when they were diggers themselves.

Most older archaeologists do have sympathy with today's diggers, because they do have vivid memories of similar problems.


to let, fully furnished
Quote:quote:Most older archaeologists do have sympathy with today's diggers, because they do have vivid memories of similar problems.

Absolutely ... So what are 'we' the older generation of hardbitten, coal eating, hard drinking, tough ex lags (er shurely diggers - Ed) You forget the MSC schemes ... (aah ... fair point - Ed) doing?

What - would those who now drive clapped out BMWs instead of clapped out Micras suggest.

Its all very well agreeing there is something to be done... but another to come up with the ideas...

What (in a perfect world - or in reality) would you do? Would you raise wages? Would you stay as is? would you hope the IFA will lead the way? or SCAUM? - Now it ain't so easy Wink)

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
We are collectively in a difficult position, because as an industry as what we effectively sell is labour, knowledgeable labour admittedly, but still labour. Therefore the vast majority of pricing is very sensitive to changes in labour costs, more than a manufacturer of goods or anyone who has other areas such as raw materials which form variable amounts of the cost of theor product. I would also say from experience that most archaeological contractors operate on small margins, except in rare and fortunate circumstances. Each 1% rise in labour cost has a very direct and proportional effect on the price and the erosion of margins. Businesses have to have some element of trading profit given by these margins to maintain cashflow and viability and the risk of this disappearing is what drives many running the companies.

A solution? The history of capitalism almost inevitably demonstrates a move towards monopoly, or provision by several large producers, who thereby effectively control the pricing of their goods themselves, removing the competitive market from the equation. Looking at it in a hard-nosed and unemotional way, one of our biggest problems is the sheer number and diversity of providers, all fighting competitively. Take some out, merge others and prices can rise by the absence of competition. The flipside is of course that larger companies ultimately tend to try to drive down labour costs to maximise return from their sales. But then, as I said before, we're not all b*****ds, and of course this wouldn't happen in archaeology, would it?

Didn't say it would be a popular solution!

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