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Additional info for Barbara Wootton Selected Writings: Volume 4: Economic and Methodological Thought
Although changes do occur here and there, the forces of conservatism still keep the pattern remarkably stable. As a striking illustration of this stability over a long term I may quote Guy Routh's estimate that the average unskilled worker's wage bore approximately the same relation to the average manager's salary in 1960 as it had in 1913; also A. R. 8 Ironically, indeed, this conservatism has recently been actually strengthened by union militancy. 9 And not only is there no such mechanism, but the lack of it is not regretted by many union leaders, since the league table has recently acquired a new sanctity.
Up to this point I have dodged two questions of fundamental importance which are, I believe, closely related. ' implied in the definition of fair pay. As I have already suggested, the unions hold firmly to the belief that wage settlements are a matter of concern only to their members and their employers; and that negotiations between these two parties will normally result in fair deals to the only people concerned. Indeed one of the remarkable consequences of statutory wage controls has been the transitory love-affair between those traditional enemies - workers and their employers.
It was appointed to check that proposed wage settlements conformed to an elaborate statutory code, and, as was repeatedly emphasised in its periodical reports, in this capacity it had absolutely no authority to pass judgement on, or to amend, these settlements in accordance with its own standards of fairness or unfairness. I mean no disrespect to the members of the Pay Board, who were and are no doubt admirably public-spirited persons. Also to my knowledge they had between them considerable experience of personnel management and related matters.