Peter Hoskin

Back pain, the unions and social-networking

Back pain, the unions and social-networking
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So how do you explain the postal strike when it makes little-to-no business sense whatsoever?  That's the question which Danny Finkelstein sets about tackling in his superb column today.  I won't set out his full answer here - you should read the full article for that - but suffice to say that it involves back pain in East Germany and the latest research into social-networking.  Overall, it makes a very persuasive case, and one which has clear implications for policymakers.  As Danny concludes:

"If the Royal Mail dispute were about individual postal workers and their economic interest, it would be easy enough to solve. It could be ended in a conciliatory way with most people better off. Unfortunately things aren’t that simple. This is about the power and coherence of a group, and a group’s resolve. The sad truth is that the dispute cannot be ended until the group is broken."

Looking forward, you do wonder how far the next government will get with its austerity agenda if it faces a cohesive union response...