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IFA Minimum Salaries: a consultation
#41
Is a field archaeologist the same as a solicitor in the trading standards dept?

I cannot remember the system used off hand but it was a 2 hour long interview going through numerous multiple choice questions to define areas of responsibility in the job. This then produced a score at the end that translated into the new, unified pay scale.

I still have nightmares about it.
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#42
I went through single status twice with a local government unit. It was pretty horrific, and the archaeology jobs ended up being done last as 'they couldn't really be compared with anything else'. What happened was that in both cases (for scales 1-3 and 4-6), the responsibility scores for the job I was in maxed out the calculations. A hasty revision was then carried out to bring them safely back within the grade scores- a sample conversation.

'we decided that a degree was not an essential qualification for your job'

'that's not what the person spec says'

'that's what we say. By the way, the grade you were promoted to has been removed, and you'll be back where you were a year ago'

'Why's that?'

'You don't need to be degree qualified. That would have put you into the supervisor pay grade.'

Much the same happened on the higher level jobs

In effect, the scores go off to the JMC, proposals are made and vested interests (eg trades unions whose staff are looking at pay cuts, managers looking at budgets, machiavellian managers looking at pushing their own pay rise under the next stage by showing how responsible their staff are, lawyers looking at potential indirect discrimination suits) then proceed to play with the ratings across the whole of local government so you end up with much the same pay as before. A few jobs (usually the worst paid) go up a little, some go down a little. Most stay the much the same, but the worst cases of indirect discrimination get ironed out (if not necessarily all that satisfctorily)

Bitter, No. Just deeply unconvinced of the viability of any way of upping pay and conditions until we start to act like professionals; some of us do, just not enough. Curators, start setting planning conditions that represent an effective response; Consultants, stop arguing down costs at every stage; Contractors, stop undercutting each other and stop exploiting people who are so desperate to be archaeologists that they'll go to work without insurance or a living wage. Most importantly, start respecting ourselves and not working for aforementioned scumbags, not tendering for badly thought out schemes, not deliberatelt tendering low and hoping you'll be able to blag the shortfall, not acquiescing in the destruction of our shared past, possibly even (shudder to think) leaving archaeology if we can't make a decent living out of it. I'm sure that something like this could be written into personal IFA membership?

Be positive. We have to make the case as to why the past matters. We can only move the situation on when we've got a service to sell that people actually want to buy. It can be done.

Why? Because we're worth it.

(edited for comedy missing negative)
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#43
Shovelnomore, you've hit the nail on the head exactly! There are few professions that are comparable to the level of personal responsibility and general competencies in archaeology almost from the word go. If we were paid on a scale that accurately reflected these vis a vis other professions I do not think archaeology would be a viable industry.

A while back I went to a professional career advisor because I was curious how my job role measured up to other industries (as opposed to tea-time rumours). Nobody in that firm had ever come across an archaeologist before, so I probably got a lot more service than the usual client, as several advisors researched our profession for their own edifcation and they were pretty shocked. This was a large and well respected firm, with experience across most industries, which was why I chose them. It was not just the pay that upset them, but especially the poor employment practices in general applied to an exceptionally well qualified workforce where such a high level of autonomy was expected.

I think the heart of the problem might just lie in the high degree of autonomy. Archaeology attracts those who are often extemely capable, but for diveres reasons not able to fit in more closely defined job roles. We put up with crap because we're afraid that the jobs will disappear if we don't and for alot of us I suspect the job is worth more than a living wage.

That does NOT make poor pay and conditions right under any circumstances!!!! We can do a lot better than just a living wage by behaving more professionally as an industry and to stop being so apologetic about our job, especially at tendering level. I realise that our contribution is perhaps not as tangible as watermains, but it is important none the less and we really need to act on par with the rest of the development industry. (Oh, and contruction and engineering have RnD commitments too, and have to budget for that, so enough with the hand wringing!)

Apologies, sometimes I get a little frustrated at all the talking and then no action....
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#44
I was going to comment on this topic,but I think that the last two posts (by shovelnomore and trowelmonkey) speak for me far more eloquently than I could have managed.
I hope I speak for the silent majority of diggers in saying I raise my (hard)hat to you both-and thank you!:face-approve::face-approve:
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#45
Last chance ... I have just downloaded all the text and will formulate a response that you can all comment on... then it will be lodged as a formal response from BAJRites... very Democratic... so if you still have tuppence to say... now is the time

(even 2500 miles away... I will keep on working )

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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#46
Use the existing National Occupational Standards/JGES benchmarking written specifically for archaeologists.
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#47
Just thanks for trying and doing something positive for the proffession xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:face-approve:
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#48
I echo that, but, trowelfodder, don't forget that you need to do your bit, just like everyone else. There may not be much you can do as an individual, but if enough of us do...
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#49
Here is the final draft... damned hard out here .. and I can't thank youo all enough on here and off line...

Comments by Friday please.

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

The argument used for linking archaeologists pay to local government pay scales could also be made for a linking to national civil service pay scale. Service Providers such as English Heritage, Historic Scotland and CADW already have an existing structure, and Field Staff are already considerably better paid.

2. Whether any increase to the minimum salaries should be based on the minimum shortfall (i,e 13%)
The whole scale needs telescoped to allow for progression, therefore a 13% across the board does not take into consideration the additional information gathered in the Benchmarking Evaluation where shortfalls ranged from 13% to over 45%. It is important to provide a structure that does not just take the minimum as a standard, and allows for staff to be valued and actively pursue senior roles with additional responsibility that is reflected in increased salary.

3. If so, over what sort of timescale?

Staged increase above inflation over a period of 5 years, with an initial 1 year grace to allow for costings and preparation. Ensuring projects already budgeted for are not affected by increases.

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?

Open yearly consultation between Employers representatives (ie SCAUM) and employees representatives (ie PROSPECT) with additional supporting input from BAJR – The IFA should not have any further active role in discussions on pay and conditions once the mechanism is in place as they are a professional organisation, they can observe future developments.


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

This question is one that is not immediately relevant to the discussion, and consideration should be given to this as a separate exercise, rather than added to this without full consultative process. In principal a system that rewards skills should be introduced, but creating barriers is currently outwith the scope of this exercise.


6. What other mechanisms should IFA use?

Start respecting ourselves as professionals, ensuring contracting units respect employees rights and abilities, and as organisations, not undervaluing archaeological work and driving down process in underbidding, and refusing to quote for work that is being tendered on what are effectively unfair terms. Reporting breaches of the health and safety law and codes of conduct that is both swift and robust. As to the JIS, the IFA has a responsibility to its members and it is unfair to allow poorly paid jobs to be advertised by the same group that are trying to get rid of them, as jobs are checked after they are sent out, it is simple to change to checking while the JIS is prepared. The excuse that it is providing a service, undermines the process, where non RAO organisations can still be advertised in an IFA publication, and pay less than the agreed minima.



It is also worth adding these two comments from the BAJR Forum, as they summarise very well the problem faced. Consultations are one thing, good intentions are another, but at the end of the day, action is the only thing that means anything. We have now enough profiles, enough benchmarks, enough working party reports, enough recommendations, and it would be fair to say that we, as a profession, are only too aware of the situation and indeed the remedy. Immediate and sustainable action is the only course that will provide confidence in a future. These comments are not isolated cases, they are not misconceptions, they are the truth, and until this is accepted and acknowledged properly, then consultation will achieve nothing more than another pile of paper to add to the pile.


“I went through single status twice with a local government unit. It was pretty horrific, and the archaeology jobs ended up being done last as 'they couldn't really be compared with anything else'. What happened was that in both cases (for scales 1-3 and 4-6), the responsibility scores for the job I was in maxed out the calculations. A hasty revision was then carried out to bring them safely back within the grade scores- a sample conversation.

'we decided that a degree was not an essential qualification for your job'

'that's not what the person spec says'

'that's what we say. By the way, the grade you were promoted to has been removed, and you'll be back where you were a year ago'

'Why's that?'

'You don't need to be degree qualified. That would have put you into the supervisor pay grade.'

Much the same happened on the higher level jobs

In effect, the scores go off to the JMC, proposals are made and vested interests (eg trades unions whose staff are looking at pay cuts, managers looking at budgets, Machiavellian managers looking at pushing their own pay rise under the next stage by showing how responsible their staff are, lawyers looking at potential indirect discrimination suits) then proceed to play with the ratings across the whole of local government so you end up with much the same pay as before. A few jobs (usually the worst paid) go up a little, some go down a little. Most stay the much the same, but the worst cases of indirect discrimination get ironed out (if not necessarily all that satisfactorily)

Bitter, No. Just deeply unconvinced of the viability of any way of upping pay and conditions until we start to act like professionals; some of us do, just not enough. Curators, start setting planning conditions that represent an effective response; Consultants, stop arguing down costs at every stage; Contractors, stop undercutting each other and stop exploiting people who are so desperate to be archaeologists that they'll go to work without insurance or a living wage. Most importantly, start respecting ourselves and not working for aforementioned scumbags, not tendering for badly thought out schemes, not deliberately tendering low and hoping you'll be able to blag the shortfall, not acquiescing in the destruction of our shared past, possibly even (shudder to think) leaving archaeology if we can't make a decent living out of it. I'm sure that something like this could be written into personal IFA membership?

Be positive. We have to make the case as to why the past matters. We can only move the situation on when we've got a service to sell that people actually want to buy. It can be done.

Why? Because we're worth it.”


“There are few professions that are comparable to the level of personal responsibility and general competencies in archaeology almost from the word go. If we were paid on a scale that accurately reflected these vis a vis other professions I do not think archaeology would be a viable industry.

A while back I went to a professional career advisor because I was curious how my job role measured up to other industries (as opposed to tea-time rumours). Nobody in that firm had ever come across an archaeologist before, so I probably got a lot more service than the usual client, as several advisors researched our profession for their own edification and they were pretty shocked. This was a large and well respected firm, with experience across most industries, which was why I chose them. It was not just the pay that upset them, but especially the poor employment practices in general applied to an exceptionally well qualified workforce where such a high level of autonomy was expected.

I think the heart of the problem might just lie in the high degree of autonomy. Archaeology attracts those who are often extremely capable, but for diverse reasons not able to fit in more closely defined job roles. We put up with crap because we're afraid that the jobs will disappear if we don't and for a lot of us I suspect the job is worth more than a living wage.

That does NOT make poor pay and conditions right under any circumstances!!!! We can do a lot better than just a living wage by behaving more professionally as an industry and to stop being so apologetic about our job, especially at tendering level. I realise that our contribution is perhaps not as tangible as water mains, but it is important none the less and we really need to act on par with the rest of the development industry. (Oh, and construction and engineering have RnD commitments too, and have to budget for that, so enough with the hand wringing!)

Apologies, sometimes I get a little frustrated at all the talking and then no action.... “



"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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#50
Well said Mr C, and agree completely with the sentiments. As regular readers of the forum may have noticed I have a tendency to air frustrations with the profession and am still seriously considering how best to proceed with my career but i would like to echo the call to move properly towards the EH, Cadw, Historic Scotland pay scales.

Am currently employed by EH and the wages are decent (well above bajr minimum), the accomodation is ace and we are all fully aware of contract lengths etc. I think all companies should take a leaf out of thier book and treat diggers as human beings!

The previous company myself and my partner worked for wouldnt even put us on the same site (we were put about 80 miles apart), the accomodation wasnt great for me and for my partner he was expected to share a tiny room with three other blokes above a pub! And your right we simply have to stop excepting this - he quit the job and others need to start voting with thier feet too or nothing is going to change.
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