Re: Disclosing rates

Subject: Re: Disclosing rates
From: Mark Dando <danmcc -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 09:07:07 +1000

John Wilcox wrote:

>Time prevents my from sharing the war stories I have about employees
>disclosing salaries or hourly rates. In some companies it's grounds for
>termination, and I've never worked for anyone who didn't at least frown
>on the practice. I'd just like to make two interrelated points here.
>1) If you and I were working for the same employer or client, and if one
>of us were making $5.00/hr more than the other for the same work, what
>is that to either you or I? Why do we even need to know? Did we not
>both agree to our respective rate of hire? Isn't an employer entitled
>to offer whatever rate he wants?
>2) I'm no union man. I believe in the free-enterprise system. I
>believe employers should be allowed to hire, fire, promote, demote,
>etc., based solely on merit. If you're a better writer than I and can
>get more money for the same type of work, I say more power to you --
>you've earned the extra pay. But if you want X just because I'm getting
>X, forget it.

In Australia, an employer who sacked an employee for discussing pay levels
would quickly find themselves in court and end up paying the employee hefty
damages and/or reinstating them.

I'm self-employed and generally a supporter of market systems as opposed to
state regulation, but I can't see what "free" enterprise has to do with
non-disclosure of rates.

Indeed, quite the opposite. Any economist will tell you that a "perfect"
market is based on transparency -- full disclosure of price and other
information about what's being traded.

Anybody in business, and that includes me, wants and needs as much
information about prices as possible. Imagine trying to buy a house in a
market where there was an agreement between buyers and sellers not to
disclose prices.

"Free" enterprise is not just about freedom for buyers -- of labour or any
other commodity.

Mark Dando
danmcc -at- ozemail -dot- com -dot- au

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