The Instigator
Z4RQUON
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
henryajevans
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Labour Unions in the Public Sector Should Be Abolished.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 901 times Debate No: 37140
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Z4RQUON

Pro

Labour unions enter a workplace, a business and poison the employer/employee relationship. They persuade people, within a workplace or field of work, to work together instead of competing against one another, driving down productivity and driving up prices. This is passable in the private sector because the marketplace will push back, preventing the union from becoming too unreasonable. (ie. How the Hostess bakery, who produces the Twinkie, went out of business because they couldn't afford the union's demands) In the public sector, however, no such check exists.

Taxpayers do not have the ability to decline to support a public sector "business". If the union pushes public sector wages up but not the quality of their performance, and I decide to not pay for their service any longer, I will go to jail for tax evasion. What is more, there are case studies which illustrate that introducing a degree of competition into the public sector has positive results, and also that there is a conscious effort from within to "game the system".

In the documentary film "The Cartel", New Jersey public schools experiment with the concept of vouchers. Each student had an amount of tax-dollars associated with them which follows them to whichever school they decide to attend (including some private schools). The teachers were forced to compete against one another, to drive up the quality of their performance, in order to attract new students and the funding they brought with them. In the end, the teachers union resorted to the kind of behavior you see in "The Sopranos" in order to restore their scam.

Labour unions stifle internal competition and, therefore, should be abolished from the public sector.
henryajevans

Con

go go I believe that not only should unions exist in both the public and private sectors, they should be made more powerful and expansive, with a political party backed by them.
Labour unions do not enter a workplace to, as you say, 'poison the employer/employee relationship'; they enter to promote solidarity among the workforce, and to obtain a fair deal for workers in that workforce. The lack of unions poisons the relationship between co-workers, which results in an uncooperative workforce and decreases productivity. You fall for the propaganda that unions are hell-bent upon extorting the employers for money, no matter what the holistic consequences are. This assumes that A) The unions are actually extorting, which they are not as most demands for pay rises are in proportion to inflation, which is actually evidence that the employers are exploiting the workers, and it is an effective pay cut not to raise salaries with inflation, which no worker should have to suffer; B) The unions want money, which is most often not the case, as although they raise the costs of the firm or institution, they are usually things such as adequate working conditions or different hours; and C) The unions have no regard for the holistic consequences of their actions, which they have to, otherwise the unions would not work. They know very well that if they push too hard, there will be no salaries. The union bosses are accountable to this too, as they will also find themselves unemployed if it fails, and there are no instances of unions forcing a firm into bankruptcy; as in cases such as Hostess and British Leyland, it is another cause, in both of them, poor management. In the cases in pre-Unions Act UK, it was OPEC raising the price of oil that forced the state-owned firms into inefficiency, as the unions had been as prone to striking for half a century.

With most traditional cases of public sector unions, the taxpayer does, or did, have an option. In the UK, companies such as British Gas, British Airways and British Telecom were all nationalised, i.e. owned and operated by the government. There were other choices, so one could stop purchasing the services provided. Most of them made a profit with little need for government subsidy, so the consumer could make that decision. Now, there are semi-nationalised banks such as RBS and Northern Rock that the taxpayer can choose not to employ the services of, though with a neoliberal government inflicted upon us, they will probably not remain in public hands for long, especially with RBS making a profit. With regards to taxes, they are a necessary evil and part of the social contract. The state provide services, you pay taxes. If you don't like it, I hear Glenn Beck wants to start a libertarian community. It is a fact of life, as it has been since the foundation of Babylon and before, and with the taxes in the UK going on paying the salaries of public sector workers, that is a good allocation of resources, as public sector workers, with the exception of doctors, high-ranking civil servants and teachers, are notoriously underpaid. Through Keynes' theory of consumption, the money will find its way back into the economy via consumption and investment, resulting in a more efficient economic cycle.

With regards to your idea of competition in the workplace; that is what performance pay and hourly pay is for. People who perform better are paid more naturally in the public sector, such as medical professionals being paid based on how many patients they see. This is a better scheme than that in 'The Cartel', as not only does it provide a quantifiable figure to base the competition on, it also does not damage the spirit of cooperation between co-workers. A workplace with co-operation, not competition, a very neoliberal word, may I add, enjoys better productivity and efficiency, as co-workers help their colleagues with tasks, and share their expertise with each other. Nash (Russell Crowe)'s Game Theory illustrates the competition fallacy quite well. I shall use the hunting analogy to explain this. We both go hunting together. In this neck of the woods, there are stags and hares. A stag is worth five hares, and a stag can only be caught if both participants are hunting. There are four different scenarios, S1, S2, S3 and S4. S1 is we both go after stags, and get two, which has the value of five hares each. S2 is I go after hares, you go after stags, and I catch seven hares, you catch nothing. S3 is S2 reversed. S4 is we both go after hares, and catch three each, as hares are rather skittish creatures and dash down a rabbit hole at a moment's notice. Under your competitive doctrine, we are attempting to undermine each other, so S4 or S2&3 will occur. Occasionally, S1 will occur, which would be good, and results in good press for your doctrine, but most often S2, S3 and S4 would occur, resulting in either one of us leaving empty-handed and the other leaving with more than they would otherwise receive, leading to an unequal society and one of us not wanting to go hunting with the other again, or us both leaving with mediocrity. However, under my doctrine of cooperation, we would decide it is best for both of our interests to go for S1, which means that we both have a good result. You can find diagrams for Game Theory all over the internet, and as explained by the film 'A Beautiful Mind', and by most people with any sort of economics qualification, it supplanted Smith's archaic idea of competition, where people were fighting each other to become the alpha male, as the dominant economic theory. On average, Nash's doctrine results in better long-term productivity and equality for all involved, as opposed to Smith's doctrine, which results in short-term productivity increases for the few, less certainty and confidence, and inequality, which naturally breeds disdain among colleagues, lowering overall productivity. Also competitive environment is least desirable in something like a hospital or a school, where the client is the priority, not the people providing the service. It is better for mutual cooperation rather than reducing the provision of essential public services to an environment not unlike The Hunger Games.
Trade Unions accomplish this by ensuring cooperation between workers, especially in the form of accomplishing difficult tasks such as catching stags, or operating a large institution. If receptionists, secretaries and civil servants are at each other"s throats to make more money, the more difficult tasks will be left unaccomplished, or at least rushed, as there is more money to be made in minutiae. They can also enforce quotas and limits for workers, which force them into S1, rather than the others, which is better for long term productivity.
Therefore it is better for stability to have a constant productivity rate, even if that is slightly lower than the peaks of Smith"s doctrine, than something with an erratic pattern, which is much more difficult to plan for, and results in economic instability and inefficiency, especially in something with virtually unlimited resources such as a public sector institution, which will lose money at an astounding rate due to increased admin and having to keep cash reserves on the side to pay out workers that peak.
I wish the best of luck to my opponent, and shall address the idea of a union-backed political party in R2.
Debate Round No. 1
Z4RQUON

Pro

Z4RQUON forfeited this round.
henryajevans

Con

Waiting for the response and another argument...
Debate Round No. 2
Z4RQUON

Pro

Z4RQUON forfeited this round.
henryajevans

Con

Vote based on who won R1 (pro)
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by henryajevans 3 years ago
henryajevans
I meant con, not pro
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