Tuesday, August 24, 2004

"Bribing" unions

NZPundit's fill-in denounces the government's lump-sum payments to PPTA members as "bribery". He's wrong. It's simply the fruits of union collective bargaining power.

To put it bluntly, the purpose of a union is to use its collective power to secure economic benefits for its members. Normally, this takes the form of improved wages and conditions - but it doesn't have to. In cases where the employer wishes to maintain a unified pay-scale and not to have to distinguish between union and non-union staff on a day-to-day basis, a lump sum is entirely appropriate. And that is exactly what has happened here - the Ministry of Education simply doesn't want the hassle (administrative and otherwise) of paying PPTA members more per week than non-union staff with identical duties and experience, and so it has opted for a one-off payment instead.

This is obviously annoying to teachers not receiving the payment, but there's a simple solution: join the union.