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Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Community Veteran
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Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

What is the strongest trade union (or the one with most clout ?)
I bet you could spend some time trying to guess this one but I suggest you would be wrong.
The one I have in mind runs a closed shop which means anyone irrespective of qualifications or experience is not allowed to work in that profession unless they are a member and the government have never won a single major battle with them and it's unlikely they will ever do so as they are far to powerful.
So who am I talking about ? some very left wing union or organization ?
No
The answer is the British Medical Association.
Hands up if you got it right.
16 REPLIES
itsme
Grafter
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Thought closed shops were made illegal in the UK.
Edit: and I'm sure that the weekend locums that come from the EC are not members of the BMA
Community Veteran
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

@gleneagles you are right about the power they have.  They are also excellent negotiators - remember the deal they negotiated for the GPs with the last government Grin
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Higher wages for shorter hours!  GPs were getting pay rises over 10% when the nurses were lucky to get 3 or 4%.  They don't work out of hours any longer, and house calls are virtually unheard of!  Never mind public sector workers who earn more than the PM.  Last I heard, the average GP salary was well over £150 000 a year. My local surgery is open for less than 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon, five days a week.
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Not to mention that GPs are normally independent business men. Any profit made by a GP practice goes to the partners (i.e. the GPs) this government's idea of giving GPs control of the NHS commissioning purse strings represents a real conflict of interest. GPs will get richer, the hours of availability of the GPs will diminish and the nurse led NHS Primary Care Walk-In Centres (available 0700-2200 for 364 days a year) will be decommissioned because they provide cost effective public service competition to the GPs.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

One thing I find it hard to comprehend is that my local GP is earning less than a say a council administrator Sharon Shoesmith as an example
Community Veteran
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

My GP surgery is open at 7am on 2 mornings a week and doesn't close until 8pm on 2 evening a week.  This is part of a national initiative on opening hours.  I can generally get an appointment on the same day to see my GP.
GPs are employed by the Dept. of Health who agree their terms and conditions and they are paid by their local PCT.
Denzil
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

They got the big pay deal, then had the nerve to complain the year after when they didn't get any pay rise!
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Artmo if you check more carefully you will probably find your GPs are not PCT employees. There are Doctors who are salaried GPs, those either direct employees of the PCT or employed by a GP Practice partnership.
The point is that the vast majority of GP Practices are partnerships, they are independent businesses who get to keep the profits from the business. Yes the PCT pays the partnerships but not the individual doctors in the partnership. Employees rarely directly get access to profits.  When GP Practices become involved in Gov't Initiatives they are being paid extra to take part in those initiatives. For example the Swine flu injections, the GPs in my locality were paid an extra £7.50 just to give each injection. the vaccine was supplied by the Dept of Health. They get paid extra to call older people in for health checks. The PCTs often pay the costs of Practice Managers (administrators) directly to the GP Practices even though the Practice Manager is an employee of the partnership.
I also know one GP who has become involved in running the local " commissioning consortium", he's developed four GP Practices and the general scuttlebutt is that he's waiting for the right moment to sell those practices to private health companies.
I personally know a GP who takes home (pre-tax) £250K. His GP wife is slightly behind that figure. They work quite hard to get this money but the rewards are very high. When those lottery win figures are available through the system it is very dodgy to give the GPs control of the purse strings. The BMA know this all too well. It is why I had no problem guessing the answer to the the original poster's question about the most powerful union.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
Community Veteran
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Quote from: journeys
One thing I find it hard to comprehend is that my local GP is earning less than a say a council administrator Sharon Shoesmith as an example

I'm not defending Council CEOs , but they do handle budgets and organisations comparable to any national (and some international) businesses, with the skill set and management responsibility to go along with it. GPs "manage" a surgery with sometimes a dozen staff, a budget in the hundreds of thousands, and as someone said earlier not only get paid a huge salary, but also divi up the profits from their surgery partnership.
VileReynard
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

The BMA is not a Trade Union - it's a professional body.
How about Equity - they are a closed shop, aren't they?
Or The Law Society?

Community Veteran
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Yes they both are.  Equity does a good job of protecting its members' rights with one exception and that's employment but there's little they can do about that. at any time 95% 0f its membership is out of work which they euphemistically term resting.
itsme
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

So how do these bodies get around the 1997 act that outlawed close shops?
Community Veteran
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

So long as you are a doctor you can join the BMA and likewise all actors can join Equity.  Don't see anything wrong with that Undecided
itsme
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Re: Which is the most powerful trade union in the country ?

Can or have to? Only the latter will be a closed shop.