Tag Archives: British

Ignorant Truss branded people outside London as not ‘hard workers’

Trash talker: if Liz Truss thinks people in the UK don’t work hard simply to make a living, she needs to get her head out of whatever dark cavity it has been inhabiting for the last 12 years.

This woman is a disgrace to the United Kingdom. She should not be in politics, let alone in the running to be prime minister.

I refer, of course, to Liz Truss, a co-author of the infamous Britannia Unchained, a book that claimed the British were “among the worst idlers in the world”.

She has disowned that passage, even though her status as co-author suggests endorsement of it, laying the blame for it on Dominic Raab, who at the time it was published was among the worst idlers in Parliament, with one of the lowest attendance records of any MP. He’s now Deputy Prime Minister, indicating that scum rises.

But she can’t disown the words she spoke in a leaked audio recording from a few years ago, when she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury:

In the clip, leaked to The Guardian, Ms Truss said those outside London were less likely to be hard workers.

She said British workers as a whole also lacked the “skill and application” of foreign rivals, specifically those in China.

Ms Truss said it was “partly a mindset or attitude thing” and there seemed little desire to change the working culture so the UK could become more prosperous.

At the time she spoke those words, the UK’s economy was the second most prosperous in Europe. The money just didn’t trickle down to the people who created it (the workers) due to Tory policies.

This Writer can’t speak for large masses of UK-based workers; I can only really discuss my own experience of working here.

So let’s see: before I set up Vox Political, I spent three and a half years working for a local daily newspaper while also acting as carer for Mrs Mike who (famously, to long-term readers of This Site) has long-term illnesses and disabilities.

I have continued to act as her carer throughout the nearly 11 years that VP has been running. At its height, the site had more than 178,000 hits in a single day and I would suggest achieving that required a certain application.

During the time I was caring for Mrs Mike and running Vox Political, I have also helped run two charities, being vice-chair of one for several years, and I am currently the chair of another, that runs a cultural festival here in Mid Wales.

I spent two years on a successful campaign to force the Tory government to publish figures showing that thousands of people who had claimed sickness benefits but were thrown off them had subsequently died, indicating that the decision to sanction them was wrong.

I also had to work hard to prevent the Department for Work and Pensions from cutting off Mrs Mike’s benefit. Its representatives eventually admitted that they had mis-categorised her.

Oh, and I’ve also been a member of several local bands. Well, everybody has to relax somehow – and local audiences seem to enjoy the music.

Does that little list suggest a “lack of application” to you?

If I was feeling as uncharitable as Truss, I would suggest the reason she has spent so long sh*t-talking working people is because she’s had her head stuck where the sun doesn’t shine.

Source: Truss said British workers needed ‘more graft’ and lacked skill of foreign rivals, leaked audio reveals

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Will Sunak bow to pressure over cost of living – or will he stick to doing the wrong thing?

Rishi Sunak: he knows he’s doing wrong but he’s doing it anyway.

With Parliament about to reconvene with a new legislative programme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to (at last) address the cost-of-living crisis.

The British Chambers of Commerce have called for a three-point plan that would slash VAT on energy bills from 20 per cent to five per cent, offer free Covid tests for companies and the reversing of a recent National Insurance hike.

You can read the rationale for it here.

Sunak is making vague noises about tax cuts – which would be just as well, considering his government has inflicted more tax hikes on the UK’s population than any other in decades.

But he hasn’t actually done anything yet.

Instead, it seems, he’s taking billions from pensioners by freezing something called the Lifetime Allowance for five years.

Confused? So was I. Here‘s the lowdown:

The Lifetime Allowance is currently £1,073,100, which may seem substantial to many.

However, many could find themselves propelled over this sum due to the Chancellor’s decision to freeze the Lifetime Allowance for five years.

It is thought a saver who withdraws cash in a lump sum will lose an extra £180,125 to the taxman by 2025.

The figure represents the tax payable on the difference between the frozen lifetime allowance and the £1.4million had the sum been unfrozen.

Apparently this means he’ll take £6 billion off of people, when he’s being asked to let us keep more.

How is that supposed to help?

Source: Rishi Sunak urged to announce emergency budget as living costs spiral

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Tory energy idiocy: they want scientists to say fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes

Kwasi Kwarteng: he’s not interested in providing cheaper energy for you – he wants to make money for rich people at your expense.

Tory business twit Kwasi Kwarteng has commissioned the British Geological Survey to produce a new report on the impact of fracking – hoping evidence that it causes earthquakes will magically go away.

Kwarteng says he wants to find new ways of supplying the UK’s energy needs after prices skyrocketed due to a squeeze on the amount of gas available – worsened by the boycott on Russian gas triggered by that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

But rather than switch to wholly renewable and green domestic energy generation, he is turning to a calamitous strategy that will fill the country with nuclear waste and earthquakes that will cause massive property damage.

Potentially.

Fracking has been tried in the UK – near Blackpool – but was stopped because it triggered 17 earthquakes over a nine-day period, culminating in a “red event” that forced a halt in operations. The tremors were recorded by the British Geological Survey.

The Tories suspended fracking as an energy-generation policy in the run-up to the 2019 general election and in summer 2020 Kwarteng himself said the government had moved on: “We’ve always said we’d be evidence-backed so if there was a time when the science evidence changed our minds we would be open to that. But for now, fracking is over.”

Now the same goon wants to bring fracking back.

We’re all familiar with the process he’s using: pay an organisation to write a report that says what the commissioner wants it to say (in this case, that the earthquakes that closed the Lancashire fracking down didn’t happen).

It will be fascinating – not to say highly hypocritical – if the British Geological Survey’s report ends up saying this, as it was the same organisation that recorded the earthquakes and shut fracking down.

And let’s remember the real motivation for this new push towards fracking: MONEY.

The Tories know that fracking will make money for rich people like them.

They don’t care that it will cause earthquakes that may cause millions of pounds worth of harm to property belonging to poorer people because it means those people will have to pay other rich people to have it corrected – if possible.

And if it can’t be corrected – who cares? The people affected don’t matter – right?

Kwarteng himself has said that “fracking in England would take years of exploration and development before commercial quantities of gas could be produced for the market, and would certainly have no effect on prices in the near term”. So why bother with it, then?

Put the evidence together and it seems clear that this is an expensive waste of time. The effort should be put into efficient renewables that can be put into service quickly.

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#Amnesty falsely labelled #antisemitic over report on #IsraeliApartheid

Israeli apartheid: this barrier separates Israelis from Palestinians, who are treated as a lower class of human being by the government of Israel.

There is no way that Amnesty International is an anti-Semitic organisation. It simply is not possible when one considers the composition and purpose of that organisation.

The world’s largest human rights organisation, it has just published a report labelling Israel as an apartheid nation and demanding change:

You can read the full report by following the link at the bottom of this article. It is sensible and balanced.

But when UK-based organisations that claim to represent British Jews caught sight of it, they made fools of themselves by denouncing Amnesty:

The joint statement says:

“The report is completely biased and applies standards to Israel that are not applied to any other country.”

A lie.

“The emotive term “apartheid” against Israel is a preposterous slur.”

Another lie. Israeli apartheid is well-documented – not least in the Amnesty video that appears above.

“Despite AI UK’s claim to recognise the Jewish claim to self-determination… it does not support that right.”

A lie. Amnesty does not suggest that Jews should not have that right.

“It chooses to focus on demonising the one Jewish state, holding it to clear double standards.”

A lie. Amnesty’s report attempts to hold Israel to the same standards as any other nation.

“The situation for the Palestinian people is indeed distressing; this will not be alleviated by destroying Israel.”

There is nothing in the Amnesty report that even remotely suggests dismantling Israel.

“This is a bad faith report hostile to the very concept of Israel.”

I think we can all see who is acting in bad faith!

Like all controversial acts, the Amnesty report has attracted detractors (who follow the BoD/JLC attack line) and supporters. Let’s focus on the supporters because they are right:

 

And if it is right to support Amnesty, then it is also right to criticise the BoD and the JLC:

 

The response by the Bod and the JLC has also led to another conclusion:

It’s a fair point, which leads to a further issue: Keir Starmer’s support for apartheid Israel.

We shouldn’t hold our collective breath waiting for a response. Starmer is a coward and will run away from a challenge like this.

While we do wait, we can all read the Amnesty report.

 

Here it is: Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity – Amnesty International

Brexit-prompted tube shortage means UK doctors can’t do blood tests

Scheduled blood tests are being cancelled across the UK and doctors are being forced to make hard decisions about what to do if they lose the ability to provide life-saving diagnostic testing due to a Brexit-prompted shortage of blood collection tubes.

Becton Dickinson, the NHS’s main supplier of blood collection tubes, has been blamed for the shortage, with the manufacturer suggesting the post-Brexit HGV driver shortage could be to blame, according to iNews.

The Department of Health and Social Care is desperately trying to play down the crisis, saying everything is being done to eliminate the shortage.

But NHS England has released new guidance that aims to reduce the use of blood tubes to the bare minimum, suggesting that the issue is serious.

And bosses of the British Medical Association – the doctors’ trade union – are furious. Their press release on the situation makes this abundantly clear [boldings mine]:

“The BMA says the shortage of blood tubes across hospitals and GP surgeries is now severe and if the NHS does not reduce the amount being used in the coming days, even the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk.

“Doctors at the BMA have already made plain their concerns about the implications for patients and their anger that this shortage has been allowed to happen in the first place. However, in the absence of a plan to bring in alternative supplies before the middle of next month, the situation is now urgent. The BMA is urging all doctors to follow the NHS guidance and carry out only the most critical of tests for the time being.

“Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, said: ‘This crisis has put doctors and their patients in a terrible, unenviable position. No doctor knowingly undertakes unnecessary blood tests and to now have to ration all those we are doing, as well as cancel hundreds more, goes against everything we stand for as clinicians.

“‘However, if we don’t try to follow the NHS guidance, it’s clear we will get to the point where even the most clinically urgent of blood tests may not be able to be done as we simply won’t have the tubes for the blood to go into.

“‘We are at a very perilous point and it’s surprising that NHS England hasn’t declared a critical incident given the very strong possibility that NHS organisations may temporarily lose the ability to provide lifesaving diagnostic testing. We also call on NHS England to commit to the changes that are needed for their guidance to be properly followed by doctors, and provide patients with detailed, easily accessible information about the situation.

“‘Many GP practices – like mine – will now have to spend hours assessing which already scheduled tests can or cannot be cancelled and this takes time away from frontline patient care when it is most needed. Cancelling tests makes patients anxious and can mean a missed diagnosis.’

“Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said: ‘The very suggestion that an acute hospital trust needs to reduce testing by 25 per cent is highly alarming. However, to try and avoid a situation where there are simply no more blood tubes, we have no choice but to now make very careful decisions about which tests to carry out.

“‘It is shocking that this situation has been allowed to develop – in particular, the apparent over-reliance on one manufacturer and the woeful lack of any kind of reserve supply. The manufacturers should also have to explain how they allowed stocks to run so low that patients will now suffer as a result. If we don’t get on top of this shortage – and quickly – then we could very easily end up in a catastrophic position, particularly in hospitals where patients come to serious harm.’”

“Severe… anger… terrible, unenviable position… goes against everything we stand for as clinicians… Perilous… can mean a missed diagnosis… highly alarming… shocking that this situation has been allowed to develop… Woeful… catastrophic… patients come to serious harm.”

And it is – apparently – a result of Brexit. And the “politicians” responsible for it couldn’t care less.

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Johnson’s biggest lie yet? Covid-19 deaths are MASSIVELY more than he has said

We know why he lies, too: his fake narrative makes it easier to gather support – especially from Blue Labour types like Keir Starmer who has backed him all the way, in every way that matters.

Deaths in the UK from Covid-19 were not 150,000 at the start of May, as reported by the government, but nearly 210,000.

That’s according to a new study by the University of Washington, reported by the British Medical Journal.

In the UK, the researchers estimated, the true covid death toll up to May 2021 was not 150 519 as officially reported, but 209 661.

Global deaths from covid-19 are not 3.27 million, as official figures suggest, but 6.93 million up to 3 May.

The virus is claiming about 33 000 lives a day around the world, more than twice reported figures.

Don’t try to tell me Boris Johnson doesn’t know.

What’s really shocking is that he and his despicable, corrupt Tory government that has used the Covid crisis as a chance to funnel billions of pounds to its party members and friends, are now riding high in the opinion polls.

… Because Labour members were fooled into electing a pale-blue cuckoo who backed his buddy Boris to the hilt.

The good news is that projected future deaths are very low – around 750 by September – due to high vaccine take-up.

It is the only good news to be had from this ever-expanding fiasco.

Source: Covid-19: Study claims real global deaths are twice official figures | The BMJ

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Starmer is letting Tories order him around. Is this an unexpected twist in the lobbying scandal?

Keir Starmer: the face of shame, again.

We all know the Board of Deputies of British Jews is dominated by Conservatives, don’t we?

The use of anti-Semitism accusations may therefore be seen as a way for Tories to exert unwarranted influence over the Labour Party.

Now it seems they are extending that influence – by which I mean the following:

Labour leader Keir Starmer let a Tory-run organisation order him to reject an invitation to an interfaith event.

The Board of Deputies told Starmer to avoid the virtual Iftar event because one of its organisers is a member of Cage, an international advocacy organisation with a focus on Muslim detainees and communities impacted by the so-called War on Terror.

Apparently this person had shared a demand for a boycott of Israeli dates.

Is it true? Were there good reasons for it if it was? These questions are relevant but don’t really affect the core issue.

What matters is that Starmer let a Tory group order him around and that will never be acceptable in a Labour Party representative.

And at a time when he is trying to make mud stick on Boris Johnson and the Tories for letting former MPs and ministers, party donors and friends influence them, it is shocking that Starmer would show himself to be so easily-led by a Tory-led group.

The Twitterati have been having a field day:

This can only do further harm to Starmer’s chances in the local elections…

… but right-wing Labour is spinning like a top in its efforts to make him look supportable.

Labour is plummeting in the polls, with Starmer’s leadership the clearest reason, but that didn’t stop Peter – sorry, Lord – Mandelson taking a pop at former leader Jeremy Corbyn. He told Huffington Post‘s Paul Waugh:

“The memory of Jeremy Corbyn is still strong on the doorsteps amongst Labour voters here, it’s still coming up and I’m afraid we have still got some way to go before we rebuild the confidence and trust that we just threw away.”

No, Peter. It’s your boy Starmer who’s throwing away confidence and trust.

Meanwhile, the object of the Right’s continued enmity has managed to remain astonishingly equivocal about Starmer – but still couldn’t manage to say anything nice about him when questioned by LBC’s Iain Dale:

It is a class act – especially in contrast to that of Starmerites like Mandelson.

They fling dirt at Corbyn thick and fast – while he merely comments from experience about what a Labour leader should do.

One thing a Labour leader should never do is be seen to allow Tories to dictate his schedule to him.

Source: Starmer withdraws from Ramadan interfaith event after Board of Deputies warning | Jewish News

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Why is Brian Cox getting flak for pointing out that our fascist government uses fascist language?

Brian Cox: This Site doesn’t always agree with him but he’s right about people who use phrases like “the will of the people”. There’s no such thing, and people who speak in such absolute terms are fascists.

The Daily Express‘s attack on Professor Brian Cox isn’t part of Boris Johnson’s “war on ‘woke'” – it’s an endorsement of the Johnson government’s fascism.

Normally This Writer wouldn’t leap to defend Prof Cox; he knows the score on the social media and he’s big enough to stand up for himself – but this non-story by a right-wing rag demonstrates an important topical point.

It refers to the broadcaster’s response after Priti Patel said – way back in August last year – that denying refugees access to the UK was the will of the British people.

It isn’t – it isn’t even the will of the majority. And even the minority who support Johnsons fascists might be divided after learning how Patel treats people who manage to get here.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the concentration camp that turned into a Covid-19 breeding ground, and last week we learned that she had tried to deport a witness to a death in another Home Office facility, in an attempt to undermine an investigation that would show that the government had contributed to the death.

But there it was in black and white. Patel stated: “We need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France. I know that when the British people say they want to take back control of our borders – this is exactly what they mean.”

Professor Cox responded: “I’m so sick of this ‘the British people’ nonsense.

“It’s inflammatory and divisive and also errant vacuous nonsense with no meaning in a multi-party democracy.

“The phrase should be banned from political discourse.”

There is a valid criticism to be made about these words – and it is that they do not address exactly why those words are problematic.

Fortunately, he followed up with a further comment, in order to remove any doubt:

“The point is that invoking ‘the will of the people’ or derivatives in promoting policy is a well-rehearsed propaganda technique and has no place in our democratic dialogue.”

(Here’s the proof of what he said)

He was right; it is; it has.

But because the Express dredged up this moment in a current news story, suddenly he has been on the receiving end of a huge gammon-flavoured dogpile by the kind of “British people” who think that their far-right views are shared by everybody.

That’s not what “right-thinking” really means, folks.

Fortunately, plenty of genuinely right-thinking people have stood up to defend Professor Cox, and to point out that the Express article is built around a misinterpretation of his words that is no more or less than a lie.

I want to know why the article’s writers and editors of the Express were trying to distract us with this dead cat. What have the Tories done that needs this to take our minds off it?

Source: Brian Cox called for ban on using ‘British people’ term during woke revolt | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

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Victory in fight against ‘fire and rehire’ by British Airways after Unite union secures deal

This is great news at a time when companies seem keen to ramp up the stress on employees who already have enough worry with Covid-19.

British Airways has agreed to end so-called “fire and rehire” employment practices.

The company came to the deal after nine days of strike action over the Christmas/New Year period which the union United said caused “overwhelming disruption to the company’s cargo services”.

Unite had proposed a urther nine days of strike action to start on January 22 but the first three days were called off at the last minute, after progress was made at the negotiations.

Another round of strikes due to begin this weekend has also been called off.

The deal is as follows:

  • End of “fire and rehire” (the last area of BA where this was a threat)

  • Workers will revert to previous contractual provisions subject to agreed changes

  • No compulsory redundancies

  • Improved pay protection for staff whose pay sits above the new agreed rates

  • An increase in pay for a significant proportion of staff

  • Members who did not sign the new contract and were dismissed will be offered their jobs back on the agreed terms.

Unite’s members will have to be balloted on the deal, and it is understood that they are likely to accept it.

It’s a great victory for Unite, but let’s not minimise the step that BA has taken at a time when other firms are opportunistically forcing employees to re-apply to do the same job they’re already doing, but for less money and with fewer work-related protections.

BA is setting an example, and even if nobody else follows it, let’s applaud that choice.

Source: Unite ends BA ‘fire and rehire’ dispute by securing deal to avoid forthcoming cargo strike action

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