It’s all about power

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I have already written about power this morning and I note that on quite a different tack that so has Aditya Chakrabortty, in the Guardian.

Aditya's concern is with negotiating power on pay. His argument relies on a simple fact, which is that hotel cleaners in New York are paid three times as much as cleaners working for the same chains in London.

The difference comes down to power, or in this case the power of being unionised to achieve collective bargaining, or not.

The absence of unionised collective bargaining in far too many UK sectors is a market failure because markets are only efficient when the participants play on a level playing field. It has always been the job of unions to create that level of playing field which is otherwise absent.

A government that believed in effective markets would encourage effective trade unions. We haven't seen governments do that for many years. The conclusion is obvious: too many in UK politics have for far too long abandoned effective markets in favour of explotation and rent seeking.

That's another thing the Scots have noticed. Short term promises are not going to fix that, north or south of the border, but reform on this issue is vital if current inequality that is at the heart of our economic malaise is to be fixed. And I work with unions for that precisely that reason.