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Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: Do people in Britain work hard?

 

B: I'd say they do. Jobs are so hard to get that if you're lucky enough to have one,

you know that you're expected to pull your weight.

 

A: What are the conditions of work like?

 

B: They vary tremendously between jobs. You can see what they're like for

people working in supermarket check-outs. They have to keep up or else shoppers or

their supervisors get angry.

 

A: How about in schools?

 

B: School-teachers have plenty to do now that they have to administer tests as

part of the National Curriculum. In many cases, they've had to stop running clubs and

societies after school. They used to do this voluntarily, but now they're much too

exhausted.

 

A: Do you think that public sector workers such as teachers, doctors, nurses and

fire fighters should be allowed to strike?

 

B: Not if they're properly rewarded. Their unions should come together with the

employers and negotiate no-strike agreements.

 

A: What if the employers decide to introduce new working practices? After all,

things can't remain the same for ever.

 

B: Any change in conditions should be negotiated as well.

 

A: And what happens if the two sides can't agree?

 

B: Then the dispute should go to arbitration. What's needed is an independent

body to mediate in industrial disputes. It might sometimes have to impose a settlement.

 

A: Surely, nobody can force people to go to work, if they really don't want to.

 

B: Then they risk losing their jobs. It is wrong to leave hospital patients without

doctors and nurses. Likewise, strikes among teachers can severely disrupt the

education of our children.

 

A: So you don't think everybody should have the right to strike?

 

B: Well, I think everybody should have the right to join a trade union. This

allows free collective bargaining. You can't have every worker making separate

deals with management. The strike weapon should only be used as a last resort if

arbitration fails. Employees should know that management may impose a lock-out.