Holding the line
The iron Chancellor could not have been clearer in his statement on the Firefighters' Union pay claim yesterday afternoon in the House of Commons: it was the wrong claim made at the wrong time and by the wrong method. Gordon Brown's words will have been welcomed by those who were beginning to worry that the government might start negotiating around a 16 per cent increase admittedly more reasonable that the union's initial 40 per cent, but still too high if public service wage discipline is to be maintained. There were emollient words from John Prescott on television over the weekend but his bottom line was that any settlement had to be fair for all.
It cannot be said too often that if the government allows the local authorities to yield to the firefighters' demands the outcome will be a disaster for investment and reform in the public services and, more broadly, for the British economy as a whole. There are hundreds of thousands of people with just as good a claim to a big increase as the firefighters and they will break down the dam of restraint if Mr Gilchrist's members get what they want without castiron guarantees of modernisation of working practices.
Mr Brown also referred to the need for wage discipline in the private sector. Although some of the excesses of a couple of years ago have disappeared there are still too many cases of sheer greed in company boardrooms and in the echelons of higher management. The unions notice them.
Make sure you are prepared for the trip
In response to the letter about the trip to Sa Calobra that so very nearly turned into a disaster, it does show how very important it is to make sure that you are fully aware of when and where you are supposed to meet up again with those organising the trip.
The writer suggests that either the tour guide mumbled about the return arrangements or that he did not get the correct details. It seems to me that it is common sense that when wandering around a very remote and rocky area with caves and the like that you should be 100% sure what these arrangemnts are, and make sure you are back in plenty of time. How many of us have been on tour busses or indeed waiting on flights for people who didn't hear their flight called or forgot what time it was.
At last an airline has seen the light
Having travelled to Majorca at least 3 times annually since 1992 and paid over the odds in Flight prices many times, we are delighted that one Travel Company has at last seen sense and opened a no frills airline from Scotland (population 5million) We have already booked for next July at a third of the cost previously quoted and it is satisfying to know that we are no longer at the mercy of the greedy big boys telling us where and when we can fly from and for how long.
We can also now look forward to the odd week end away from our inclement Scottish weather.