Pay the boss, starve the staff
As usual, Cory Doctorow talks sense on this one.
A trade union representing tens of thousands of frontline workers at BT and its subsidiary Openreach are all set for the first nationwide strike in 35 years after Britain’s largest telco refused to agree to pay talks. At the center of the dispute is BT's decision in April to pay 58,000 engineers and call center staff a one-off …
I was a wee nipper in the 1970s so a lot of the problems went over my head. Now I'm in my 50s it's so great to be able relive the 1970s all over again with recession, rising prices and constant strikes.
I only hope they also bring back serious naff haircuts and stupid fashions!
But there were council houses so poor people didn't have to pay "market rents" for a 2 room shit hole. Work was scarce where we lived (in a council house) and if she was out of work our single mum could claim social security (universal credit today) instead of dole (jobseekers' allowance) while we kids were under the age of 16, so she didn't have prove she was looking for work. Today that age is is 3 years old and after that it's jobseekers and the recipient has to be searching for work and available for work for at least 16 hours a week.
I don't remember us living in poverty. Tea was sometimes bread and (butter or jam) when things were particularly bad and we only a proper Sunday dinner if mum was working and had Sunday off - but we got free school dinners and they were good and seconds often available, which is possibly why I still eat like a dog! I had catalogue clothes while my mates had Levis, Wranglers and Adidas, but I was better off than my brother who got to wear my clothes after I grew out of them. I only really ever felt left out when people talked about places they'd been - especially the pictures - cause mum simply couldn't afford it.
But everyone's Uni fees were paid by the council and my full grant at the time it was over £600 a term, which was more per week than my mum took home from the job she had at the time working in a clothing factory.
What I'd really like to understand is why today, given that the tax take is a higher proportion of GDP than it's ever been, we can't afford to provide council houses, better benefits, uni. fees and grants, and all the other support that let me and my brother get out of benefits dependence.
When we moved into a council house in the early 1970's, it had a garden, and a *downstairs toilet* - thanks apparently to the "Parker-Morris" standards. Translating my parents' circumstances to the current day, even if such a palace were available, they wouldn't be able to afford it. So much for levelling up. I'm actually ashamed to live in a country where we can't provide a decent respectable standard of living for so many, while oligarchs and billionaires live it up.
"What I'd really like to understand is why today, given that the tax take is a higher proportion of GDP than it's ever been, we can't afford to provide council houses, better benefits, uni. fees and grants, and all the other support that let me and my brother get out of benefits dependence.
Partly because one of the first things the Thatcher government did was to remove exchange controls. Most people just thought 'Great, I can take more cash on holiday', but it was done so that companies and rich people could shovel their money into offshore tax havens.
Another thing they did was to reduce the top rates of income tax and increase VAT, so the burden of taxation fell less on the wealthy and more onto everyone else.
The tax burden on working people is higher than it's ever been simply to rake back the tax that should be being paid by corporations, but isn't.
This is because we've had 43 years* of government that favours big business over the people who actually vote them in. Of course so many voters believe what the Tories say rather than looking at the facts+. The Tories always claim to be the party of low taxes but in reality you generally pay more tax under a Tory government. The Tories claim to be the party of law and order, but crime tends to increase under a Tory government. And of course the Tories claim to be the party of low unemployment, but all they do is change how unemployment is measured. They love to claim that employment is higher than it's ever been while failing to mention that they will count a school dinner supervisor who works five hours a week as employed even though that person is claiming the full rate of universal credit. But that's the real reason for universal credit. The old version of unemployment used to be anybody who was claiming unemployment benefit or jobseekers allowance or dole or whatever you call it. These days unemployed is anybody who doesn't work at all. And working includes voluntary work that the dole office (sorry DWP) make you do as a condition of continuing to receive your benefits. Volunteer in a charity shop? According to the Tories you are employed.
*Don't try to tell me that New Labour weren't anything other than a slightly more liberal version of a Tory government
+It's amazing how many Tory voters I speak to still believe in trickle down economics
"What I'd really like to understand is why today, given that the tax take is a higher proportion of GDP than it's ever been, we can't afford to provide council houses, better benefits, uni. fees and grants, and all the other support that let me and my brother get out of benefits dependence."
Tories. That's why.
Agree with the original poster.
My parents were paid a pittance, but saved up a little to buy a small plot of land, before they decided they could afford to have me. Year round, chicken, eggs and veg all came off the land.
In a small village there was no transport except the school bus and so going out was not a thing, but it meant that we entertained ourselves in the fields until we we old enough (still illegally young) to work on the local farms. (No shop either so mum's bike had to have a basket.)
My parents were too proud to claim benefits, and that would involve a regular 14 mile round trip by bicycle taken out of the working day! - so completely undoable.
I did get free school meals while my mum cycled to school (6 mile round trip) to cook the meals.
Clothes had a hierarchy that my father still uses. When it bececomes too scruffy to go somewhere official it becomes work wear and when too bad for that it becomes something to work on the garden with. (Yes his gardening coats are held together with baler twine. And he is very open that since he has retired, the state pension means that he has more income than ever before.)
I remember putting the knee out of my school trousers one September and my mum converting them into shorts for me to wear for the rest of the school year, (and some of the next as I didn't grow out of them!) A winter in shorts as a 13 yo in a fairly rough comprehensive school was "character building!" for numerous reasons. (Eventually the Head Master gave me trousers out of the lost property box as I was sent to him for the umteenth time for not wearing correct uniform!)
Without the grant I could not have been the first person in my extended family to attend higher education, although it had to be at the 'local' establishment (15 mile bicycle round trip from my lodgings each day, which were a 30 mile cycle from home.)
Anon as I don't want sympathy.
I was brought up frugal and to see the waste in government, the NHS and Social Services is gauling. But to see the people who won't work is more so, as they still get given more than my parents ever earned.
I reckon that BT think they will be able to maintain normal service by using their usual motely band of subcontractors (Kelly's, Quinn's Murphy's, etc.) except of course they won't. Most of those "engineers" can only deal with the most basic of tasks. Any shortage of proper engineers will lead to a backlog of more complex work, especially faults, that the subbies won't be able to handle. If the strike lasts any length of time BT and Openreach will no doubt end up paying out a lot of service credits. Of course they will try to wriggle out of it by claiming the strike is MBORC (matters beyond our reasonable control) but I doubt that will wash. After all the strike at the moment is only over BTs refusal to sit round a table and discuss an improved pay deal. That is not an unreasonable request.
BT, Openreach and all their various resellers are trying to play this down in the same way the train companies did. It started off with them predicting no impact to customers, just like it did with the rail strikes. Then it seems to be turning to there may be some delays to faults and orders, but nothing they can't handle, just like with the rail strikes some services may be cancelled and passengers should expect delays. The final stage for the rail strikes was for the rail companies to tell passengers that most services would be cancelled and people should not attempt to travel by rail. The same will happen with BT. No doubt the evening before the strike commences we will be advised that all orders will be delayed for the duration of the strikes and customer shouldn't bother raising any faults because they are unlikely to get fixed.
It’s been going that way for a while now. The irreverence, the ironic humour and the interesting offbeat and NSFW articles have pretty much disappeared. The Register used to be an escape from the corporate style of other tech news sites, but now I find it hard to tell the difference. YMMV of course.