Tag Archives: union

Trade unions launch legal battle for the right to strike

This is crucial for the well-being of working, and working-class, people across the United Kingdom:

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Can King Charles hold the Union together or does he not have his mother’s charisma?

The bank holiday weekend may be over, but this article is being produced in the period before everybody goes back to work – so I’m still putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

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Mind-reading Tory columnist reckoned he knew what the Queen was thinking

Wow. Tory columnist Tony Parsons reckoned Queen Elizabeth II went to Balmoral to die – but also to save the union between the countries of the United Kingdom.

Alternatively: did she just go there because it’s an escape from the rigours of day-to-day life, and she ended up passing away there because it’s where she happened to be?

Here’s a video clip:

(Incidentally, I love the sideswipe in which Robespierre namechecks someone for sitting through the Piers Morgan show in order to get the clip.)

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Eddie Dempsey explains why UK living standards are so low – and rinses Truss’s cabinet

Eddie Dempsey.

The assistant general secretary of the RMT union dropped a salvo of truth bombs in his speech at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow last week.

Profits are high because wages are low – and wages are low because the market says so.

And who is “the market”? According to Mr Dempsey, it is people titled “CEO”.

He made the point that, without working people, the bosses taking all the money would have no wealth – but without them, the UK could be a country fit to live in.

And he pointed out that, with shareholders taking hundreds of billions of pounds worth of profit out of the UK, it is not credible to say there is not enough money available to give working people a living wage.

The only reason wages don’t rise is because profits would then come down, and the greedy CEOs who run “the market” would rather feather their nests than safeguard the people who make their money for them.

It’s a hell of a speech:

Mr Dempsey went on to absolutely humiliate Liz Truss and her new market-ruled cabinet in this interview, when he admitted: “I’ve no idea who any of them are”:

Based on this evidence, it is easy to see why unions like the RMT are enjoying a huge surge in popularity.

While Labour stagnates under Keir Starmer, people like Mr Dempsey are standing up for the hard-working people of the UK – and helping us to stand up for ourselves.

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Starmer’s policy on unions in disarray as Labour reps join picket lines [tweets]

Turncoat: Lisa Nandy was actually doing the right thing by joining a CWU picket line – but it was a staggering act of hypocrisy and betrayal of Keir Starmer. Why did she do it?

No wonder Keir Starmer is losing public trust to loony Liz Truss!

He sacked Sam Tarry as Shadow Transport Minister for giving interviews from a picket line last Wednesday (July 27).

Starmer said Labour could not be the “party of protest” – ignoring the possibility that a party that does not protest against government failures is the “party of collusion” with them.

It has also been suggested that Starmer has a personal animosity towards Mr Tarry – possibly over political differences.

But yesterday (August 1), key Starmer crony Lisa Nandy turned up at a CWU picket line and gave interviews there:

This creates a problem for Starmer:

Some might say that Starmer is only going to sack Labour MPs who defy his orders… but then there’s this:

Nandy’s decision certainly seems to have thrown Labour into chaos. Here’s Ben Bradshaw being taken down hard:

Meanwhile, it seems other Labour bigwigs are also defying Starmer – although it could be said that his decree about frontbenchers doesn’t extend to them…

In the face of what seems to be open rebellion from his party, is it any wonder that public support for Starmer is crumbling?

And it seems he can’t do anything about the ringleader of this little rebellion – because he’s too scared. And that won’t help him at all:

But what of Nandy herself?

Well, it seems she’s either a hypocrite or a brazen opportunist, because – well, here she was a couple of weeks ago:

The only conclusion This Writer can draw is that Labour’s current leaders have no interest in winning elections; their job is to drag that party through the dirt.

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Mark Drakeford attacks UK Government plan to repeal Welsh trade union law

Mark Drakeford: This Site really needs to get another image of him.

So much for devolution, eh?

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has launched a scathing attack on UK Government plans to scrap a law made in Wales on how trade unions operate in Welsh public services.

The law, brought in five years ago, banned employers from bringing in agency staff to replace striking public sector workers.

So the idea is to stop public sector workers striking in order to have enough pay to, you know, survive by making it possible for low-paid agency workers to be brought in instead. Is that right?

The UK Government’s plan would see it repeal the Trade Union Act (Wales) 2017, which applies to devolved Welsh public bodies and to trade unions in public services delivered by devolved Welsh public bodies including the Welsh NHS, local authorities, schools, fire services and Welsh Government sponsored bodies in Wales.

It says it wants trade union legislation to “apply equally across Great Britain”.

But isn’t it the point of devolution that the different countries can do things in different ways?

Mark Drakeford told the BBC Today programme that it is “absolutely disgraceful that the Westminster Government announced its intention to do this without a single word to the Welsh Government or Welsh Parliament which passed this legislation”.

“We discovered it tucked away in an explanatory memorandum, it just speaks volumes of the disrespectful agenda this Government has towards devolution.

“It’s nonsense, isn’t it, the idea you’ll find an agency worker capable of driving a train, an agency worker capable of operating a signal box. These are hugely safety critical roles we’re talking about. This is just a piece of nonsense dreamt up by a Tory Government.”

Source: Mark Drakeford launches furious attack on UK Government plans to repeal a law made in Wales

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Is the government being honest with you about rail strikes?

Rail service: this is a generic image of a train and isn’t meant to represent any of the services that won’t be running.

This is from a BBC report about forthcoming rail strikes by the RMT union:

It is not for the government to intervene to stop rail strikes, the transport secretary has said – despite unions calling for talks.

Grant Shapps said the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) request for a meeting was a “stunt” and claimed it had been “determined to go on strike”.

The union said politicians were failing to prevent three days of industrial action.

Labour claimed ministers wanted the strikes to go ahead to “sow division”.

Strikes will take place on almost all major lines across Britain on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, as well as on the London Underground on Tuesday.

Is it a stunt by the union, though? Or is it one by the government?

Let’s look at what the Conservatives’ Facebook page has to say:

Keir Starmer’s own MPs back the week of rail chaos – with no concerns for the commutes 𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙙, operations 𝙙𝙚𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙙 and businesses 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙.

Also:

Labour’s Strikes will prevent doctors, nurses and patients getting to hospital. Instead of backing the NHS, Labour are backing strike chaos.

There’s nothing about the reason for the strikes, you’ll notice.

So let’s find out from somebody who actually uses the train services likely to be affected. This is by Paula Peters, a long-time disability-campaigner friend:

A lady passenger was trying to book a taxi to get to work for next Tuesday first day of rail strike. Taxi told her sorry you’ve got to book on the day.

She was calling the rail workers all sorts so I put her straight on a few things.

I said, you use the rail network a lot right? See you got kids there.

Said the RMT are striking to not only fight for their terms & conditions, asking for increase in pay as they haven’t had one a long time and prices are rising, but they are fighting rail maintenance cuts, cuts to maintenance workers hours, stop the closure of ticket offices, fight against the reduction of services.

What do you mean rail maintenance? She said. I said you see engineering work sometimes don’t you? Replacing track, repairing it. She said yes. I said well the government want to cut rail maintenance jobs and it puts your safety at risk, because if track isn’t maintained there would be a serious rail accident which could lead to serious injury and loss of life.

She thought for a moment. She looked at her kids. Imagine if you your kids your husband were caught up in a rail accident and one of your family were seriously hurt.

That’s what the RMT are fighting back against. To protect your safety and everyone who travels on the rail network.

By this time 30 passengers on the carriage I was in were listening intently.

I said, look, next week may inconvenience you, but think about rail maintenance cuts, cuts to services, lack of ticket offices. Lack of platform staff. That these guys have families to feed and they are struggling too.

There was silence. Then a conductor whose name is Chris walks through the train.

I said excuse me are you RMT. He said he was. I said you on strike Tuesday? He said he was.

I stood up shook his hand. Then shouted out, SOLIDARITY to the RMT!

The carriage erupted into cheers.

You see?

When you actually know a little about matter like this, it can change your perspective completely. Are any of you opposing the rail strikes now?

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EU to launch court action against Liz Truss’s smuggler’s charter for Northern Ireland

I can’t say I blame the European Union chiefs.

As mentioned on This Site before, Liz Truss’s plan to ease the burden on businesses caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal effectively creates a “smuggler’s charter”.

It creates the concept of “green lanes” and “red lanes” for trade, with goods coming from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) into Northern Ireland and which are staying there using the green lane – meaning no checks and minimal paperwork, while goods moving from Great Britain through NI into Ireland or the wider European Union would use the red lane –  continuing to be checked at ports in Northern Ireland.

How would anybody know the “green lane” goods were stopping in Northern Ireland – or even whether the goods in the lorries were really as described in the paperwork?

I previously suggested that, alongside plans to ease checks on goods coming into the UK from the EU, this could create a people-smuggling pipeline all the way through to Ireland, wrecking any strategy to prevent it put up by Priti ‘Send ‘Em To Rwanda’ Patel.

The UK also wants the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have no future role in deciding disputes involving the protocol, with an independent arbiter sitting in judgement instead.

Independent, as defined by whom? I can see legal disputes over who should judge rattling on until Doomsday.

In response, the EU has indicated it will restart legal action it began in March last year, when it accused the UK of delaying, without consultation, the enforcement of parts of the protocol relating to customs checks – and may go further by taking the UK to the ECJ over claims it did too little to set up border control posts and share data with the EU.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the very law intended to remove the UK from ECJ judgments led to it facing just such a fate?

The problem facing the UK’s Tory government – particularly those dunces Liz Truss and Boris Johnson – is that unionists in Northern Ireland are likely to tear up the Good Friday Agreement if they can’t get free trade between the Province and Great Britain.

That could lead to a resurgence of the infamous “Troubles”.

Sadly, the Labour opposition has no better ideas. Keir Starmer has said negotiation with the EU is the best way forward – but advocated using “guile”, which implies that he wants to deceive the EU into giving UK vested interests what they want.

Level heads can see that no workable solution is being suggested by anybody. They all seem determined to upset each other rather than find a way forward.

How sad to see our supposed national and international leaders squabbling like children.

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The elephant in the room: why are the Tories trying to sideline Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland: most people here aren’t bothered about the protocol that puts a trade border between the Province and the rest of the UK. Are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s block to the restoration of the Stormont assembly because it aligns with their own differences with the European Union?

Isn’t it strange that the Queen’s Speech made no mention of the Northern Ireland Protocol that is currently the greatest threat to peace in the United Kingdom?

Prince Charles, standing in for Her Majesty, announced no fewer than 38 planned new laws – and not one of them explained how Boris Johnson’s government plans to tackle the constitutional crisis that has flared up in the Province.

I think it’s because Johnson doesn’t know what to do. He has painted himself into this corner with his silly rushed Brexit and now he can’t get out of it.

For those who don’t know: the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement keeps open the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by creating a hard trade border between the Province and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Last week’s local elections returned a majority of members to the Stormont assembly who approve of that agreement – but Stormont is run on a power-sharing basis, and the second-largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, is refusing to nominate any of its members to the new administration until a deal is struck that dismantles the border with the rest of the UK.

Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein, who is set to be the new First Minister, has said it is the responsibility of Boris Johnson and his government to resolve the problems over the protocol – by negotiation with the European Union. This has created something of a domino effect.

The EU itself has acknowledged that the Protocol has created difficulties – and offered proposals last October to ease the burden of checks and paperwork.

The EU said it would mean inspections of food products would be reduced far below what is usually required at single-market borders, but the plan came with caveats and the UK said the EU needed to do more.

Now, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has said the UK may decide to scrap the protocol altogether – and a source close to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was considering legislation to scrap parts of the Brexit treaty unilaterally – without seeking agreement from the EU.

In turn, the EU’s chief negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, has said that the EU had already “shown a lot of flexibility by proposing impactful, durable solutions and we stand ready to continue discussions. We need the UK government to dial down the rhetoric, be honest about the deal they signed and agree to find solutions within its framework”.

This has been interpreted as a threat of a possible trade war if Truss goes ahead and trashes the protocol.

It’s a big mess – of Boris Johnson’s making. But some have suggested that the only people with whom the UK government should be negotiating are the DUP.

The majority of people in Northern Ireland support the protocol as it stands – or at least, they have voted a majority of representatives into Stormont who support it – and some say this means the DUP should accept it as it is, and not use it to disrupt the power-sharing agreement that helps to maintain the fragile peace the Province has enjoyed since 1998.

It seems only six per cent of the NI electorate see the protocol as a major issue, which suggests that the problem lies only with the DUP.

This Site has previously mentioned rumours that the DUP is only using the protocol as a means of ensuring that the unionist party will not take a position subordinate to nationalists – even though the titles of First Minister and Deputy First Minister are practically meaningless; power is shared between the two major parties.

The possible consequences for Northern Ireland could be catastrophic. But surely, nobody wants a return to the situation before the Good Friday Agreement, do they?

So perhaps NI Secretary Brandon Lewis simply needs to take a robust stance and present it to the DUP. Or are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s rebellion because it suits them to?

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US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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