petej + pay + postfordism   15

The fossilised power of the older worker | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
"On the whole, older workers are not highly paid compared to their colleagues in their 30s and 40s, it’s just that they have been able to hang onto their pay rates and therefore seen their incomes fall by less. Furthermore, the generous pensions will disappear over the next few years too. It may be a popular stereotype at the moment but the wealthy oldie is likely to be an ephemeral figure.

I wonder if we are in danger here of framing as a generational issue something that is actually about a changing balance of power in the workplace. For a number of reasons, organisations are able to employ people on much less generous terms than they did twenty years ago. Those who have accumulated resources and positional power are able, to an extent, to insulate themselves from the effects of these changes. The recession has disproportionately affected those without accumulated resources. Those people are more likely to be young.

The power of the older workers isn’t being actively exercised like that of a cartel or a trade union. It is based on what happened in the past. Just as fossil fuels contain trapped sunlight energy from millions of years ago, the power of the older worker comes from gains trapped during the last century. It is fossilised power from a time when middle earners had a lot more clout than they do now. It is therefore finite. Even when they get to their 50s, the next generations won’t have that power. The old will take it with them when they go."
work  labour  employment  wages  pay  UK  economy  youth  elderly  postFordism  precarity 
march 2015 by petej

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