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This is a new consultation - check the questions below... THEN I will collate the views - create a unified reply and send as BAJR

IFA Minimum Salaries: a consultation

As you may be aware, the IFA has recently undertaken a project to compare archaeological salaries with those in other sectors. The Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries project used job evaluation techniques to compare archaeological salaries with salaries in other industries. The results showed a shortfall of between 13% and 53% across current IFA minimum salaries when compared with a range of comparator posts. In other words, an increase of 13% would bring IFA minimum salaries up to a level comparable with the lowest paid comparator. The final report on the project can be seen on the IFA website at http://www.archaeologists.net/modules/ic...p?page=206.

It is recognised that commercial RAOs and other responsible IFA employers do not operate on a level playing field and can be undercut by competitors that do not subscribe to the same standards of archaeological and employment practice. IFA continues to lobby government, its advisers and politicians hard for the introduction of barriers to entry to commercial practice, to rectify this situation and to improve the overall quality of archaeological work. While there are signs that progress is being made, it will take time to negotiate and implement appropriate measures. Therefore, the report concludes that no steps could be taken to increase IFA minimum salaries without detailed consideration of the impact on RAOs and others and without full consultation on the most appropriate way forward. To this end, RAOs were contacted in May 2008 and their opinions sought on a number of questions. Before we enter into more detailed discussions with the RAOs, we are seeking the opinions of IFA members and organisations with an interest in pay such as SCAUM, the Diggers Forum, Prospect, Unison and BAJR,

A number of the options are open to IFA., including an immediate increase by 13%, a staged increase over inflation over several years and deferral pending changes in market conditions. IFA has already had helpful and constructive comments from the RAOs, and we would now like to supplement those ideas with both your general comments and feedback on the following specific areas:


1. Whether the link between IFA minimum salaries and local government pay scales should broken

2. Whether any increase to the minimum salaries should be based on the minimum shortfall (i,e 13%)

3. If so, over what sort of timescale?

4. Should there be a review mechanism for minimum salary recommendations, and if so, what factors should it take account of and how should it work?

5. Should the process be linked to progress on barriers to entry to professional practice and, if so, how?

6. What other mechanisms should IFA use?
Its worth mentioning that English Heritage was paying diggers £18500 and supervisors £21k with generous benefits in 2007 / 2008. There must be a strong case for considering what EH and its non English British equivalents pay field staff as a standard.

Surely any argument made for linking archaeologists pay to local government pay scales could also be made for a link to national civil service pay scales. There is an existing, functioning job description and pay scale for archaeologists in the civil service specifically designed for archaeological field work and not cobbled together from bits of various council scales and job descriptions, so why not use it?


I think all the organisations that were chosen are branches of the civil service, or quangos. The IFA web page states:
"Under the guidance of an external consultant, the project used job evaluation techniques to assess a sample of archaeological posts. Using the JEGS system of job evaluation, scores were assigned to each post which would then be compared with JEGS scores and salary data from a range of other organisations. Archaeological salaries were also compared with salary data from the Institute of Environmental Managers and Assessors and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors 2007 salary surveys. The results indicated that IFA minimum salaries were 13% lower than the nearest comparator and in some cases were up to 53% lower than some comparable posts."

EH (and presumably other state heritage bodies) does not use JGES, and perhaps the data that they produce was not suitable for comparison outside the JGES sceme, like the IEM and RICS. However, I feel that specific archaeological jobs should have been included. There was a thread which discussed this, but I can't seem to find it just now.

I would opt for a staged increase over inflation over several years. An immediate increase of 13% would be difficult to acommodate in jobs which have already been tendered for.
Can we have national civil service pensions too please?[:o)]
aaaaaaaaaarg Smile

Here we are... some of the greatest minds in British Archaeology and all you can think about is retirement!

seriously though.. here is my answer

1. Whether the link between IFA minimum salaries and local government pay scales should broken
YES

2. Whether any increase to the minimum salaries should be based on the minimum shortfall (i,e 13%)
NO - the whole scale needs telescoped to allow for progression (I for one whooped with joy when I got 10 times as much work and thruppence extra)

3. If so, over what sort of timescale?
5 year

4. Should there be a review mechanism for minimum salary recommendations, and if so, what factors should it take account of and how should it work?
YES... open consultation between Employers reps (say SCAUM) and employees reps (say PROSPECT) with minor input from BAJR - I have to say the IFA should not have anything to do with wage discussions... if they are a professional org, they can observe but thats not what a professional organisation should do - they have brought it to this, and should now let it go.

5. Should the process be linked to progress on barriers to entry to professional practice and, if so, how?
BIG question and not one that is atached to pay and conditions - by definition.. as with BAJR grades... if you are employed to do a particluar skill then you have to be able to do particluar skills and therefore are worth a pre determined minimum ammount

6. What other mechanisms should IFA use?
Forcing people both works and does not work... this requires consensus and mutual benefit for the employer as well as the employee.. again I say... the IFA are about standards and guidance and represnting the profession - the duty of pay and conditions belongs to SCAUM / PROSPECT - and is supported by IFA and BAJR

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
Very tricky. Yes, archaeologists should earn more, with comparable pay for comparable responsibility and experience/qualification as in other technical disciplines. The link to LA salaries was always artificial and seemed to be merely an attempt to discourage the worst pay levels (a certain university unit paying experienced diggers as 'casual student assistants', with no holiday or sick pay, for example), The principle is very easy to support. The practice is a lot harder to sort out.

Any increase would have to be incremental and phased, as has been pointed out, people are committed to jobs for which costs have been agreed, rates would need to be agreed and so on. But the big issue is the market place. Like it or not, it exists and little short of revolution will bring it down. Anyone who has tendered for a few jobs will know that the cost put in is effectively a delicate balance of what it will actually cost to do the work and turn enough margin to reinvest/make a profit against what you think anyone else will charge. When there are still (apparently) units wiling to pay £300/week self-employed only, and, more importantly to charge out at that level, there's only going to be one winner in a competitive tendering situation unless you have a very enlightened client or consultant. More regulation as apparently envisaged by the IFA may be the way ahead, but (and please correct me if I'm wrong), the need to be licenced hasn't exactly created a workers' paradise in Ireland.

So far, so depressing, but there are two obvious ways ahead. First is for archaeologists to push the long view of commercial advantage and demonstrate to the wider world how dealing sensitively with heritage issues (sorry) can actually add value (double sorry) to new development and regeneration.

Second, and this is the difficult one, to start respecting ourselves as professionals, by not working for units that won't respect our rights and abilities, and as organisations, not undervaluing our work and driving down everyone else's prices, and refusing to quote for work that is being tendered on what are effectively unfair terms. To report breaches of the law and codes of conduct and to ensure that we actually get on and do something. (straps on tinfoil hard hat and takes cover in monastic dovecote)
Good amd honest reply... ! well said .. well said!

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
I think we are talking about two different things:

1. Trying to stabilise the archaeological market and

2. trying to improve the pay of archaeologists.

The first point can be solved by measures like restricted access to the profession, which would serve to make pricing a bit more consistent and allow some units to become more efficient and potentially offer some staff more pay, but this won't increase the pay of all archaeologists I'm afraid. This is because the second issue is a result of the laws of supply and demand; so long as there are qualified archaeologists applying for jobs that offer low pay, and they do the job well enough for the company to continue operating, then there will not be a marked improvement in pay. I don't see this being resolved to anyone's satisfaction through the mechanisms proposed by either the Unions or the IFA.

I do of course applaud and support those who try to improve things though!

I do like your idea of emphasising the commercial advantages of archaeology to our clients, shovelnomore; this could be an interesting way of increasing demand for archaeological skills, which would increase the value of those skills......

"don't panic!"
[quote]Originally posted by BAJR Host

This is a new consultation - check the questions below... THEN I will collate the views - create a unified reply and send as BAJR

IFA Minimum Salaries: a consultation

As you may be aware, the IFA has recently undertaken a project to compare archaeological salaries with those in other sectors. The Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries project used job evaluation techniques to compare archaeological salaries with salaries in other industries. The results showed a shortfall of between 13% and 53% across current IFA minimum salaries when compared with a range of comparator posts. In other words, an increase of 13% would bring IFA minimum salaries up to a level comparable with the lowest paid comparator. The final report on the project can be seen on the IFA website at http://www.archaeologists.net/modules/ic...p?page=206.

It is recognised that commercial RAOs and other responsible IFA employers do not operate on a level playing field and can be undercut by competitors that do not subscribe to the same standards of archaeological and employment practice. IFA continues to lobby government, its advisers and politicians hard for the introduction of barriers to entry to commercial practice, to rectify this situation and to improve the overall quality of archaeological work. While there are signs that progress is being made, it will take time to negotiate and implement appropriate measures. Therefore, the report concludes that no steps could be taken to increase IFA minimum salaries without detailed consideration of the impact on RAOs and others and without full consultation on the most appropriate way forward. To this end, RAOs were contacted in May 2008 and their opinions sought on a number of questions. Before we enter into more detailed discussions with the RAOs, we are seeking the opinions of IFA members and organisations with an interest in pay such as SCAUM, the Diggers Forum, Prospect, Unison and BAJR,

A number of the options are open to IFA., including an immediate increase by 13%, a staged increase over inflation over several years and deferral pending changes in market conditions. IFA has already had helpful and constructive comments from the RAOs, and we would now like to supplement those ideas with both your general comments and feedback on the following specific areas:


1. Whether the link between IFA minimum salaries and local government pay scales should broken

2. Whether any increase to the minimum salaries should be based on the minimum shortfall (i,e 13%)

3. If so, over what sort of timescale?

4. Should there be a review mechanism for minimum salary recommendations, and if so, what factors should it take account of and how should it work?

5. Should the process be linked to progress on barriers to entry to professional practice and, if so, how?

6. What other mechanisms should IFA use?


1. Yes - the connection is completely pointless and misleading, potentially biased towards companies already organised along such lines (local council units, universities) and from my experience counter-productive. When I started out in archaeology working at a university-based unit all the staff below manager were on similar pay and conditions as the gardeners and ground staff. Hardly encouraging.

2. Not sure - any massive increase is only going to be problematic unless it is over a long period of time. As someone already said, there is a market to consider and in a period of credit cruch it isn't going to go down very well. One thing that might help and be easier would be improvements to conditions with less or no increase in the short term, for example not being unofficially expected to do masses of over time for no extra money to get projects finished on time (which I'm sure still goes on), not being expected to travel two hours to a site and two hours back, on top of an 8 hour day for no money, appauling accommodation, etc. If some of these things could be improved it might take the sting of the poor wages a little.

3. 5 years as suggested by Hosty seems a good amount, but I don't know.

4. Not sure how this would work - the most effective technique of protecting salaries is surely the BAJR advertising blackmail method. Perhaps the IFA should try that for the jobs sheet! Any form of review would surely be useful though.

5. an 6. The current system of RAOs should be scrapped as it is basically pointless and comes across slightly like 'buying honours'. If an organisation is and RAO then every member of staff should be a member (not a Member) of the IFA. Perhaps being an RAO would entitle the organisation to a membership discount. Having a system that is supposed to monitor an organisations standards is meaningless when the Curator can dish out far more effective punishments for wrong-doing - which is worse: IFA - 'we'll remove you RAO status (but you can carry on pretty much as before)', Curator - 'you won't be allowed to work in this county again/I'll recommend that the client doesn't pay for your shoddy work as it doesn't fufil the brief'? If the IFA encouraged a greater membership it would have more clout as it could deal with dubious individuals as individuals, which would ultimately help the profession and enable increases in pay. This would also mean, in terms of a dubious organisation, that if all of its staff were in the IFA than complaints made would be on a level playing field.

BAJR advertising blackmail method (I prefer to think of it as gentle persuasion) Smile and for years I have hoped the JIS would follow ... but they feel it is not their place to do so... leaving it to people to decide themselves.

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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