Rod Dowler (CMD Greater London West) recognised the “divisive and corrosive” effect of inequality on the poorest in society, but said people in managerial and professional groups had also seen significant reductions in real earnings and job opportunities.
Dowler also wanted Prospect to challenge the way senior managers and politicians “deride and undervalue” the professionals’ contribution to the UK economy.
Prospect was “uniquely placed to represent the squeezed middle, whose skills and expertise are of benefit to the country as a whole”, he argued.
But Anthony Webster (Fusion Energy) said that although it was Prospect’s job to campaign for professionals, the union’s image could be damaged because those on lower incomes have lost the most from the economic downturn.
“If we were honest with ourselves we’d feel somewhat embarrassed to support this motion”, he added.
Exercising his right of reply Dowler said talking about the class system was a “dangerous argument to use”.
Instead Prospect should “rise above these concerns and highlight how the skills of professionals are essential for the country’s economic recovery”.
Delegates endorsed the motion’s instructions for the executive to:
- campaign to improve the public image of managerial and professional staff and
- press for new jobs to utilise members’ skills where these can be deployed to the benefit of ‘UK plc’