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Work Voice Pay

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“Welcome to the August edition of Work Voice Pay Monthly, as a part of Unite’s industrial strategy, each month we will bring you the latest bargaining data and news.”

Sharon Graham, Executive Officer – Work Voice Pay

The latest RPI figure shows inflation at 2.8%

Cost of Living - Going Up

The latest RPI figure shows inflation at 2.8%

On 18 August the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest retail price index (RPI) figure. It shows that prices are up 2.8% from a year ago.

 

Fuel and light are up 6%

The price of fuel and light continues to outpace overall inflation. Electricity costs 9.6% more, a rise three times the rate of RPI. Coal and solid fuels are also up 4.7% with gas also going up 3.2%.

 

Clothing and footwear are up 5.8%

Women’s clothes are up a whopping 9.4% while new gear for the kids is up 7.8% and men’s outerwear is 6.1% more expensive than last year.

 

Leisure services are up 4.4%

The price of each leisure service has gone up by more than overall inflation. The price of holidays in the UK has risen a hefty 6.4% over the past year and foreign holidays are also up 4.2%. Even staying at home is not cheap with television licences and rentals up 4.6% and entertainment and other recreation 3.1% dearer than last year.

 

Household services are up 4%

Similarly to leisure services the price of each household services category has risen faster than overall inflation. Telephones, telemessages, etc. have gone up by 4.8% while postage rose by 4%. Fees and subscriptions are 3.7% more expensive than last year and domestic services are also up, by 3%.

 

Catering is up 3.2%

Overall, catering has risen by more than RPI. This has largely been driven by the increase in the price of take-away meals and snacks, which are up by 3.9%.

 

RPI Items Breakdown

Here are the latest figures for all the retail price index (RPI) items.

 RPI ITEMS  Annual Change (%)
 ALL ITEMS 2.8
 Food 1.3
 Catering 3.2
 Alcoholic drink 2.0
 Tobacco 5.6
 Housing 2.2
 Fuel and light 6.0
 Household goods 2.6
 Household services 4.0
 Clothing and footwear 5.8
 Personal goods and services 2.5
 Motoring expenditure 1.5
 Fares and other travel costs 2.1
 Leisure goods 1.6
 Leisure services 4.4

 

NOTE: Why RPI not CPI?

Unite strongly recommends using the Retail Price Index (RPI) for negotiations because it more closely reflects the actual price rises experienced by Unite members. The RPI has been going since 1947. It is still used to decide prices such as mobile phone bills, rail fares, student loans and ‘sin’ taxes e.g. alcohol. 

Some employers prefer the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which the government introduced in 2004 as a measure of inflation. The CPI is calculated using a different mathematical model which tends to make it lower. It includes the spending of groups not usually relevant to our negotiations. It doesn’t include the price rises our members experience in paying for mortgages or foreign holidays.

 RPI not CPI  CPI not RPI
Mortgage payments The top 4% of households by income
What you spend on holiday Pensioner only households 
  Stock brokers fees
  Spending by foreign tourists

 

“The extension of collective bargaining will be key”

Writes Sharon Graham

At the Rules Conference in June delegates made history be enshrining collective bargaining in our rule book for the very first time. Perhaps most importantly the motion committed the Union “To extend collective bargaining” and bring more workers under Union agreements. This will be key as we intensify focus on our core industrial work.

To match this ambition we must tackle a very different labour market than when we were at our peak. Outsourcing, which together with agency working has already absorbed well over 3 million workers, is set to increase by 4.5% every year for the next ten years. National and sector level bargaining are in decline with site level negotiations dominant. It is in this climate that we need to find effective ways to unite workers and bargain at scale.

So, how can we do this? First, if we are to maximise our influence we need to widen and deepen our collective. That is why we have, together with our stewards, developed in a number of industries ‘trigger’ agreements. In each case, we table the agreement, for example on New Technology, with the top ten employers in a given Sector simultaneously. Through organisation, action and in some instances leverage we demand that each sign.  The agreement is triggered when all top 10 sign. One agreement across ten companies in one sector. This deals with the competitive argument and also is an attempt to prevent undercutting.

Of course not every employer is going to agree, some will be openly hostile. And it is in such cases that we must be prepared - if pushed - to act outside of the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in Europe.

Secondly, we want to increase the number of workers covered by bargaining. So, wherever possible we are looking at a single agreement covering all non-direct workers, including outsourced and agency. This fragmentation and division of work only exists so that employers can avoid responsibility. We want to again stop the undercutting.

Refocusing on our core industrial work through Work, Voice, Pay will enable us to assist our stewards and officers to drive through good agreements by Sector.

Sharon Graham, Unite Executive Officer

sharon.graham@unitetheunion.org

 

Who owns who?

Mergers and Acquisitions News

Toyota and Suzuki are strengthening their alliance

Since 2016 Toyota and Suzuki have collaborated in areas such as hybrid technology, engines for compact vehicles and in markets such as India and Europe. They now look to build on that relationship by buying stakes in each other. Japan’s largest carmaker, Toyota, has agreed to pay $908 million for a 4.9% stake in Suzuki. Likewise, the smaller Suzuki will pay $453 million to acquire roughly 0.2% of Toyota.

 

BP is selling to fund shale

BP will sell operations in Alaska to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion. The sale is part of BP’s plan to sell $10 billion of assets to pay for its move into US shale. Last year BP paid $10.5 billion for BHP’s US shale assets but shareholders were worried that the company might be overstretched by the acquisition.

 

Meanwhile a rival comes out of its Shell

Royal Dutch Shell has entered the Australian electricity market with a $418 million deal for ERM Power that is expected to close by the end of the year. ERM is Australia’s second-largest energy retailer and provides electricity to industry. It generates electricity from two gas-fired power plants and Shell could supply ERM’s power stations with liquefied natural gas. Shell is already one of Australia’s biggest gas producers but wants more of the electricity supply chain.

 

Bidcorp needs to stay focused … on food

Food company Bid Corporation Ltd (Bidcorp) expects to sell its UK logistics business by October. Bidcorp has been trying to sell the previously loss-making UK contract distribution business for more than a year to allow it to focus on its core business. ThAt should be helped by a 12.5% rise in full-year earnings which returned it to profitability.

 

The idea of combining two smoking giants got a lukewarm response

The owners of Marlboro cigarettes Philip Morris and Altria are in talks to create a $200 billion tobacco group. Last year the two reported combined sales of nearly $50 billion and net profit of $15.3 billion. Philip Morris would own nearly 60% of the combined group and it would be the sixth largest takeover ever! The companies’ logic is that it would help them to grow in e-cigarettes but investors are yet to be convinced of the merits of the deal.

 

It’s Your Work, Voice and Pay

Work, Voice, Pay is our Union’s broad industrial strategy led by Unite Executive Officer Sharon Graham. It is founded on core principles:

  • Securing good jobs and decent work
  • Making sure workers have a strong and effective voice
  • Getting decent pay and conditions

Unite reps have access to a whole WVP toolkit to support and help you to get organised and win where you work. Just go to https://unitetheunion.org/work-voice-pay/ and log in. There you will find a number of tools including:

  • Campaign Templates
  • Work, Voice, Pay guides
  • Pay and Anniversary Date data
  • Pay Claim Generator
  • Work, Voice, Pay Monthly
  • Employer Profile Generator
  • Collective Agreements Database

We are adding to and improving WVP tools all the time. If you are a Unite rep and you have suggestions for WVP tools, Executive Officer, Sharon Graham would welcome your input.

Email: sharon.graham@unitetheunion.org

If you don’t have your login details just email david.wesson@unitetheunion.org

 

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produced its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) in October 2018. This can be a useful tool for activists to benchmark against in pay rounds. See how your pay compares to the median pay of workers in your industry or region.

Industry and Regional Data

CODE

STANDARD INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION

MEDIAN £ PER WEEK

AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHING
457.80
MINING AND QUARRYING 
777.40
MANUFACTURING 
585.00
ELECTRICITY, GAS, STEAM AND AIR CONDITIONING SUPPLY 
766.30
E
WATER SUPPLY; SEWERAGE, WASTE MANAGEMENT AND REMEDIATION ACTIVITIES
606.40
CONSTRUCTION 
624.00
G
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE; REPAIR OF MOTOR VEHICLES AND MOTORCYCLES
473.70
TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE 
575.50
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD SERVICE ACTIVITIES 
387.10
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION 
766.60
FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE ACTIVITIES 
768.00
PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES 
678.30
ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT SERVICE ACTIVITIES 
479.10
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DEFENCE; COMPULSORY SOCIAL SECURITY
642.70
EDUCATION 
607.60
HUMAN HEALTH AND SOCIAL WORK ACTIVITIES 
528.90
R
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION 
471.60
S
OTHER SERVICE ACTIVITIES
492.70

 

ONS NATIONAL REGION

MEDIAN £ PER WEEK

UNITED KINGDOM 569.00
ENGLAND 574.90
NORTHERN IRELAND 521.20
SCOTLAND 563.20
WALES 509.00

 

ONS ENGLISH REGION

MEDIAN £ PER WEEK

LONDON 713.20
EAST 558.10
EAST MIDLANDS 515.90
NORTH EAST 506.80
YORKSHIRE & HUMBER 520.80
NORTH WEST 529.60
SOUTH EAST 589.20
SOUTH WEST 531.20
WEST MIDLANDS 536.60

 

ASHE also records the average median pay for occupational groups.

Occupational Data

CODE STANDARD OCCUPATIONAL CLASSIFICATION MEDIAN £ PER WEEK ANNUAL % RISE
1 MANAGERS, DIRECTORS AND SENIOR OFFICIALS 835.10 1.6
11 CORPORATE MANAGERS AND DIRECTORS 912.70 1.8
12 OTHER MANAGERS AND PROPRIETORS 582.00 1.2
2 PROFESSIONAL OCCUPATIONS 745.50 1.7
21 SCIENCE, RESEARCH, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS 804.90 2.1
22 HEALTH PROFESSIONALS 691.10 1.5
23
TEACHING AND EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS
740.40 1.1
24 BUSINESS, MEDIA AND PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSIONALS 757.00 2.3
3 ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS 620.20 2.5
31 SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONALS 555.80 1.9
32 HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONALS 495.90 1.4
33 PROTECTIVE SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 748.40 2.4
34
CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORTS OCCUPATIONS
536.60 3.7
35 BUSINESS AND PUBLIC SERVICE ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONALS 661.20 4.6
4 ADMINISTRATIVE AND SECRETARIAL OCCUPATIONS 446.30 3.5
41 ADMINISTRATIVE OCCUPATIONS 454.70 3.6
42 SECRETARIAL AND RELATED OCCUPATIONS 409.80 2.5
5 SKILLED TRADES OCCUPATIONS 524.60 2.9
51 SKILLED AGRICULTURAL AND RELATED TRADES 393.60 3.6
52
SKILLED METAL, ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC TRADES
595.70 3.5
53 SKILLED CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING TRADES 536.30 3.5
54 TEXTILES, PRINTING AND OTHER SKILLED TRADES 415.80 4.0
6 CARING, LEISURE AND OTHER SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 373.50 3.4
61 CARING PERSONAL SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 371.40 3.9
62 LEISURE, TRAVEL AND RELATED PERSONAL SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 384.50 2.2
7 SALES AND CUSTOMER SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 383.40 3.5
71 SALES OCCUPATIONS 359.80 2.8
72 CUSTOMER SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 421.60 4.8
8 PROCESS, PLANT AND MACHINE OPERATIVES 490.00 3.8
81 PROCESS, PLANT AND MACHINE OPERATIVES 458.50 4.9
82 TRANSPORT AND MOBILE MACHINE DRIVERS AND OPERATIVES 521.60 3.3
9 ELEMENTARY OCCUPATIONS 385.20 4.4
91 ELEMENTARY TRADES AND RELATED OCCUPATIONS 402.20 5.3
92 ELEMENTARY ADMINISTRATION AND SERVICE OCCUPATIONS 380.50 4.3
  ALL EMPLOYEES 569.00 3.5