Battle ahead in developed world with public sector unions
Weekly sick leave in Irish public service
The Economist says in its current issue that while union membership has collapsed in the private sector over the past 30 years (from 44% of the workforce to 15% in Britain and from 33% to 15% in America), it has remained buoyant in the public sector.
Public-sector unions combine support for higher spending with vigorous opposition to more accountability. Almost everywhere they have demonised competition, transparency and flexible pay.
While union membership has collapsed in the private sector over the past 30 years (from 44% of the workforce to 15% in Britain and from 33% to 15% in America), it has remained buoyant in the public sector.
In Britain over half the workers are unionised. In America the figure is now 36% (compared with just 11% in 1960).
The Economist says people in the private sector are only just beginning to understand how much of a banquet public-sector unions have been having at everybody else’s expense. In many rich countries wages are on average higher in the state sector, pensions hugely better and jobs far more secure. Even if many individual state workers do magnificent jobs, their unions have blocked reform at every turn. In both America and Europe it is almost as hard to reward an outstanding teacher as it is to sack a useless one.
In many countries including Ireland, there are also powerful combinations in the protected professional sectors, which act no differently to public sector unions.
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