ECONOMICS: Clarke's pay crusade fails

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The Independent Online
Kenneth Clarke has failed in his 10-year mission to revolutionise the way Britons reward themselves for work, according to a study published today. In a speech on 11 February 1987, Mr Clarke, then Secretary of State for Employment, called for the elimination of five deadly sins: the annual pay round, the going rate, "comparability", job evaluation and - perhaps worst of all - national pay bargaining.

A decade later, all five still have a leading role to play in wage determination, research group Incomes Data Services observes.National bargaining has been retained in a number of industries. National pay rates still exist at the banks, the big supermarket chains and companies such as Ford, Vauxhall and McDonald's.

So far as "comparability" is concerned, the vast majority of people still get an annual pay rise reflecting what is happening elsewhere - whether through inflation or what is being paid by competitors.