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Fair wages

I apologise now gents, this is a rant borne of envy for money, for seemingly less responsibilty:

I'm confused about how a specific job role is evaluated and as a result, a salary is decided.

Let me share a personal insight into a few roles within the Ambulance Service.
When I first started, as an EMD (The 999 call takers) my wage was £15,610, my hourly rate was £7.50.
This rate was for someone who was highly trained, giving life-saving CPR instructions or, at the very least, a calming influence to volatile situations; giving proper medical advice to panicked and highly anxious callers in massively varying scenarios. All experienced EMDís have listened to multiple harrowing calls during their duties. I for one, remember dozens. I regularly went home and cried.
For £7.50.

I then went into Dispatch. I got a pay rise: £18577.
Thatís 8.92 per hour.
For ďPlaying GodĒ, deciding who gets the next available ambulance, when we had multiple jobs outstanding; Looking at 4 computer screens for 12 hours a shift, having to be on the ball all the time, in order to divert resources to more serious emergencies. Whilst taking multiple radio calls from crews; whilst phoning police and other services to assist; whilst passing standby's to the hospital resus phone. And trying to look after crews' welfare (yes, I tried my best).
Herding cats that are ADHD would have been easier!
I was also a HEMS dispatcher: Amongst a multitude of other duties, I had to decide if I needed to shut down a motorway to allow our helicopter a safe landing Ė and organize it if it did. I was the Comms between the Air ambulance and other services. It was my responsibility to make sure they got home safely. I stayed late after my shift to ensure they did so, when there were no Hems trained dispatchers, coming on night shift.
Iíve liaised with Mountain Rescue, Fire, Police, RAF, Army, Coastguard and other services, in order to ensure the patient had the best possible care and subsequent treatment.

£8.92 per hour.

I did this for 5 years and had achieved the top of my payscale (£10.48), with only 1% increments to rely on thereafter. There was no inflation related increase.

Finally, after being at the top of my band and becoming more frustrated, I took the plunge and became a member of the road crew (sideways move, no pay rise). 80% of the time is routine stuff, but the other 20% is where skill and professionalism come into play.
In the last month alone, I've attended and helped a Paramedic with at least 10 people that would have otherwise died, had it not been for our Pre-hospital intervention (Sepsis, COPD, narcotic overdose....the list goes on and on).
I've seen death: the peaceful and the not so peaceful. The old and the very, very young. Heart-breaking stuff.
Itís everything you see on TV, but multiply that to the níth degree and itíll still not be what you imagine.

Presently, my hourly rate is £11.37. (plus 25% for all the unsocial hours that we work).
.
.
.
.
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However, if you want to earn more, you could collect tickets (i'm being slightly pedantic, but not much), on a train, for a very well paid £16.15 per hour; with many benefits. Free pension; Free rail travel; Reduced air fares, etc etc.
Virgin Rail , last week were offering a "revenue collection officer" post, paying nearly £33k.

Benefits that far out-weigh ours: our pensions have been shot to hell, we are expected to carry out our duties until we are 68 (how the hell are we able to lift or carry, usually larger people, downstairs at that age?). CPR for 20 minutes on a person?
And for what? a potential 2 year retirement, before we Shuffle of the mortal coil ourselves? If we actually make it to retirement!

EMD's/ EMT's/ Paramedics are UNDERVALUED, and that is the absolute crux of my post.

I love my Job, don't get me wrong. But surely a fair wage, for what we do, is appropriate.
The last pay "rise" was not approved, or voted for, by ambulance staff, and any promotions at certain payscales may result in a pay loss: anyone who changes roles after August will be stripped of their right to 25% unsocial enhancement!!!

Last edited by stan laurel; 12-08-18 at 02:52.
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Hardly know what to say Stan.......
probably the most justified rant ever......
If only some rational, well-thought-out version of capitalism could be devised that would avoid drowning useless ****wits in gold while keeping our most useful and hardest working citizens in penury........
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No Apology required.

As above. I can't say why at all.

Whilst not quite the same as what you do my Fiancee is a home care worker on minimum wage. She quite often has to make decisions as to whether an ambulance is required. Lift (with help) large folk out of bed, change stuff you probably don't need to know about. Deal with dementia on a regular basis. Often she will get a 15 minute visit which becomes 45min-1hour but of course only gets paid for 15 minutes

On top of this she walks about 10-14miles day and is out from 7am (sometimes gets home for lunch for an hour or so) and then finishes at 6pm- 7pm. She only gets paid for the time she's with a client. There is now I think a £2/hr for time between home visits. So out of 11 hours if she gets 7 hours basic pay she has had a good day.

As such I'm quite embarrassed what I get to look after stupid none thinking machine/s. Critical for the business that they might might lose the cost of a hospital wing if it is down for a considerable time. That unfortunately is where the money is.

I don't think I need to tell you what a fantastic job you do and yes you should be paid at the very least twice what you do.
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But you have the immense gratitude of all the politicians, they keep saying so.

The 70th anniversary of the NHS brought them all out of the woodwork along with obsequious BBC and the the minor celebrities they portrayed working for the NHS for ten minutes.

Stan, what more do you want, you have the countries unbridled admiration...........oh yes.......a decent wage.

I left the NHS in 1983 as a well qualified Renal Technician to join the West Yorkshire Gestapo and immediately doubled my salary.

So nothing new.
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You have to do what is best for you, first and foremost. Would you be happier doing some boring job that paid a lot better? If you get by well enough doing what you do, and enjoy doing it then stick at it and fight for better pay & conditions. But its a lot easier to walk the well trodden path and move into a better paying field.

My wife is an NHS employee and she certainly isn't in it for the money. We've seen many higher paying jobs in her speciality advertised by private clients but while the money is a lot better, there wouldn't be anything like the same level of job security and pensions would be on an auto-enrollment basis only (barely worth bothering with). As it is, her NHS pension is decent and at least it is government backed, unlike any of those at a private company.
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The reason for this situation is, of course, politics. Not necessarily politicians, but the everyday public. Ask people whether they care about the NHS and they'll give a resounding "yes." Ask people to pay more tax and they'll vote "no", election after election, year after year, decade after decade.

Actually, I will have a go at the politicians. Not so much the Conservatives; at least they act on a stated belief that Public Spending is a Bad Thing. My real frustration is with Labour and the Lib Dems. Where the **** are they? Why don't they spell out loud and clear that we must pay for good health and to protect the vulnerable? Councils are collapsing, care disappearing, benefits system spiralling into the ground and the health service groaning. If only Maisie of Basildon would write to the Labour leader and tell him.
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Comforting to know "we're all in it together" though, ain't it?

https://www.theguardian.com/business...igh-pay-centre
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The initial question up front is the important one. How is a role evaluated and the salary decided?

Itís very simple. You have some roles to fill. If you can fill them for £x, then that is the right number. There is no need to pay £x+y, because you can fill the roles for £x. If you pay £x-y, then you have gaps - if you canít cope with that, then you need to go back to £x. Thatís really how itís done - I hire lots of people, and we literally look at the market and work out what it will take to fill the roles.

So, to put it bluntly, they pay you what they do because you (and your colleagues) keep showing up for work every day. The rest of us are very grateful that you do, and think you are worth more (an amount approaching ďwhatever you wantĒ as you scrape us off the road), but economically you are worth whatever it takes to get you to do it.

My cousin is doing paramedic training, sheís finishing the second year at the moment. Itís done her a power of good, and she often stays with us when she gets some random shift. At the risk of turning the thread all Brexit, a lot of the people she works with are Eastern European - who seem to be quite happy to work here for the rates the NHS are offering. When you have a supply of cheap, qualified labour, it would be insane to raise the rates.

That Virgin ticket guard - I doubt they are on 33k basic. Itís probably hours based pro-rata, and you only get paid if you are on a train, rather than waiting for one.
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Quote:
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The initial question up front is the important one. How is a role evaluated and the salary decided?

Itís very simple. You have some roles to fill. If you can fill them for £x, then that is the right number. There is no need to pay £x+y, because you can fill the roles for £x. If you pay £x-y, then you have gaps - if you canít cope with that, then you need to go back to £x. Thatís really how itís done - I hire lots of people, and we literally look at the market and work out what it will take to fill the roles.

So, to put it bluntly, they pay you what they do because you (and your colleagues) keep showing up for work every day. The rest of us are very grateful that you do, and think you are worth more (an amount approaching ďwhatever you wantĒ as you scrape us off the road), but economically you are worth whatever it takes to get you to do it.

My cousin is doing paramedic training, sheís finishing the second year at the moment. Itís done her a power of good, and she often stays with us when she gets some random shift. At the risk of turning the thread all Brexit, a lot of the people she works with are Eastern European - who seem to be quite happy to work here for the rates the NHS are offering. When you have a supply of cheap, qualified labour, it would be insane to raise the rates.

That Virgin ticket guard - I doubt they are on 33k basic. Itís probably hours based pro-rata, and you only get paid if you are on a train, rather than waiting for one.
Nail on the head. The employer, whether its Public or Private Sector, will pay the minimum they need (and that isn't just cash, there may be other benefits such as pension, holidays etc) to fill the slot.

The problem with a lot of the NHS work, and it's the same for education, is that these jobs are more vocational - people do them because they get something else from it and not just cash in the bank. There is the "feel-good" factor that comes from being that good guy who is a nurse, a doctor, ambulance worker, teacher. Hell, the Police and Fire Service are the same. There's a need in many people where they have to feel their lifes work is valuable to other folk and they're doing a good, worthwhile task. And you sometimes can't put a price on that.

Strip it back into a full Command Economy, where every worker was paid the same whether they were screwing tops onto toothpaste tubes (which is needed, or your populations teeth will fall out!), or they were a paramedic (interesting, varied work and feeling valuable because you saved a lifetoday!!!). How many people would apply for the toothpaste factory and how many to be a paramedic.

So, it's not even a political thing, as this is something that true Command Economies struggled with (USSR in particular) - and in a fully socialist society they recognised that certain people required paying more (either in money or being at the front of the turnip queue) - how else would you encourage folk to clean toilets instead of working on the Sputnik project??

It's human nature, and I'll tell you what mate, work out how to make the system "fairer", implement it, and you'll be on much more than that bloke on Virgin Rail checking tickets on the 0835 from Kings X.
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I suspect there is also an issue of union "muscle"

If the NHS staff go on strike it impacts directly on the patients and their families. The greater general public (fit and healthy) are aware but not really affected.

If the RMT or similar strike then it impacts on all commuters either directly or indirectly (rail passengers displaced on to the roads increases traffic problems for all) and the pressure on the employer to settle is that much greater

As stated above the NHS comes under much more pressure to keep the costs down as the taxpayer hates seeing waste and is so well informed by the media as to the considerable amount of management (a lot for political reasons) that is paid much more than the frontline service providers who unfortunately end up taking the brunt of the stick
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That Virgin ticket guard - I doubt they are on 33k basic. Itís probably hours based pro-rata, and you only get paid if you are on a train, rather than waiting for one.
I bet you'll find that is basic. My brother does this for I can't remember which company in the West Midlands, he's on around this money, salaried. Plus mega o/t rates, it was £25 just for training for a year.

Trouble is in my opinion is whats seen as "professional". To most this means those in suits, but I'm a machinist, full time served, now 31 been doing it since I was 16 straight out of school, and I consider myself a professional. But nobody else will because of image. Professional jobs command more money because their seen as less dirty, see machinists, hands on engineers, paramedics, care workers, cleaners etc. But we all work similar hours, very similar levels effort put in by all sides, many have high grade qualifications in our respective fields, but we're in "dirty" jobs that no-one wants to pay for. In fact, that fact that nobody else wants to do these jobs means they should be more highly paid, whereas the converse is true. This is why I think it's more of an institutional problem, only exacerbated by the current education system pushing everybody towards computer based desk jobs. I mean teaching kids from age 4 about computer coding, WTF is that about? Who dreams that their kid will live out their life behind a screen until death?
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Last edited by Hobson284; 15-08-18 at 12:38.
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Ps, I know that's a bit rambling, and the "dirty jobs" bit is both literal and metaphorical. But my point is in there somewhere!

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Quote:
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You have some roles to fill. If you can fill them for £x, then that is the right number. There is no need to pay £x+y, because you can fill the roles for £x. If you pay £x-y, then you have gaps - if you canít cope with that, then you need to go back to £x. Thatís really how itís done - I hire lots of people, and we literally look at the market and work out what it will take to fill the roles.
I agree with you that it's all about market rate.

However, all things are complicated to a greater or lesser degree, and market rate, like any price, is determined by supply AND demand. In the case of the NHS, demand is artificially depressed by political pressure. No healthy private company would run at edge-of-a-crisis staffing levels, or employ people to go round the world looking for staff because so few of the native-born will consider accepting the salary. People are no longer training to be nurses (for example) in anything like the numbers we need, whereas once they did. The market the NHS works in is distorted.
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There is good debate here, I appreciate everyone's input.
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Public sector pay isn't subject to market forces in the same way. For example I work for HMRC (boo, hiss....).

Last year we brought in more money than ever before. With fewer staff we made more businesses and individuals behave themselves and the yield went up. The Government likes this because it gives them more money to waste on ministries run by ****wits. If the public knew, they would probably like it because they could possibly expect a bit more investment in services.

If this was a business you might expect a bit of a boost in your pay packet. Yes the CEO might get more because life isn't fair but you might get something. What we are getting is a real terms pay cut.
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Public sector pay isn't subject to market forces in the same way. For example I work for HMRC (boo, hiss....).

Last year we brought in more money than ever before. With fewer staff we made more businesses and individuals behave themselves and the yield went up. The Government likes this because it gives them more money to waste on ministries run by ****wits. If the public knew, they would probably like it because they could possibly expect a bit more investment in services.

If this was a business you might expect a bit of a boost in your pay packet. Yes the CEO might get more because life isn't fair but you might get something. What we are getting is a real terms pay cut.
.........or to paraphrase Mr Spock, "it's market forces Jim, but not as we know them".
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Public sector pay isn't subject to market forces in the same way. For example I work for HMRC (boo, hiss....).

Last year we brought in more money than ever before. With fewer staff we made more businesses and individuals behave themselves and the yield went up. The Government likes this because it gives them more money to waste on ministries run by ****wits. If the public knew, they would probably like it because they could possibly expect a bit more investment in services.

If this was a business you might expect a bit of a boost in your pay packet. Yes the CEO might get more because life isn't fair but you might get something. What we are getting is a real terms pay cut.
Spot on,KB... don't get me started.
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Public sector pay isn't subject to market forces in the same way. For example I work for HMRC (boo, hiss....).

Last year we brought in more money than ever before. With fewer staff we made more businesses and individuals behave themselves and the yield went up. The Government likes this because it gives them more money to waste on ministries run by ****wits. If the public knew, they would probably like it because they could possibly expect a bit more investment in services.

If this was a business you might expect a bit of a boost in your pay packet. Yes the CEO might get more because life isn't fair but you might get something. What we are getting is a real terms pay cut.
I work for the MOD, same score. Essential parts of the countries infrastructure but nobody wants to pay for them (let alone pay lots!)

Whereas the NHS, ambulance, police etc everyone wants them, they just want someone else to pay for them!
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I think public sector pay is subject to a very similar set of market forces as the private sector. Certainly on the input side. you're recruiting from the same pool of people, there isn't some public sector sorting hat that says "you're going to work for the government". There will be people looking at the recruiting pipelines, the people in training, the attrition rate and the number of vacancies and trying to nail the salaries down to that level. The simple fact is that the situation is not bad enough to warrant a rise. If 30% of the ambulance service resigned over the next 3 months and did ticket punching for Virgin instead... you can bet there would be a pay rise. However, what they are (probably) seeing is that people are still applying, attrition is not that bad, and actually they've got it about right from an economic POV.

And just to confirm - its exactly the same in the private sector. The number of fights I've had about pay rises for people with HR, only to be shown the data (very few people have resigned and we have a queue of people applying) ..... and the only ones I have won have been issues with very specific, rare skillsets that we cannot afford to lose.
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Public sector pay was frozen from 2010 to 2013, and increases capped at 1% from 2013 to 2017. That hasn't happened in the private sector.

Now, you could argue private sector pay rates are less secure and slump further in a recession. Nevertheless the point stands: government rightly or wrongly intervenes and distorts the market. If your saleable skill set is (for example) that of a paramedic, then the market you are in is far from free, but is controlled by the major employer.
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Public sector pay was frozen from 2010 to 2013, and increases capped at 1% from 2013 to 2017. That hasn't happened in the private sector.

Now, you could argue private sector pay rates are less secure and slump further in a recession. Nevertheless the point stands: government rightly or wrongly intervenes and distorts the market. If your saleable skill set is (for example) that of a paramedic, then the market you are in is far from free, but is controlled by the major employer.
Sure, wasn't it we,the public sector that caused the financial crash....we deserve to get punished.....
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@RXE I fully understand your arguments above and having worked in private industry throughout my career I have seen exactly that. Engineers threatening to resign if they did not get a substantial payrise being told nothing doing it is cheaper to advertise and employ a replacement.

However, what are the market forces that require Virgin to pay £30k or more for what is basically a ticket inspector? Are there so many travellers defrauding them? Are inspectors being threatened with physical harm or death? I still think that strike which impact on large areas of the population have a significant distorting effect on the negotiations.
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I have no idea why Virgin need to pay people 30k to be ticket inspectors, doesnít seem that **** a job to me, requires zero skills, other than presumably a lack of a criminal record.

At the end of it, if being a ticket inspector is a satisfying and well paid job, go and do it. The only way that money for (say) paramedics will improve is if they canít get anyone to do it.
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I very much agreee with what people have previously said regarding the job being vocational and as a result there always being enough applicants at the current wages resulting in no requirement for an increase.

But I think another issues that relates more specifically to the ambulance service itself is itís age. The modern day paramedic as a job role has only existed since what late 80s/early 90s? Compared to ďmodernĒ nursing which had its foundations in the chrimean war and I think in a lot of cases people just donít know/appreciate what frontline ambulance work actually consists of other than ďsaving livesĒ. Nursing has the weight of an ogrganisation like the NMC behind it which Iím sure carries much more historical significance as well as experience in dealing with the likes of working rights and pay rates compared to the likes of the hcpc. Ticket inspectors as well is a job that has been around for a long time and we all know how strong the likes rail unions can be.

By all means I donít think there is a lack of support from Joe public and I do think things are going in the right direction, what with recent pay bands changing as well as an increasing number of 999 whatís your emergency camera action programmes ďeducatingĒ people on the job. But I do think there is some catching up to be done to keep things moving in the right direction, particularly in getting support from the powers that be.
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There is a large organisation known as NHS Supplies .. their remit if I understand it is .. the name's a clue .. to supply the NHS with stuff they use from pens to washing machines. They do that at great expense to the rest of the NHS .. items with 200%, 300%, 400% mark-up .. but individual NHS organisations can't save that money and go by a new fridge from Currys (same make, model, etc) .. the bureaucracy won't let them so they waste millions buying it from their own organisation ...

The NHS Supplies contract is being moved to a new provider .. DHL are the incumbents .. the new supplier is, I believe, an Australian company who won the bid from an open tender .. a long-winded and often expensive exercise forced on the NHS by EU rules .. so then DHL threw their toys out the pram and took the NHS to court .. more wasted money. DHL lost .. I haven't read if they paid the NHS costs .. I doubt it.


When the NHS learns how to stop wasting tax-payers money there might be some more to go around and pay better salaries .. but for now don't expect much to change .. oh, except the amount of tax you and I are expected to pay (and they'll add it to National Insurance to hide it again!)


Oh and don't even get me started on Blair's "joined up" NHS vanity project that wasted billions .. I worked of one of the many private suppliers then and we could have told him "it won't work" ... but push on folks ... it's only tax-payers money and there is plenty of that (or we'll just bankrupt the country and borrow it!) ... it also destroyed several small, well run, innovative UK companies ..
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