Tag Archives: worker

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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Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Kwarteng gives up plan to cut workers’ rights post-Brexit

Kwasi Kwarteng: “We’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.”

It seems Kwasi Kwarteng has been shamed into giving up on a review of UK workers’ rights post-Brexit that could have significantly reduced the living standards of millions of people.

Only last week, the Business Secretary confirmed that he was consulting businesses in plans that could include an end to the 48-hour maximum working week, changes to rules about breaks at work, and the removal of in-work benefits.

But he told Robert Peston yesterday (January 27):

“The review is no longer happening within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). I made it very very clear to officials in the department that we’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.

“I can’t have been more clear about this on a number of occasions. I’ve said repeatedly that Brexit gives us the opportunity to have higher standards and a higher growth economy and that’s what officials in the department are 100% focused on.”

Was he shamed into this u-turn?

This Site and many others recently reminded Kwarteng that he is a co-author of the notorious collection of hard-right-wing Tory essays, Britannia Unchained.

The book dared to claim that British workers – the power behind the Industrial Revolution and a huge amount of progress that has changed the world – are lazy.

But Kwarteng and his fellow authors, including current Home Secretary Priti Patel, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and Queen of Cheese Liz Truss, were found to be among the laziest MPs in Parliament at the time, with some of the worst attendance records.

This change of plan comes after the union Unite struck a deal with British Airways to end the despicable practice of “fire and re-hire” – forcing workers out of their jobs in order to make them re-apply for the same work at lower pay and with worse working conditions.

It is another great victory for working people at a time when Tories might expect to be able to get away with anything.

Source: Review of UK workers’ rights post-Brexit is axed in sudden U-turn | Kwasi Kwarteng | The Guardian

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If Boris Johnson is taking full responsibility for everything the government has done, does that include 2,000 construction worker deaths?

Head down: but it would be too much to hope that Boris Johnson was showing shame for the deaths he has inadvertently admitted causing.

Remember way back last spring when Boris Johnson put us all on lockdown – except workers on construction sites?

I do.

It has taken a while, but now we know the result of that.

Between that moment and the start of the current lockdown, 2,000 of them died.

Here are the facts:

I am pleased to hear that Boris Johnson, reporting the bitter fact that the official death toll has now passed 100,000, said he takes “full responsibility for everything that the government has done“.

Clearly this must include the 2,000 construction worker deaths. Come to think of it, the total must also include the 30,000 care home deaths because the government sent residents with Covid-19 back home to infect their friends and neighbours.

I look forward to his forthcoming trial and conviction for manslaughter.

(Sadly, I fear I may spend a long time waiting for it.)

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Kwarteng to launch post-Brexit ‘review’ of workers’ rights. Shall we make some predictions?

Kwasi Kwarteng: a few years ago he said, “Fracking is over.” Will he soon be saying, “workers’ rights are over” too?

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has admitted he is reviewing protections to UK workers’ rights.

Kwarteng has denied plans to strip us of our entitlement to paid holidays and other protections – but he is infamous for having condemned UK workers are “among the worst idlers in the world”, that the UK “rewards laziness” and “too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work”.

When he stated this in the book Britannia Unchained, he was slated as a hypocrite because his own record for attending Parliament was among the worst of all MPs. One can only hope being promoted to a ministerial position has instilled a sense of diligence in him. But I doubt it.

The business secretary has confirmed his department is reviewing how EU employment rights protections could be changed after Brexit, while insisting they will not be watered down.

The Guardian understands a consultation on employment rights was signed off by Kwasi Kwarteng’s predecessor Alok Sharma… Insiders say the consultation is ready to launch and has been circulated among some select business leaders.

If business leaders are being asked to provide input before the consultation even starts, then the aim seems clear: to coerce working people into making more money for their employers and taking home less for themselves.

I’ve been writing about this since before the EU referendum, and I fancy having a stab at predicting how we’ll be attacked.

The rights most at risk would be:
• Working time rules, including limits on working hours and rules on the amount of holiday pay a worker is entitled to;
• Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE), i.e. the EU-derived protections to the terms and conditions of workers at an organisation or service that is transferred or outsourced to a new employer;
• Protections for agency workers and other ‘atypical’ workers, such as part-time workers;
• Current levels of compensation for discrimination of all kinds, including equal pay awards and age discrimination; and
• Rights for workers’ representatives to be consulted if major changes are planned that will change people’s jobs or result in redundancies (as have been used in recent major announcements in the steel industry).

Feel free to add your own predictions to the comment column.

Source: Business secretary confirms post-Brexit review of UK workers’ rights | Brexit | The Guardian

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Johnson says he’s not planning to scrap workers’ rights. Do you believe him?

Boris Johnson has insisted he is not planning a post-Brexit bonfire of UK workers’ rights, after the Financial Times reported on a meeting between him and business chiefs.

The report states that worker protections the Tories repeatedly promised to protect after the UK left the EU will be “ripped up”.

The paper claims the Tories are planning laws to slash holiday pay entitlements, bin rest breaks, and allow bosses to force you to work longer hours, among others.

Analysis by Evolve Politics states that

The secretive plans are also predicted to benefit wealthy bosses to the tune of billions whilst severely impacting the take-home pay of many ordinary workers.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband, on Twitter, got straight to the point:

What a relief to see that someone on Labour’s front bench seems to remember what his job is supposed to be. But what a shame that it comes after Miliband voted in favour of the Brexit deal that makes the alleged Tory plans possible.

Labour owns Brexit as much as the Tories do – with the exception of those who defied Keir Starmer’s whip and voted against it.

Johnson has denied everything – as might be expected.

According to the BBC,

A government spokesperson said: “We have absolutely no intention of lowering the standards of workers’ rights.

“The UK has one of the best workers’ rights records in the world, and it is well known that the UK goes further than the EU in many areas.

“Leaving the EU allows us to continue to be a standard setter and protect and enhance UK workers’ rights.”

But the report adds:

When the UK left the EU it retained many of its laws, but it is now able to change them.

In the 2019 Queen’s Speech outlining the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session, changes in employment law were promised.

A new Employment Bill is expected to be published in 2021.

It goes on to say that the Bill is expected to cover issues including the distribution of tips.

Considering the Johnson government’s track record, the best advice This Writer can give is that of Peter Stefanovic in the tweet below:

Source: Brexit: No plans to dilute workers’ rights, minister says – BBC News

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Sunak says home workers should spend cash they’ve saved when the pandemic ends. Including him?

Rishi Sunak’s last big idea was ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ – which pushed up Covid-19 infections dramatically. Now he wants us to spend all our savings to buoy up the economy after the crisis ends – but you’ll notice he hasn’t announced that he’ll do the same.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that people who work at home, and who have saved significant amounts of money during the Covid-19 pandemic, should spend it all when the emergency is over.

Does that include him?

He works from home – he lives at 11 Downing Street. And we all recently learned that he has enormous amounts of cash saved up, via his wife’s £430 million stake in her family firm.

So we should welcome his demand – right?

Well… maybe not.

He hasn’t said that he will be leading by example, after all.

He has merely demanded that people like This Writer – I work from home (although I can’t say I have built up large amounts of savings) – splurge everything that we have. He hasn’t mentioned anything about doing the same himself – or that other super-rich Tories should do so.

So this is just a call for people – who are normally poor but have become slightly richer – to throw away everything that they’ve saved.

And people have cottoned on to his con:

Personally, I am looking forward to Sunak’s announcement that he has spent his vast wealth to help regenerate the UK’s economy – and to seeing evidence of this spending.

When he has done this, I hope to see this example leading other super-rich members of the UK’s communities to do the same.

Only when they have put their cash into restoration work should the demand trickle down to those of us who are less rich than Rishi and his Tory chums.

That’s right – trickle down. This is one instance where the “trickle down” effect might actually work in the way Tories and other neoliberals used to pretend; not with money gathered by the super-rich trickling down to benefit poorer people, but with cash spent by them revitalising the economy for everyone.

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#LevellingUp or #ToryCorruption ? Serco-employed test and trace managers take £1.5m per year

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he refers to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people will blame the nationalised health service that has nothing to do with it.

The Serco Test and Trace scandal gets worse and worse; it has just been revealed that some employees receive £7,360 per day to pretend to find people with Covid-19 and trace their contacts.

That’s the equivalent of £1.5 million a year. These are people from companies with strong connections to the Conservative government, that won their contracts via an emergency system which avoids the normal tendering process.

And it has already been established that most contact tracing personnel spend their time playing computer games because they are not being given work to do.

City AM says,

Sky, citing leaked documents, reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has paid BCG around £10m. That was for a team of 40 consultants to work for four months on test and trace.

BCG’s “day rates” for public sector work – which determine the cost of its service – range from £2,400 to £7,360 for its most senior employees.

The report said BCG is giving the government a 10 to 15 per cent discount. Although this would still equate to day rates equivalent to around £1.5m a year.

BCG declined to comment.

Sky also said that 165 more consultants had been hired to work on test and trace. They include 84 from Deloitte, 31 from EY and 50 from KPMG.

So much for Boris Johnson’s claim that he was “levelling up” the UK. Tory friends are being paid millions in public money while those who desperately need it are being starved.

While ministerial salaries are being frozen, all MPs are getting a pay rise of £3,300 per year – equivalent to around two-thirds of the current annual rate of Universal Credit for an adult aged over 25.

The lowest MP salary will be £85,291 per year. Compare that with nurses on £24,000. Who does the more important job?

What about care workers, who receive an excruciatingly-low £18,553 per year. Who does the more important job?

The Durham-based family of Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings have been excused from paying £30,000 in backdated council tax on houses they built without planning permission 18 years ago – while child poverty in the Durham North constituency has rocketed by nine per cent – to total one-third of all children living there – in the last four years… after housing costs were taken into account,

The social media are seething with discontent:

I think the following three tweets put the current situation in a nutshell, using the current northern lockdown as an example of Tory corruption at its worst. First, let’s set the scene:

Now we can go into details with this excellent speech by Labour MP Dan Carden:

Lastly, let’s remember that there was an alternative – but people were steered away from it by liars in the mainstream media who shilled for the corrupt Tories instead. Now what, do you think, encouraged them to do that?

Source: Government paying test and trace consultants equivalent of £1.5m salary : CityAM

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Do you believe this ‘four-day working week to create half a million jobs’ bunkum?

Commuters: to many of them, the idea of a four-day working week may seem highly attractive – but not on these ‘castle in the air’ terms.

Someone’s trying to lead us up the garden path:

The public sector should switch to a four-day week to create 500,000 jobs and help ease a predicted spike in unemployment following the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.

The Autonomy think tank said “the time has come” for a shorter working week as the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October is expected to cause an unemployment crisis.

Research by the thinktank suggests public sector workers could move to a 32-hour week without any loss in wages at a cost of up to £9bn a year.

This figure, according to Autonomy, represents 6 per cent of the public sector salary bill and costs the same amount as the furlough employment scheme brought in to save jobs during the peak of the pandemic.

Who says any government is going to give public sector workers a cut in their working hours while keeping their wages the same (that’s a massive real-terms raise) – especially a Tory government? They imposed a public sector pay freeze for years!

And the claim that it would cost up to £9 billion a year – the same as Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme – is just more evidence that it wouldn’t work. Sunak is scrapping the furlough scheme on grounds that it is too expensive to continue indefinitely.

Not realistic.

Source: Four-day working week in public sector could create 500,000 jobs, says thinktank report | The Independent | Independent

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Lower than sewage: liar Johnson is still making poorest NHS workers pay ‘immigrant surcharge’

Cleaning up: people who can least afford it are being charged for NHS treatment, despite being the ones who keep hospital beds clean and equipment available.

Could there be a better demonstration of what a detestable liar Boris Johnson is?

He said his government would end a £624 “surcharge” it demanded from immigrant NHS workers for their own healthcare treatment. He lied.

In fact, the charge has continued to be applied – to the poorest workers; those least able to afford it.

The fee is still levied on staff who take a different job within six months – lower-paid cleaners, porters and carers, especially those on the zero-hours contracts the Tories have been keen to force into the workplace.

Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that ministers have had to cheek to suggest that these staff – who are on the lowest pay possible – need an “incentive” to continue working.

Typical Tory thinking – Johnson reckons everybody is as lazy as he is!

In fact, people on low incomes – especially those on zero-hours contracts – already have an incentive to work. It’s called “survival”.

Apart from a tiny minority for whom a zero-hours contract works because it fits into their own lifestyle – people who already have enough money to live on – nobody would take up such a job if it wasn’t the best they could get.

Zero-hours jobs offer no sick pay or holiday pay; and the wages are the lowest employers can get away with offering.

And, of course, they are designed to facilitate termination on short notice.

So we see a situation in which Boris Johnson claimed he was ending an unfair charge on people who have worked tirelessly to save us all from Covid-19…

… when instead he was continuing to inflict it on the people who most deserved to have it lifted.

Remember when Nye Bevan said Tories were lower than vermin?

If he were around today, no doubt he would admit that he overpraised them.

I feel sure he would agree with me that Johnson is lower than sewage.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of ‘cynical broken promise’ as some foreign NHS and care staff still pay surcharge | The Independent

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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