Did The Unions Cause Inflation? Following On An Earlier Thread

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Mosaic | 14:37 Wed 16th Dec 2015 | History
11 Answers
Sandyroe raised the sale of Thatcher's clothing and that discussion led to a tendency to lash out at wicked old trade unions.
If unions have been responsible for inflation, then inflation should have stopped alongside union domination of politics.
I also wondered about MPS wages over the time period involved.

So I went away and found some information to inform debate.
MPs pay rises are charted here, not an easy read to pick them out:

A timeline of household income can be found here

After the late 70s MPs pay was based on parallels in business and commerce - so seems to indicate that it was in the time of worst inflation that the pay gap began to widen between the average and our betters.


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Mmmmmmm !
22:03 Thu 17th Dec 2015
I'm not sure that the pay history of around 600 people (probably 40% of whom were Labour and were affiliated to a union) really has much bearing on/relevance to the achievements/effectiveness of unions.
Question Author
I think the point is FF that this sector of public servants easily gained large pay rises despite repeated messages to the proles that pay would have to be reined in to avoid economic collapse.
Also, that these are matters of public record. Top level pay awards across the country seem to be getting universally more lavish while the cleaner's being told to economise and think of the country.
The process of Whitehall buying off the radicalism of MPs of all parties is well known - and again seems to be illustrated by the figures mapped against the changes of government.

The briefing paper is a bit of a commitment to read so I've summarised it:

Year Household average MP salary excl expenses
1970 £5,752.00
1971 £5,792.00
1972 £6,256.00 £4,500
1973 £6,636.00
1974 £6,570.00
1975 £6,619.00 £5,750 but pensioned at £8000
1976 £6,583.00 £6,062 but pensioned at £8000
1977 £6,444.00 £6,270 but pensioned at £8208
1978 £6,916.00 £6,897 but pensioned at £9327
1979 £7,315.00 £9,450 but pensioned at £12000
1980 £7,437.00 £11,750 but pensioned at £13,150
1981 £7,417.00 £13,950
1982 £7,435.00 £14,510
1983 £7,590.00 £18,500 automatic increases bases on Civil Service rates followed until
1984 £7,865.00 automatic increase
1985 £8,117.00 automatic increase
1986 £8,444.00 automatic increase
1987 £8,565.00 automatic increase
1988 £9,029.00 automatic increase
1989 £9,436.00 automatic increase
1990 £9,838.00 automatic increase
1991 £9,994.00 automatic increase
1992 £10,240.00 automatic increase
1993 £10,524.00 automatic increase
1994 £10,644.00 automatic increase
1995 £10,892.00 automatic increase
1996 £11,197.00 £43,000
1997 £11,639.00 £43,860
1998 £11,849.00 £45,066
1999 £12,144.00 £47,008
2000 £12,612.00 £48,371
2001 £13,120.00 £49,822
2002 £13,342.00 £55,118
2003 £13,686.00 £56,358
2004 £13,764.00 £57,485
2005 £13,949.00 £59,095
2006 £14,081.00 £60,277
2007 £14,045.00 £61,181

According to the ONS data used in the Telegraph article, the average household income is now actually declining.
Question Author
That table came out really rubbish but hopefully you can see the two columns of figures, households vs MPs.
yes, incessant above inflation pay causes more inflation. CSE economics dear boy. There are not enough MPs for their salaries to have any effect on the economy.
I have a theory - supported by no evidence whatsoever - that Arthur Scargill had a secret agenda when it came to the coal miners. I think his private ambition was for the miners to earn the same as MPs. Look how often the MPs got a pay-rise, followed by a miners' strike. He must have known that it was Thatcher's ambition to break the power of the Unions, but still he recklessly went on calling strikes. Until he overreached himself.
Question Author
TTT, MPs pay rises were based on equivalent top earners in industry. So the 600 MPs are just one group of much higher earners.
Obviously the next step is to find out how many people fall into the 'captains of industry' category.
I found it of interest to see how often MPs publicly-reported 'modest' pay rise was eased by being granted pension as if at a higher rate (1975-80). Maybe if the same had been extended to other workers the repeated pay crises of those times might have been different?
And again in the 1980s, when many jobs were being lost, MPS didn't even have to ask for or justify their pay rises.
Also bear in mind that these figures do not include expenses claims.

I'm guessing on present figures that each MP represents the earnings of five ordinary households. Paid out of government funds.
Food for thought?
Question Author
Agreed Atalanta, Scargill was a piece o'work, but maybe his beginnings took root in a desire to level the inequalities he saw. It all went majorly belly up though.
striking for pay every 5 mins meant that inflation increased meaning everyone had to have more rises regardless of status to maintain living standard, thus was a vicious circle created by union dogma.
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Good one Tone!
I still remember a cartoon in the pages of Everybody's magazine from around 1950. It showed a rocket ready to take off for the moon and two men clinging to its outside One was tagged 'Rising Wages' the other. 'Inflation'. They were both saying "I'll get their first."

Another memory during the PM Callaghan years, a newspaper headline, something like 'Wages fuel inflation to a gallop' and I think inflation was then about 25%!!!

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