BAJR Federation Archaeology
Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - Printable Version

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Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - Jack - 9th July 2014

The arguments of how pay and conditions (largely for diggers) seem to go round and round with no conclusions, no action, no solutions.

We as archaeologists seem content to argue, locked in our own towers of faith. But what is the answer?

Well, in my experience, history (or the past to be more accurate) holds all the answers.

Ask yourself, how did other workers in the past solve similar problems?

How is it that say the police, or teachers, or lab technicians, engineers get a decent living wage? Can we learn from their history/example?

You don't have to look very far...try the industrial revolution on Wikipedia for a start.


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - BAJR - 9th July 2014

Too true.... and currently BAJR is looking at a a new way to do this. with market driven rates and reward based systems

THe whole basis will be good


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - P Prentice - 10th July 2014

first you have to prove you are necessary - not you your bajrness as you are very evidently necessary


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - barkingdigger - 10th July 2014

Jack Wrote:How is it that say the police, or teachers, or lab technicians, engineers get a decent living wage? Can we learn from their history/example?

It helps a lot if your clients actually WANT you product! Last time I looked, the biggest client sector for archaeology (the developers) not only didn't want our reports, they didn't even want us getting under foot. They only have us because those nasty planners make them hire us to clear away "heritage contamination" that often they don't even notice unless it is pointed out to them. And if we all went on strike, they'd squeal to the Gov't about how we were holding back economic growth and "hey presto" a dictat from on high would nullify those pesky & unreasonable archaeology planning conditions...

Now, there ARE folks who want our products, but they are primarily third-party clients like researchers, HERs, heritage television producers, and of course the general public. Occasionally a research body might pay directly for archaeology, but mostly they feed on the archives & reports generated by developer-funded work.

So, the real trick is "how do we raise our profile with the third-party public?" to the point where the developers fear to cut back on our unwanted contribution to their developments because of the public outcry it would generate. Only then can the various units try to raise the game rather than underbid each other in a race to the bottom. And that in turn translates to higher wages...


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - Marc Berger - 11th July 2014

How about barking that the third parties through the authorising authority, as complicit with the developer as polluters, have to buy the archaeology from the archaeologists. It might make them think twice before putting the conditions on and what exactly it was that they wanted. Obviously it will not be something that jack has been selected to consider.


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - kevin wooldridge - 11th July 2014

I think Barking is right.....the problem that archaeology has. after years of following a pattern of undercutting, is how to create the increase in funding necessary to pay for an increase in wages. Whilst that might not make much of a dent in the overall cost of developments and development led archaeology, somewhere along the line it will eat into somebodies profits. Can't think of anyone right now who would happily hand over their profits to archaeologists, unless hit with a very big stick or threatened with legal action. Unfortunately archaeology doesn't possess a big stick and legal remedies would require a sea change in the way that archaeology is managed in the UK...... (By legal remedies I mean a legal requirement to pay for archaeological product)


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - RedEarth - 11th July 2014

The title of this thread really suckers you into thinking it is going to contain some great insight into the issue. Unfortunately, it doesn't.


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - Jack - 11th July 2014

Marc Berger Wrote:Obviously it will not be something that jack has been selected to consider.

Been selected to consider? You make me sound like some kind of hired agent provocateur.

It should be obvious that I just vent whatever's on the tip of my brain


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - Jack - 11th July 2014

RedEarth Wrote:The title of this thread really suckers you into thinking it is going to contain some great insight into the issue. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

Indeed :face-stir:

Truth is a three-edged sword (and such)

But I think their are answers to be extracted from a more directed argument.

Kevin and Barking are right. No one wants to pay the full cost of archaeology. No one values it as we do. The majority of those that like reading/watching things about archaeology have no idea how complex and expensive it is to rescue archaeological remains that at at risk.

I feel lots of people think we just scrape around a bit, then make it up later. How can that cost so much? The rest don't even think about it.

As to the police, they are paid a decent wage because they have to be. You can't competitive tender out policing. Only police can do it.

At the moment anyone can say they are an archaeologist, perform a DBA and/or mitigation works and as long as they can fool the under-financed county archaeologist team (or planning officers where there are no archaeologists) they can get away with it.

Even those companies who do have some archaeological integrity seem able to get away with almost anything! Who is monitoring the accuracy of the assessments the usefulness of mitigation strategies? Who is stopping the planning officers and Councillors making rash decisions that result in the destruction of archaeological remains?

I'm beginning to warm to the idea of restricting who can perform archaeology (at least who can run research digs, and run/dig on commercial sites) so that standards can be monitored (hopefully better than they are now).

If something that is needed is in short supply, people will pay more for it.


Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer? - barkingdigger - 11th July 2014

RedEarth Wrote:The title of this thread really suckers you into thinking it is going to contain some great insight into the issue. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

Feel free to add some!

Marc, charging researchers etc for "our" data is the quickest way to kill off the profession! It's amazing how little we really need interesting but pointless knowledge about the past, once we are asked to buy it. As an old colleague used to say, "we're making a career doing what rich men did as a hobby"...

Therein lies the rub - we cannot count on necessity driving up our wages. After all, if the concrete mixer gets it wrong because he's underpaid, the building falls down. But if the archaeologist gets it wrong, it only affects yet another dry report - the developer and his clients can carry on quite comfortably. Instead, it's about teaching society that we really need "culture" to set us above the savages. But it can be hard work selling our message without looking like that obsessed weirdo you avoid on the bus...

No matter how I look at it, unions and strikes and militancy are less & less the answer.