When I saw this story from the BBC, I thought that I had gone to sleep for a year and woke up thousands of miles away in Chile. The Institute of Directors have today called for an end to collective bargaining for public sector workers,
The IoD has put forward 24 “freebie” proposals, which it says would cost the government nothing but would benefit growth, particularly in the private sector.
Among the most controversial would be the call to curb trade union negotiating power in large public sector bodies, said BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam.
The IoD also suggests that workers should pay a deposit of £500 when taking their employers to industrial tribunals to deter what it describes as “vexatious claims”.
Who says the IoD is not out of touch when they make proposals such as these? What this Tory-led government and its partners in the IoD and Taxpayers Alliance want is for this country to adopt the Chinese economic model with a bit of Chile on top. In essence this is the laziest of lazy thinking: stimulate growth by denying workers their human rights in what is supposed to be a ‘liberal democracy’. There is nothing democratic about the IoD or its proposals.
A spokesman for the Trades Union Congress said the IoD’s real aim was to make life easy for directors at the expense of their workforce and to lower pay and conditions in the NHS.
Brendan Barber the General Secretary of the TUC said,
“Our economy is not struggling because of the relatively modest platform of rights people have at work,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Taking these away and taking away collective bargaining from the NHS, that would do nothing to generate growth.
“We need decent fair pay systems, and collective bargaining is the way to deliver that.”
Naturally, the Treasury responded to IoD’s proposals with enthusiasm,
“We are glad the IoD has agreed that our deficit reduction strategy is central to growth.
“We have been clear that the Budget will build on work we have done already as we move towards a new model of economic growth.”
A “new model for economic growth”? This can only mean one thing: a new kind of economic slavery. Hayek argued against centralization in his book The Road to Serfdom. The title says it all. However in order to fully pursue a Hayekian economic order, civil liberties have to be suppressed and workers are forced to work for peanuts and for longer hours while the rich get richer at the expense of those who work for them. Nothing must interfere with profit. Ironically, the very things that Hayek argued have the potential to create a new form of serfdom. But Hayek didn’t notice this because, like a spurned lover, he was too busy formulating an extreme antithesis – a poison penned letter – to Keynesianism. But Hayek wasn’t really thinking about ordinary workers when he wrote his book, he was thinking about the wealthy.
These people won’t stop until many of us are working 14 to 16 hours a day in workplaces that are surrounded by razor wire and security guards with dogs.
Run them out!