Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A winter of discontent

Workers at National Grid, we are told, will be voting today on whether to take industrial action in a row over pay. The result is due on 5 January. So far, they have rejected a three-year offer worth 2.5 percent from 1 July this year, and 2.25 percent for each of the following years. The starter sum, they say, is less half the inflation rate of 5.1 percent for 2010.

Says Emily Boase, national officer for Prospect – one of the three unions involved - "Members think that's unfair, since National Grid has seen a 12 percent increase in pre-tax profits and an eight percent increase in dividends. That's thanks to dedication and hard work by staff, who feel affronted to be so undervalued."

The clincher though is the treatment of National Grid's directors. Five of them five feature in the Labour Research Department's league table of the ten highest paid directors in the UK.

That this should be used as an excuse, though, is entirely unreasonable. Just because chief executive Steve Holliday took home a package worth £2.27 million for the year 2010, and the "five" took home between them £7.26 million is neither here nor there. The plebs should know their place.