Thursday, April 27, 2006

Employment Rights? Employment Wrongs...

And so, as mentioned yesterday, the Unions move on to pay. Of course, everyone is concerned with employment rights, which after all are the most important thing. Right? Right? 'No deal can be struck until the the Employment Rights Agenda has been agreed', say all. Here's the thing. Pay is everything in this negotiation. Absolutely and unequivocally everything. Otherwise, agreement on employment rights would have been lodged as a prerequisite for progress in the talks. Here's what's happened. Everyone has agreed on the things that everyone agrees on. The stuff that really matters in terms of employment rights is the controversial rump that requires hard bargaining.

By moving on to pay in the absence of agreement on the more controversial issues, the government has managed to move the talks on so that agreement in pay will be subject to their position on employment rights. By acceding to move on to the pay issue, the Unions have effectively announced to the world that pay is all that they are concerned about, and everything else is for sale.

Socialists are just great, aren't they!

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