Today’s teachers strike got me thinking. At face value, it looks like a group of employees who want a pay increase, have decided to boycott their jobs until they get one. According to mainstream media, the nurses did something similar last month.
In a non-unionised corporate world, striking would never fly.
I don’t know any business that would respond favourably to an employee refusing to do the job they’re employed to do, until they’re paid more money. In fact, this blatant refusal to work may lead to a disciplinary discussion.
But for essential public services that we all depend on, it’s an effective strategy for pay negotiations. Both nurses and teachers are at the mercy of a pay scale system that rewards longevity in the profession, rather than individual performance so their approach to pay negotiations has to reflect this. The professions are also largely unionised, which restricts their ability to discuss pay with their manager.
For those of us in paid employment in a non-unionised workforce, we have to approach pay negotiations differently.
Instead of walking off the job, I think you should step up. Show your worth and prove your value.
I think the most success comes from approaching the topic just as you would a business case, where you’re justifying a point with sound rationale, backed up by evidence. Facts, figures, testimonials and specific examples are what you’re after. This verifies exactly why you think you’re worth more money.
This is the same advice I give to businesses who are confronted with an employee asking for a pay rise – put the onus back on the employee to justify their request, and if a strong case is put before you, then it probably is time to consider an increase.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m actually supportive of the strikes. But my support is because I understand that the action they’ve taken is about much much more than just more money. For both teachers and nurses, it’s a strong call to help resource them better so they can improve the service they provide, which means we’ll all benefit. I’d love to see nurses and teachers given a better deal – they’re certainly not jobs I’d be able to do and I absolutely admire those in these professions.
Tags: employee relations