Thursday, 7 August 2008

public sector unions

have posted on a few topics at the hand mirror.

also wanted to share this press release refuting the claim by prof john gibson that public servants are paid way more than their private sectors counterparts, and this is because of the evil unions. ok, he didn't say "evil". but the research frankly astounds me. not only does it appear to be inaccurate, but what does it hope to achieve. does prof gibson want public servants to earn a lot less, thereby presumably keeping private sector wages low? but isn't one of nz's problems that it already is a a low-wage economy???

and if his research is correct, and presuming that we all agree that nz should be a high-wage economy, then the conclusion would surely be that we need to strengthen the bargaining power of private sector unions. because his results seems to be showing that effective collective bargaining raises wage levels. so why is he concluding that public sector unions are doing us a disservice by being effective? they are showing us what good unions can do for those they represent, and if the employment contracts act had not been brought in, we would have seen similar gains in the private sector.

2 comments:

Local reader said...

I don't understand why there hasn't been as much media fuss about this "research" as there was about the Massey researcher's recent statement that a Pacific underclass was present in New Zealand. Other academics, as well as interest groups, leapt on the bandwagon then to pick holes in the quality of the latter research - but where are they when some discussion is needed on Gibson's anti-public sector union conclusions?

Just because something comes out of a university doesn't mean it's engraved on stone tablets.

jafapete said...

Local reader, As one guilty of climbing into Clydesdale, here are a few thoughts.

Clydesdale's piece was absolute dross in scholastic terms. It was a half-baked conference paper for a bottom-dwelling conference, and therefore had no academic standing. But, worse, it dealt to a group in society with little power -- unlike publics servants and their union -- and received disproportionate coverage.

Gibson's paper is well written and does what it says it does. The problem is that it is applying a measure that doesn't tell us anything of use. In technical terms the validity of the central construct employed is crap. This is undoubtedly why it finished up being published in a bottom-dwelling journal despite being quite well-written, etc. In academic terms its standing is almost zilch.

I finished up posting about Clysdale three times (I think) but hated it every time because it was such a stupid piece of work in the first place. I just hope that the Gibson "study" dies a death and I don't have to post about that one three times too!