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Archaeology today
Greetings!Don`t quite know where to start.I will get back to you on these questions-promise.Must run off for a fag firstBig GrinDon`t go away-damn fine questions...........Wink
Quote:quote:Originally posted by 27trowels

I was wondering if people might be able to enlighten me on some key questions i have.

I'll try.

Point 1: Why not a single union? Historically, archaeologists joined unions active in their workplace. This meant NALGO for local authority workers (now UNISON) and IPCS (now Prospect) for central government workers. IPCS and IPMS made a push to mop up loose members in the 80s and 90s and I think that APEX (now AMICUS) also tried to attract archaeologists, along with weather forecasters and vicars in the 1990s. My experience is that there have never been enough rich archaeologists to support a single profession trade union.

2. Strikes. There are very, very strict rules on who may strike, where they might strike and what other workers they are striking in favour of. I personally don't think that it worked well for the Fireman or Gate Gourmet workers, but perhaps you read different newspapers to me. It is unlikely that any trade union worried about its sequestrated assets would sanction unilateral strike action across a 'professional' grouping, unless it involved a single employer. Even then, as the miners discovered in 1985 you could be in breach of the law.

3. I can go through a list of MPs who have been useful to archaeologists. Some who seem to put their principles first include Simon Hughes (LibDem, Bermondsey), Mark Fisher (Lab, Stoke) and Tam Dayell (now ex Lab). I will save Mr Host's blushes (and libel suits) by not mentioning those who have blown hot and cold over the years, but the majority of fly-bys have been aspirant Labour types.

4. Some archaeologists have always been badly paid. Some have been paid an average wage. Biggest problem to my mind was that when a large number of County Archaeologists were created (in the Frankenstein sense) in the 1970's. They were stuck on Local Government grade 4. This meant that anyone below them in grade had to be on a lower salary. You can still see the consequences of this in present-day pay grades. There is no other graduate entry grade in Local government where the salary is so low.

5. It is a well known fact that since 'developer funding' began in the late 70's, arcaheology is a very small component <1% of development projects. The way you make huge profits in development is to exploit the weakest link and that happens to be development control of which archaeology is hand in glove. The only way to get more money for archaeology would be if the development control process allowed it to do so (i.e section 106 controls). Central and local governemnt is wise to that scheme however and any such monies which can be raised in this manner are more likely to go towards reducing Council or Income Tax bills rather than supporting archaeology.

Hope that fills in some gaps. I am surised that your Bradford gap year isn't providing the answers to some of these points.

Quote:quote: I was wondering if people might be able to enlighten me on some key questions i have.

1. Unions - a purely archaeological union was founded in the 1980s. It was called 'ACT - Archaeologists Communicate Transform'. It faded away, partly because of apathy and partly because the name was too embarrassing.

2. Strikes - I have known at least one strike in archaeology. It did'nt work.

3. MPs - I think nowadays you would get a better result from the Lib Dems than Labour.

4. Archaeology in the 1970s-90s used to be worse paid, at least for site workers, than it is now.

5. Budgets - the scope of archaeological investigation on a development site is set by the curator, who can insist on very onerous requirements if the importance of the archaeology justifies it. The size of budget is then set by the archaeological units in their competitive tender. Developers can only really influence budget by selection of the cheapest tender or by redesigning the scheme to avoid the archaeology. I know of schemes where over ?5million has been spent on archaeology, and one I was involved in where the scheme was redesigned after the archaeology was priced at ?7million.


to let, fully furnished
Quote:quote:Originally posted by 1man1desk
1. Unions - a purely archaeological union was founded in the 1980s. It was called 'ACT - Archaeologists Communicate Transform'.

ACT was never a union. It started as a pressure group within the IFA something similar to the Diggers Forum.
Quote:quote:ACT was never a union. It started as a pressure group within the IFA something similar to the Diggers Forum.
from Kevin Wooldridge

Well, the ACT rep who turned up uninvited on my site in 1986 and started trying to recruit people (me included) described it as a union, and never mentioned the IFA. In fact, I'm not sure I'd even heard of the IFA at the time.


to let, fully furnished
There is a specific union for archaeologists.

Google UAFT

Little Tim
cheers for the responses.

Taking all that into account what do you guys think could/should be done to turn archaeology into a real profession with decent wage and conditions? I dont want to rehash things that have already been said in other parts of the forum but would very much like to have an idea so that i can become pro-active in changing our position. I still love this job, however i find myself surrounded by people who used to love it but now have become very unhappy and jaded. I dont want be in that position in 5 or 10 years time. I also want to be able to buy a house, have children and other basic human rights. A snap pole in my unit revealed that only 3 people from a staff of 30 own there own house, thats including directors and other higher ups.

So then what can i do to make things better?
That all depends on who you talk to Wink

Personally, I think you should join the IFA as soon as you can (PIFA is easily attainable after 6months employment), emerse youself in the active debate going on here and go for it.

At the moment its the IFA or nothing. It does have its faults, but it is changing. If you have the energy, get yourself and all you know involved in the sub-commitees. Change will occur when enough of the membership want it to.

(I really have worked in the field)
The Bradford placement year will get you PIFA grade as soon as you get your degree as it counts as the 6 months experience needed (according to the prospectus).

I'm not convinced that owning a house or having children are basic human rights though.

We owe the dead nothing but the truth.
Don't sell your labour cheaply. Make sure every new employer pays you more than the last, and constantly push for better pay/conditions with your employer. Be pro-active within the company. It doesn't have to be a collective action through IFA or union to make a change.

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