Tag Archives: union

New low for Starmer: Workers at the Party of the Workers are to go on strike

For the many? It seems “the many” are deserting the Labour Party in their thousands, in disgust at Keir Starmer.

Staff at Labour Party HQ who are members of trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to strike, in protest at the plan to sack 90 of their number and replace them with short-term contractors in exactly the kind of ‘fire-and-rehire’ deal that leader Keir Starmer claims to oppose.

It is suggested that they voted to strike by a majority of three to one:

It’s doubtful that this has anything to do with Starmer’s attack on the unions (he has spoken out against Unite’s new boss Sharon Graham, while Bakers’ union BFAWU boss Ian Hodson is in danger of auto-exclusion, apparently on a trumped-up charge) – but it is also doubtful that it will do their relationship any good.

Labour was originally formed to give working-class people representation in Parliament.

The fact that the party’s current leadership sees nothing wrong with betraying its own employees – and therefore its very reason for existing – is more damning than anything This Writer can say about it.

I just hope it goes the distance and they all walk out between September 25 and 29 (at least) – because those are the dates of the Labour Party Conference.

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Will Labour have any backers left after Starmer started attack on unions?

Sharon Graham: The Tories are demanding that Labour leader Keir Starmer take no donations from Unite after she threatened to work “outside the law”, if necessary, to win industrial disputes. It will leave Labour with an even bigger hole in its finances than it has now.

Keir Starmer seems determined to cut off all funding opportunities for his version of the Labour Party.

After spending more than a year attacking and reducing the membership on false pretences, so that the party is now a shadow of the largest political organisation in Europe that it was under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, it seems he is now distancing himself from the trade unions.

It seems right-wing mischief-makers, either within the party or from outside, reminded Starmer of a 2019 threat by new Unite boss Sharon Graham, to work “outside the law” to win industrial disputes.

It was a humiliating for the Labour leader, who had only days previously congratulated her on her election win and claimed he was looking forward to “working together to improve the lives of working people”. That was probably an empty promise in any case, considering Starmer’s record of betraying his vows.

Tory Party co-chair Amanda Milling challenged Starmer to pledge to take no donations from the union if Ms Graham adopted the tactics she had threatened – but he probably won’t even have the choice.

Unite – Labour’s biggest financial backer – already restricted its supply of cash to the party under previous general secretary Len McCluskey, because of Starmer’s perceived failures as a leader, and Ms Graham is already being urged to go further and cut funding altogether.

Bakers’ union the BFAWU has already threatened to disaffiliate from Labour altogether after Starmer’s party threatened its president with auto-exclusion. The union says he has done nothing wrong and on Labour’s recent record, this is entirely believable.

A vote is to be taken and the result announced during Starmer’s speech at this year’s Labour Party conference.

Ms Graham’s threat was clearly announced as a last resort – as “Operation Cupcake” makes clear in this thread…

… but Ms Graham made it clear that she would not apologise for defending workers. She has already started a review of all the union’s activities, to ensure that members who are involved in disputes get “all the support they need”.

So a confrontation seems likely – and Starmer, having driven away more than 100,000 members and failed to secure corporate funding, will come off worst if it happens.

Meanwhile, commenters on the social media have drawn public attention to the realities of the situation:

Indeed.

Starmer is irrelevant – both to working people and to the UK as a whole. He had a chance to be a uniting force in the Labour movement and he blew it on vindictive attacks against left-wingers (so much for his claims to lead a “broad church”).

The focus now is on what the unions will do if they separate from Starmer’s Fake Labour altogether and let it sink.

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Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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Union that co-founded the Labour Party threatens disaffiliation – during Starmer’s conference speech

BFAWU president Ian Hodson: the union is threatening to disaffiliate from Labour – the party it helped create – after Starmer’s rabble threatened to expel him over a connection with a proscribed organisation.

This will be a stunning humiliation for Keir Starmer – if it happens. The decision on timing is a masterstroke.

One of the unions that helped set up the Labour Party at the beginning of the 20th century has threatened to sever its connection with Keir Starmer’s right-wing perversion of that organisation.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union is recalling its national conference to take the vote after learning that Labour is considering expelling its national president, Ian Hodson, over connections with one of the organisations that Starmer’s Labour recently proscribed for no very good reason.

The union also condemned Starmer’s apparent decision to repair its relationship with bosses while widening divisions with representatives of labour – the trade unions.

In a statement, the union’s representatives said: “The recent decision to proscribe organisations is seen as a divisive and a purely factional attack which will do nothing to unite the party or provide any real opportunity for the party to be able to unite to fight and defeat our real enemy The Tory Party.

“Our National President has only ever conducted himself in line with the policies and the decisions taken by this trade union.

“The executive expressed dismay and anger at the idea the Labour Party should consider expelling the office of our nominated political lead in our organisation, and agreed that a firm response was required should the party take such actions.

“The BFAWU executive unanimously agreed a timeline that would coincide with the leaders address to national Labour conference in September should such a situation arise.

“An attack on one of ours is an attack on all of us.

“We will not accept bullying from any bosses or a party that seems to be choosing to prefer to be on the bosses side.”

The threat puts Starmer in an impossible position. If he refuses to give in, he’ll suffer a huge public relations defeat and personal humiliation. If he doesn’t, then others will demand to know why Hodson is getting special treatment – and his proscription of left-wing groups will become meaningless.

In making this decision to stand with its president, the Bakers’ union has shown the way for everybody – including individual party members.

What’s to stop individual Labour branches and constituency parties from choosing to disaffiliate, if one of their members is threatened with expulsion unfairly? Nothing.

It seems likely that such solidarity is the only response that Starmer will understand.

Source: BFAWU to recall Conference – Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)

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Racist Tories indicate they’d rather have criminals driving our lorries than foreigners

I’m not happy with this.

It seems Boris Johnson’s government is thinking of letting convicted criminals – who are serving prison sentences – deliver lorry loads of goods to ease the driver shortage caused by Brexit (not Covid-19).

The option was tabled by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which is apparently meeting with HM Prison Service this week (although I don’t know why. Most of the prisons are run by private companies these days, aren’t they?) to ask for lorry drivers to be prioritised on the Release on Temporary Licence (ROFL* ROTL) scheme.

The meeting comes after Nando’s had to close 45 fast food joints due to a shortage of chickens. In related news, McDonalds recently ran out of milkshakes.

And of course the nation is running out of patience.

But that didn’t stop ministers rejecting calls for temporary work visas to be handed to drivers from the European Union after overtures were made to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The response was clear – and clearly racist: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

In other words: “We don’t want Johnny Foreigner coming over here and helping us out of a problem we created because of our racism against him! We’d rather cut off our noses to spite our faces!

The statement continued: “We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

In other words, new drivers will be trained to a lower standard, and tests will be of a lower quality, in order to put more drivers on our streets. And bring more death to our roads?

The alternative is the use of prisoners. You can read about it here and here.

Owain Gardner (below) makes some good points about it:

And so does Richard Murphy:

We’re coming to a point where we don’t mind who we trust to deliver our food – or what condition it may be in when it arrives. That’s why I don’t think such a scheme will work.

Which prisoners would the government allow to be used? What crimes would the government deem to be harmless enough to allow them to deliver food to us? How would they be supervised?

My guess is that the answers to these three questions are: any, all, and not at all.

And that creates a danger to us. It only takes one con with a chip on his shoulder to cause all kinds of problems. I’m sure I can leave the consequences to your imagination.

Oh, I’m exaggerating; overdramatising. Sure.

But we have prisons to stop dangerous people from doing dangerous things. This scheme will give them free rein to do it.

And I’m only wrong about this until something happens to prove me right.

*ROFL is of course an Internet acronym meaning “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”. I mention it because of its similarity to ROTL, and also to connect with Keir Starmer’s howler at his latest relaunch of his party leadership, in which he used the slogan “Winning The Future” (WTF). You’re probably aware that WTF is Internet-speak for “What The F***”.

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Regret as Beckett withdraws from Unite union leadership election in favour of Turner

Withdrawing: Howard Beckett.

Howard Beckett has withdrawn from the campaign to elect the next general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union – to gasps of disappointment from members and commentators.

He has announced that he will be supporting fellow left-wing candidate Steve Turner against hard-right Gerard Coyne, who many consider to be a threat to the union, and who is also considered to be politically allied to disastrous Labour “leader” Keir Starmer.

You can read Beckett’s announcement here:

In This Writer’s opinion, the wrong man is going forward.

Just take a look at Beckett’s Twitter output in comparison with Turner’s and you’ll see that the former showed a commitment to campaigning – on a variety of issues – that the latter did not. Here’s Beckett’s feed from the last few days:

Here’s Turner’s:

There is a third left-wing candidate – Sharon Graham – who seems to lack any purpose other than to split the left-wing vote, thereby allowing the hard-right Coyne to take over. She certainly hasn’t made much of an impression on This Writer in any other respect.

The loss of Beckett as a candidate is likely to hit Unite members hard.

Many of them considered him to be the natural successor to Len McCluskey and the only hope for the future of the union – and are likely to boycott the vote as a result, making it more likely that the right-wing Coyne will win.

I would certainly urge those people to reconsider. A lesser left-winger is still far better than a right-winger who is likely to dismantle Unite in terms of everything it stands for.

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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Maureen Lipman quits actors’ union Equity to support apartheid Israel

Maureen Lipman: this is an old image from 2018 because she honestly doesn’t rate the time it would take me to get a new one.

Once upon a time, Maureen Lipman was best-known as a legend among her fellow actors. Oh, and as Beattie from the British Telecom ads.

Now she’s best known for quitting the Labour Party – multiple times, apparently – and today for quitting actors’ union Equity.

Here’s Metro:

Coronation Street actress Dame Maureen Lipman has resigned from Equity, the actors’ union, after the organisation urged members to join a pro-Palestine march, it has been claimed.

‘I’m going to resign and I’m also going to ask for my £1000 a year membership fees to be given back to me, and I’m going to send it a charity for the victims on both sides,’ she told [The Telegraph].

‘I didn’t join a political union. I joined a union to protect its members. You don’t dictate to artists what they believe in, and don’t incite them to join a mob.’

This Writer is sure that the 200,000 people who took part in the “mostly peaceful” event in London last weekend will be nonplussed to learn that Lipman has branded them a “mob”.

And while some may say she is right to ask, “Where is [Equity president] Maureen Beattie on the Uyghurs, Rohingyas, the Sudanese, the Yemenites?” some of us applaud the decision to take a stand on a topical issue.

And when there’s a major demo for Yemenites and the others, I for one will look forward to seeing Equity representatives standing alongside everybody else.

A few misguided souls have supported Lipman’s stand:

I wonder whether she feels validated by the support of a former journalist who, as editor of The Sun, falsely accused Liverpool supporters of responsibility for the Hillsborough disaster?

And, as she is falsely accusing Equity of drumming up support for a “mob”, I can only surmise that she does.

Perhaps she prefers the statement by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which falsely claimed that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza happened because that overwhelmingly better-armed nation, supported as it is by the weaponsmiths of the UK and the USA, needed to defend itself against some home-made fireworks that mostly rebounded from the so-called Iron Wall.

Before reading this, let’s remember that the violence happened because Israeli soldiers had been attacking residents of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, turfing them out of their homes in what’s known as ethnic cleansing, and had invaded the Al Aqsa Mosque, hitting worshippers there with rubber bullets and stun grenades:

Strangely enough, accusing Jews in the UK of being more loyal to the people they know in Israel, has been described to us all as an anti-Semitic trope. Draw your own conclusions on what this says about the Board of Deputies.

Would you appreciate some more rational responses?

Some have reminded us that Lipman spent the last few years threatening to quit Labour over the false claims that the party had become a hotbed of anti-Semitism:

In fact it seems this isn’t the usual time of year for Lipman to quit Labour – that’s October or November, as far as I can tell.

Others have pointed out that Lipman’s stand is a contradiction: by opposing Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, she supported anti-Semite Boris Johnson’s racist Conservative Party back into power…

(If you don’t think Johnson is an anti-Semite, you need to read his novel 72 Virgins – or at least those parts of it that he stuffed with anti-Semitic tropes.)

… and by supporting apartheid Israel, she supported – well, read it for yourself:

Others have been more generalised in their criticisms:

But the message that people have taken from her announcement is all too clear:

Perhaps the most cutting comment is the one on which I’m going to end:

How the mighty have fallen. Lipman has brought a once-glittering career down to end in ashes.

Postscript: There is some good news:

Source: Coronation Street’s Maureen Lipman ‘quits’ union’ over pro-Palestine march urge | Metro News

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‘Dogmeat wrapped in the Union Flag’: new poem highlights Boris Johnson’s incompetence and lies [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Boris Johnson: ‘Dogmeat wrapped in the Union Flag’.

I wonder what Boris Johnson thinks of David Hare’s poem immortalising some of the prime minister’s worst mistakes, lies and corruption for all time?

He probably hasn’t heard it and will want to ignore it.

But you don’t have to!

Here’s Agony Uncle:

Mr Hare is a multi-award-winning playwright and director. He doesn’t seem to be known as a poet, though.

This Writer feels sure he has blown any chance of becoming Poet Laureate, in any case!

But he has done the public a great service. This is how history should remember Boris Johnson.

Tory Brexit has decimated the UK’s financial industry – and YOU will suffer the consequences

This is UK money: enjoy the sight of it because it is currently being turned into Euros and we are never likely to see as much of it again – and you have Boris Johnson and his Conservatives to blame.

Wow. Boris Johnson’s insistence on his silly Brexit deal has meant the one industry in which the UK remained a world leader – finance, is falling.

More than 440 financial firms have shifted thousands of jobs and £1 trillion of assets out of the UK and into the EU because of Brexit.

That’s about 10 per cent of the total assets held by the UK banking system – meaning that our banks have been decimated, according to the classical definition of the term (decimation, in army terms, was the killing of one in every ten of a group of people as a punishment for the whole group).

And worse is to follow, according to research from the New Financial think tank.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal didn’t cover financial services, you see. He relied on “blue sky” daydreaming that a separate deal could be reached with the EU. This dream has turned into a nightmare with the EU refusing to give ground.

7,400 jobs have moved from the UK to the EU – and are not likely to be replaced.

And the UK is set to lose much of its £26 billion annual financial trade surplus, meaning the nation’s balance of payments (the difference between profits from exports and payments for imports) is likely to slip much deeper into the red.

It’s further evidence of a bizarre Tory policy – to give all of the UK’s business assets to foreign firms and governments.

The privatisation of UK industry – begun under the Thatcher governments and continuing to this day – has taken ownership of firms away from the general public and placed it mostly in the hands of foreign organisations.

Firms run by the governments of EU countries now run most of our railways, water services, and (I seem to recall) power supplies. Now our banking services are set to atrophy.

And of course, it will be ordinary working-class UK citizens like you and This Writer who will suffer.

Businesspeople always pass the consequences of their failures down. That’s why Tories have been able to persuade so many voters that pay rises for the workers are a bad idea – the bosses would not forgo their profits to support them but would hike their prices instead.

With less cash coming into the UK via the banks, the ultra-rich parasites will be looking for new ways to suck money out of us.

The result will be the impoverishment of the UK. We will be a once-great nation destroyed by political midgets with over-inflated opinions of themselves.

Source: Banks and insurers move £1 trillion of assets out of UK due to Brexit | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook