Sunday, October 10, 2010

RIP Solomon Burke

Aged 70, another sad loss to soul music.

Back the Bill

John McDonnell's 'extremely modest' Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill.

Write to your Labour MP. I understand that the debate is being held on a friday afternoon when all MP's will be rushing back to get home in time for a long weekend.
Ask them to stay a get the law changed.

Keith Ewing makes the point of the bill here

Below is a draft template for Unite members sent to me the other day.

-------------- MP

House of Commons



Dear ----------------- MP

Please support the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill on 22nd October

I’m writing to you regarding the Private Member’s Bill the ‘Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill’ that is tabled for its second reading on Friday 22nd October.

The Bill is being sponsored by at least four members of the Unite Parliamentary Group and I am asking you as a member my union’s group in Parliament to be in the House on that day so that the Bill can progress.

I understand that you will have many constituency demands on a Friday but the aim of this Bill – to put a stop to the recent trend for employers to challenge legitimate, democratically decided strike action in court on the basis of minor errors and technicalities – is something which union members have raised time and time again as being of concern to them. The bill represents a fundamental human rights issue.

Indeed, Unite members at British Airways were prevented from striking after the employer went to the courts on the basis that union members were not notified of 11 spoiled ballot papers, despite the fact that our members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

The Bill will not increase the circumstances under which trade unions are entitled to strike, but it will make sure that when a strike is legal, legitimate and has been subject to the ballot of members, then employers cannot use minor errors to stop trade union members from exercising their rights.

I hope that you will support this Bill and in doing so support the rights of members of your union.

Yours sincerely,

Interesting fact about Adam Smith

While hundreds of Tories run around their front rooms pulling at their hair and screaming 'the debt, the debt, we haven't any money left' clear headed socialists should be sanely analysing the Capitalist Crisis that got us here and campaigning for an alternative to the anarchy. Part of that process should be organising trade union and community opposition against the ConDem cuts and focusing on defending good democratically controlled public services and the hard earned terms and conditions of all public sector workers.

So, while the Tories carry out their ideological war it is worth remembering that when they start quoting the so called benefits of the free market in replacing public services (you know, all that small state, 'big society' bollocks) and worshiping at the altar of Adam Smith that it was Smithy himself who supported the very type of unions opposing this crap.

Worth using those arguments eh?

Football and Free Enterprise

I have long since held the belief (like millions of others) that football is being slowly strangled by Capitalism. Fans are being ripped off weekly and less wealthy clubs are being marginalised by the big clubs spending power.

It comes as no surprise that two of the biggest clubs in the Premiership who dominated football in the 2nd half of the 20th Century are experiencing difficulties. It will be a case of watch this space. Ultimately it will be the fans who are already paying the price, paying the price.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Privateer Connaught facing bust

10'000 job losses isnt anything to celebrate. But Connaught was a company like many other fighting for valuable Public sector contracts. ConDem cutbacks have pulled the rug out from under this company.

I believe it will be the first of many.

Unions have to fight the cuts and bring outsourced work back in -house. Private contractors arent safe anymore.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Tax Dodgers Alliance and TU Facility time

The TPA have been after the Unions for a long time. This and this (explained) has been brewing since before the General Election when the TPA were acting as the 'Storm-Troopers' of CaMorons Big Society reaction.

There is one way for Reps to challenge this. If the Employers in Local Authorities and the NHS want disciplinary and grievances to be handled fairly, if they want redundancy consultations and pay negotiations to be meaningful, they would be well advised to ignore the rantings of the rich boys and girls in the TPA.

My advice to reps would be to insist that if facility time goes we hold all formal meetings in the middle of the night or at weekends. That will f*ck the managers off enough to grant facility time.

Another thing for the snobs in the TPA to investigate would be the amount of time our members are suspended on full pay due to dubious allegations, pending disciplinary hearings or for the amount of time bullying managers send our members on sick leave due to their bullying methods. I am sure some money can be saved here.

I believe most managers in the Public Sector value the role of Trade Union activists. In fact most sensible private sector companies (eg Fords) allow decent facility time so the luddites in the TPA cant use the excuse that the Private Sector dont do it. The reality is that the TPA arent really interested in saving money. They and their Tory pay master's want to break the democratic will of workers organised in the Public Sector to oppose their discredited programme of cuts that will affect the low paid inside and outside the Civil Service, Local Authorities and the NHS.