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5 years time.....
One man's undercutting is another's competitive tender. The principle applies to individuals and empluees and well as firms: the market, or going rate, is what it is, and if people are willing to work 25 hour days, 8 days a week, travelling 500 miles a day to do so for ?100 a week, well the system must work, the client and therefore ultimately the consumer and society all benefit. This is the way the system works and is seen as a Good Thing - forces efficiency and Value For Money through Healthy Competition.

Well of course this is largely tosh, over-simplistic and only partially true (and breaks down when firms are able and willing to buy jobs ie tender at below cost), but it is the dogma under which we have lived since 1979 and to be honest is very unlikely to change in the forseeable future.

A step forward would be enforcement of standards, both statutory and contractual: this means a well resourced and diligent curatorial body, and consultants with the teeth and attitude of (say) an architect when faced a lousy piece of (say) brickwork: not in accordance with th contract, s/he will cry, and down it comes, no messing. Also it would be nice if people just did not accept silly conditions and/or wages: pee off and work for Tesco, probabky for more money, if need be.

None of which likely to happen, so it goes on.
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I can't imagine there is a single person or company working in commercial archaeology who thinks that they are earning a reasonable amount of money for their efforts and experience. As such, all it would take is a unified decision to "step up" the fee structure for archaeology. Companies, of course, can't make this decision on account of accusations of cartelism (if that's a word) , so it has to come from the individual archaeologists refusing to work for the pittance that archaeological companies offer.

And this is where the problem really bites - diggers undercutting diggers. We're all told from day one that we'll struggle to find a job, and if we do the pay and conditions will be crap. The old lags will tell you that you don't know how good you've got it, and with misty eyes reminisce of how they used to get put up in hovels made of sheep dung and had to drink cow's piss cos that's all the management would provide. And so, if we all band together and say "no, we won't work for less than ?15 an hour, plus expenses, you slave-driving arses" , there are a new generation of diggers who will not only expect, but gladly accept, work on the most horrendous terms because that is what they think they are worth. You'll even find people with 2 or 3 years experience taking jobs with appalling pay scales and conditions because "well, you know, it's work, and you've got to pay the rent somehow, and at least its doing what I'm trained for and not sweeping up in LIDL."

And what's really annoying is that neither the companies, nor the client, will care that the work is being done by people with 4 days experience on a uni training dig, so long as the bodies are off site on deadline day, and some poor Project Officer will then get the boot for failing to compile an archive full of poorly excavated and recorded gibberish into a cohesive report.
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@ devillish - you are wrong to think that the companies cant raise the stakes - they (we) can if we care to, but they wont until they have to
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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Sorry, yes - on an individual basis they can, though they run the extremely high risk of forcing themselves out of business by trying to be responsible to their staff. The only way they would do this is if they could get an agreement from all the other companies that they were all going to up the stakes so that we can earn a decent rate. That, though, would be a cartel, and so far as my limited knowledge of corporate law goes, that's illegal, isn't it?
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it wouldnt be a cartel if by mutual agreement everybody paid a minimum wage - and by that i mean a decent wage with decent conditions

a Chartered Institute for Archaeology could demand such, as well as police it and issue licenses
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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I have no idea about the legality and limitations of such a thing, but I assume that if the IFA can set its pitifully low minimums and insist members adhere to them (or face almost instant tutting and hand wringing), then I don't see why another umbrella organisation couldn't do the same. You would need some structure whereby DCOs leaned heavily on developers to employ only members of said organisation, otherwise no-one would bother. The majority of one-man-and-a-shovel units don't bother with RAO status, and that is hardly arduous. Or government legislation to insist that only chartered archaeologists can dig on commercial sites. Though that raises the questions of elitism that the current archaeology crowd have been whining about since PPG16 came in.
As if the profession becoming a bit more elite would be a bad thing.
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Would be quite happy to accept 700-800 quid a week for only 40 hours, but sadly that's not they way the game works currently (not in this country, anyway), so I'm afraid I'm quite happy to go for Plan B which is getting it by putting in the hours, when occasion arises, which Jack seems intent on putting the spoke into (unprintable word) :face-stir:
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Imagine if companies agreed to minimum standards - such as cleaning the bases of eval trenches by hand ( though a 9k pipeline might be er... proplems) or that they will all put in for a public scaffold gantry on accessible sites. etc...

OR the UK adopts a similar system to the Dutch... I keep banging on about it... and desperately want to know why not! Come on IfA !! and Curators... adopt this! it creates a level playing field and tenders will be on quality!


http://www.sikb.nl/upload/documents/archeo/knauk.pdf
Dutch Archaeology Quality Standard. W.J.H. Willems & R.W. Brandt. Den Haag 2004

I too wish I could wish I could accept 700-800 quid a week for only 40 hours - but hey... I diversify and do anything (as Dino and I agree) however, it does mean - well last week for example around 75 hours )

Still... I now do archaeology I enjoy... whooo hooo! now... if I could just do that every week!
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Devillish Advocate Wrote:I have no idea about the legality and limitations of such a thing, but I assume that if the IFA can set its pitifully low minimums and insist members adhere to them (or face almost instant tutting and hand wringing), then I don't see why another umbrella organisation couldn't do the same. You would need some structure whereby DCOs leaned heavily on developers to employ only members of said organisation, otherwise no-one would bother. The majority of one-man-and-a-shovel units don't bother with RAO status, and that is hardly arduous. Or government legislation to insist that only chartered archaeologists can dig on commercial sites. Though that raises the questions of elitism that the current archaeology crowd have been whining about since PPG16 came in.
As if the profession becoming a bit more elite would be a bad thing.

agreed - (at long last on this forum)
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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BAJR Wrote:Imagine if companies agreed to minimum standards - such as cleaning the bases of eval trenches by hand ( though a 9k pipeline might be er... proplems) or that they will all put in for a public scaffold gantry on accessible sites. etc...

OR the UK adopts a similar system to the Dutch... I keep banging on about it... and desperately want to know why not! Come on IfA !! and Curators... adopt this! it creates a level playing field and tenders will be on quality!


http://www.sikb.nl/upload/documents/archeo/knauk.pdf
Dutch Archaeology Quality Standard. W.J.H. Willems & R.W. Brandt. Den Haag 2004

agreed (twice in the same visit - cripes!)
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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