The film I'm Alright Jack is a satire made 60 years ago. the same mentality is still there in Unions.
Muttley, I agree totally with you. It's so much easier to replace someone on the shop floor that can be directed to do the work, than it is to find someone with the skills to direct.....
Popsider, you are correct, the building trade is heavily weighted with self employed contractors. With the fluctuations in the marketplace the price they can get for their work will also fluctuate. That is completely different from an employed person. as said before, it's not a case of paying because he can get away with it, it's paying commensurate with their skillset, abilities and contribution to the company. It's the same for any employee (though of course in our minds we are fantastic and deserve more....)
I'm saying that Unions have too much leverage and continue to push & push past the point that is acceptable and workable. If you truly believe that the Unions only have your best interests at heart in all things at all times then that is entirely your choice. I'll predict you don't feel the same way about any political party that is in government, and would suggest you look at Unions with the same scepticism.
Just in case it isn't clear in what I have written in relation to the question of whether there should be a general pay rise to everyone that the TUC wants to get a pay rise, the answer is no. Chiefly for the fiscal reasons put forward earlier.
Popsider, I spoke for myself and used actual examples. Your opening sentence, whilst you may think it's true, (Which it isn't in my case), suggests that you think you know what is in the mind of every single person, and also that that is what is in their mind at every single moment, and taken to a zenith would lead to thinking anarchy is the best solution, a slightly different angle to the one I think you would want!
My brother pays basic wage for some jobs because anyone can do them with no training whatsoever. Those people with training and skills he pays more to. If one of those he paid minimum wage could show in some way that they can contribute more then they get more.
Within the society we have created over millennia, and I include various society's that have risen and fallen around the world there has not been one where equality of all has been able to work for more than a nano second. There is always someone at the top and there is always someone at the bottom. If those at the top get too greedy then generally their immediate society has fallen down, re-birthed and someone else has risen to the top.
Or put another way, sh1t happens, there's sweet FA you can do about the larger picture in completeness shy of revolution of the entire planet at the same time which will achieve all your aims, but again only for that nano second before the world returns to normal and everyone goes back to looking at the smaller picture immediately around them. Then sooner or later some of the next generation will be bleating about the unfairness of it all.
I have an ideal picture of the world where everyone lives in harmony and loves each other. I also have a realist view that there's a fat zero chance of that ever happening.