Monday, November 16, 2009

Pay day: salaries in the news

Today’s news that employers' group CBI and recruitment firm Harvey Nash have found that half of all British employers plan to freeze pay will no doubt stir the debates around pay and fairness.

I’m not a regular reader of The Times but on Friday I picked up a free copy last week and read a couple of articles about pay.

The inflammatory headline Public sector workers laughing all the way to the bank caught my eye. In fact the content was a bit more subtle than that. A typical public sector worker may now earn £74.20 a week more than their private sector equivalent. The figures are partly distorted by bankers joining the public sector. (One factor not mentioned is the fact that now a lot of the lowest paid jobs have been out-sourced by the public sector to the private sector.) Nevertheless in the run up to next spring’s election the pay and the public-private divide will be a sensitive issue.

There was also a report about criticism of “greed, bonuses and supersized pay packets” in the voluntary sector from the union Unite. I personally do not have a problem with high salaries for managers in the not-for-profit sector, including the general secretaries of my old union Unite. The key thing is transparency and payment for (good) results.

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