Monday, 20 July 2009

Just a thought

Imagine if the economic crisis had been caused by trade unions, by constantly pushing for higher wages and using industrial action in support of short-term objectives, regardless of the long-term consequences. Imagine if at every stage in the run-up to the crisis when government or regulators or the public had tried to curb their behaviour, or urged restraint, they had simply responded with threats to withdraw their labour (in the traditional sense, not by relocating overseas...). Imagine if that behaviour had left the country saddled with debt that would take years to pay back, with related cuts in public services.

Do we really believe legal curbs on their behaviour wouldn't be introduced? Do we have any doubt that legislation would be enacted to hamper their ability to do such damage again in future? Do we seriously think society would be satisfied with voluntary codes of conduct which they could choose to comply with, or explain why not? 

10 comments:

CharlieMcMenamin said...

Tom,
This post manages to be angry and true and profound all at the same time. Thank you.

Tom P said...

I'm a bit deflated now the prospects for significant reform seem to be diminishing.

Nick Drew said...

if it's the slightest comfort, I'm none to happy either

CharlieMcMenamin said...

I fear you're right Tom. Increasingly, the media are treating the depression and strained government finances that have resulted from the credit crunch as if they were a unpredictable natural event like a tsunami rather than being the specific creation of one sector of the economy. & you can't 'reform' a tsunami.....

Clifford said...

I agree with the first comment above. In fact I agree so much that I "borrowed" this post for the Other TaxPayers' Alliance - I hope you don't mind:
http://www.taxpayersalliance.org/news/union-wreckers

Nicolas Holzapfel said...

That's a really nice analogy. What would you say is motivating the double standards, as far as this government is concerned? Simply that the finance industry has more power than trade unions ever did and so taking them on is much riskier?

Heather Wakefield said...

Tom - That post is just so welcome. It's just a pity that we in trade unions and the Left seem unable to respond in a coherent and effective way to such breathtaking double standards! The discipline currently required of workers is out of all proportion to the profligacy apparently deemed necessary for our financial institutions to operate. Something odd there.....

Heather Wakefield said...

Tom - that's such a welcome post. The sad thing is that the unions and the Left are not making more noise about it! 1.5 million local government workers have just been offered an 'improved' pay offer of 1 - 1.25% and told that they can't expect more while local communities are suffering. They ARE local communities and they ARE suffering, but they are also keeping public services going...

Tim Worstall said...

Umm, re the unions, umm, isn't that actually what we did in the 1980s?

Tom Powdrill said...

Blimey - obviously struck a chord! Thanks for all the comments.

I only hope everyone will be putting submissions into the Walker Review arguing for more radical reform...

Timbo - umm, that was kind of my point.