Tag Archives: workers

Liz Truss sets her sights on workers’ rights. Are you going to let her? [VIDEO]

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese who warned that Brexit will seriously harm the UK is now using it to seriously harm the people of the UK.

What liars these Tories are!

They’ve had plans to strip you of your rights – both at work and as human beings – since at least as early as 2014.

Boris Johnson promised that leaving the European Union would not be used as a means to achieve that end – but it seems Liz Truss is switching straight back to the original plan.

She’s using the EU as a scapegoat for the UK’s current economic woes – Tory “divide and rule” tactics once again – and claiming that increasing the number of hours you may legally be asked to work every week, while decreasing the number of days’ holiday you must be offered per year, will help us afford the increased cost of living.

Of course, it won’t.

You’ll get no extra money for your extra time, because Truss’s Tory donors will take any extra profits for themselves.

Oh, and Truss wants to target the trade unions, to ensure that you can’t fight this racket.

Peter Stefanovic, of the CWU, says you need to act against this now – and he’s right. Watch his video:

What are you going to do?

Will you let Truss work you into the ground to make cash for her super-rich buddies?

Or will you stand up for what should be yours by right? It’s up to you.

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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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‘Summer of Discontent’: bus drivers join TfL and rail workers in strike on August 19 and 20

Some of us are old enough to remember the ‘Winter of Discontent’ of 1978-9 that led to the toppling of a Labour government and the installation of Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street.

So I’m delighted that the tables are turned and the Tories are getting the same treatment.

Here’s the gist:

London bus drivers have joined the UK’s “summer of discontent” and announced a strike for 19 and 20 August following a dispute over salaries.

The union Unite said more than 1,600 of its members working for bus operator London United will join the walkout after the company’s parent, RATP Dev Transit, offered a 7.8 pay increase over this year and next.

The walkout is expected to create maximum disruption, as it will coincide with both the TfL and national railway strike.

It’s another step in the right direction but will the UK’s Tory government pay attention to anything less than a national strike?

And, the way matters are progressing, how long will it be before that happens?

Source: Bus drivers join ‘summer of discontent’ and announce strike for 19 and 20 August

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The Tory Bill for workers’ rights – just another Boris Johnson lie?

The Tory two-fingered salute: this time it’s for working people across the UK who thought the lying Boris Johnson was ever going to offer them a fair deal.

Simple answer: it’s what they do.

Unions and industry groups were incensed earlier this week when they discovered that the Tory government has not included an Employment Bill to protect workers’ rights in plans for the new Parliamentary session.

Why were they so upset?

Because the Tories had promised it, that’s why!

Boris Johnson had responded to concerns that workers’ rights could be watered down after the UK left the EU, and worries about treatment of employees in the gig economy with a pledge to enshrine rights in law. That was in 2019.

Since then, nothing.

According to the BBC,

When first announced, the bill had promised:

  • the creation of a single enforcement body, offering greater protections for workers
  • making sure that tips left for workers go to them in full
  • all workers would have the right to ask for a more predictable contract
  • redundancy protections would be extended to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • parents allowed to take extended leave for neonatal care
  • entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers
  • subject to consultation, the bill also proposed making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the lack of the Employment Bill in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech meant “vital rights that ministers had promised – like default flexible working, fair tips and protection from pregnancy discrimination – risk being ditched for good”.

She claimed ministers had “sent a signal that they are happy for rogue employers to ride roughshod over workers’ rights,” adding it would see “bad bosses celebrating”.

She’s not wrong!

But then, working people and their representatives were wrong ever to believe that Boris Johnson and his gang of asset-strippers and exploiters would ever legislate to ensure proper treatment for them.

In short, it seems clear that the promise of an Employment Bill was another Boris Johnson lie. We should have treated it as such from the start.

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This cynical move shows Keir Starmer is turning Labour into a members-only club

For the many? It seems “the many” are being pushed out of the Labour Party – unless they are friends of Keir Starmer.

Pretty soon, the only people allowed to be members of the Labour Party will be those in Keir Starmer’s inner circle.

That’s why the party leadership is tailoring its conditions for proscribing members – automatically excluding them in retrospect for activities with outside or formerly-affiliated organisations – to ensure the current leader’s friends don’t suffer the effects meant for others.

The latest groups to be proscribed are Labour Left Alliance (LLA), Socialist Labour Network and the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) – but there is a singular exception:

Regarding AWL, members are excluded for participating in events including the annual conference except for debating with members of the organisation.

This is because Luke Akehurst, secretary of the far-right Labour First, has taken part in such an event and Starmer doesn’t want to lose him.

Luke’s a member of the club, you see. He gets a free pass. You don’t.

Steve Walker of the Skwawkbox blog is right: “The shameless hypocrisy of the Labour right knows no bounds. Just as Starmer’s ‘zero tolerance of antisemitism’ turned out to mean ‘a lot of tolerance for antisemitism as long as it’s a right-winger’, it was always clear that expulsion rules were only being applied to left-wingers.

“But now those rules are being specifically written to ensure that favoured henchmen are explicitly exempt – and only those favoured henchmen.”

And Labour MP Clive Lewis admitted that the move shows his own party sliding into authoritarianism and a “crisis of democracy”:

Simply put, the Labour Party is turning into a members-only club for friends of Keir Starmer.

They get all the perks.

If you’re a socialist and you’re still a member of that party, then get used to dreaming about democracy – because you’re never going to have it again.

 

Source: Labour tailors new expulsion rules to protect right-winger Akehurst – SKWAWKBOX

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CWU joins Unite in withdrawing donations to Westminster Labour Party

Labour’s worst leader: Starmer keeps screwing up so This Site will keep using this image.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has withdrawn its support from Keir Starmer.

A special conference of the union voted to provide only its affiliation fee to the national Labour Party from now on:

The union’s general secretary, Dave Ward, said the union would focus on individual Labour members who support its own aims: “In focusing our political resources on those in Labour who are really up for delivering for our members we are looking beyond the factional war being waged by an out-of-touch Westminster politics.

“This is a positive step for our union and a real offer to those in Labour who want to change things on the ground.”

It’s another defeat for Keir Starmer, who must now take the financial hit implied by the loss of the union’s funding. Coming on top of the #LabourDataBreach this puts his further-right-wing-than-the-Tories party in financial danger.

Too bad:

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Founding union splits from Labour in disgust at Starmer – hours before his big speech

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

One of the trade unions that founded the Labour Party has disaffiliated from it – in disgust at Keir Starmer’s insistence on waging a “factional internal war” instead of opposing Boris Johnson’s far-right government.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) had said it would hold a vote on disaffiliation after Labour threatened to expel its national president, Ian Hodson, over connections with one of the organisations that Starmer’s Labour recently proscribed for no very good reason.

Hodson had dealings with Labour Against the Witchhunt – a support organisation for party members falsely accused of anti-Semitism by Keir Starmer’s auto-guilting disciplinary machine – until 2017.

It was proscribed by Starmer’s perversion of the party earlier this year, making any action against Hodson retrospective – and therefore unreasonable.

The union had planned a disaffiliation vote to coincide with Starmer’s speech at the Labour conference in Brighton this week – but the announcement was made the day before, heaping humiliation on the party’s non-leader.

He is the only Labour leader ever to drive away one of the organisations that helped found the party.

In a statement, the union made its reasoning clear [boldings mine]:

“We need footballers to campaign to ensure our schoolchildren get a hot meal. Workers in our sector, who keep the nation fed, are relying on charity and good will from family and friends to put food on their tables. They rely on help to feed their families, with 7.5% relying on food banks, according to our recent survey.

“But instead of concentrating on these issues we have a factional internal war led by the leadership. We have a real crisis in the country and instead of leadership, the party’s leader  chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership by proposing changes to the way elections for his successor will take place.

“We don’t see that as a political party with any expectations of winning an election. It’s just the leader trying to secure the right wing faction’s chosen successor.

“The decision taken by our delegates doesn’t mean we are leaving the political scene; it means we will become more political and we will ensure our members’ political voice is heard as we did when we started the campaign for £10 per hour in 2014.

“Today we want to see £15 per hour for all workers, the abolition of zero hours contracts and ending discrimination of young people by dispensing with youth rates.

The BFAWU will not be bullied by bosses or politicians. When you pick on one of us you take on all of us. That’s what solidarity means.”

In the light of this announcement, Keir Starmer should be dreading the moment when he takes the stage for his speech.

He was probably hoping for applause – but now he’ll be lucky to avoid catcalls. Personally, This Writer would pelt him with rotten vegetables.

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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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Queen’s Speech confirms it: Boris Johnson is renewing his attack on your freedom – because it’s what Britain wanted

Manifesto commitment: the Conservatives made their plan to end democracy clear in their 2019 election manifesto. Every Conservative voter demanded an end to democracy and a slide into dictatorship.

Boris Johnson is getting back to business after the Covid crisis – and his business is stripping you of the liberties and freedoms your ancestors fought hard to win over the last several hundred years.

Be in no doubt: you will have lost most of your rights by the end of this Parliamentary term, and you can thank your Tory-voting neighbour for making it happen.

Included in the Queen’s Speech were announcements that all three main planks of the attack on democracy – listed on Page 48 of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, so everybody who voted Tory absolutely supported them – are still going forward. They are:

  • Removing your right to protest so they can use the police and armed forces to put down any dissent.

  • Imposing dictatorship by ensuring that the courts cannot stop the Tories from breaking the law.

  • Imposing indefinite Conservative government.

The only one of these that has been given prominence by the mainstream media is the last – the planned repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This has been reported as meaning that Johnson would be able to call elections before his Parliament has served its full five-year term.

But it could also mean that he will allow himself to delay elections indefinitely.

The FTP Act repealed the previous electoral law that allowed prime ministers to call elections at any time during their five-year term, but demanded that they must call an election to be held after five years, no matter what.

So repealing the FTP Act means that unscrupulous prime ministers like Johnson would be able to call elections whenever they liked – or simply neglect to call them at all and remain in power indefinitely.

This is what will happen unless he specifically writes new limitations on Parliamentary terms into his new law. And why would a corrupt liar like Johnson do that when he has a majority of 80 seats in the Commons and can currently do whatever he likes without fear of punishment?

Worse still, the new legislative programme includes more attacks on democracy, the most important being the planned limitation of the right to vote to those who can afford to show the proper photographic identification.

This, Johnson claims, is to stop electoral fraud. You may assume that this is a rampant problem across the UK, but in fact it is practically nonexistent. His plan will strip the vote from around two million people:

Here’s a graph showing the scale of voter fraud as a percentage of all votes cast:

You see the picture?

Further information is available below:

The plan will strip votes from people who are poor and young – in other words, people who will not vote for the Conservatives at the next election. It is corrupt Tory gerrymandering to prevent the voice of the people from being heard at elections.

Typically of the current Tory government, its MPs tried to justify the planned law by lying to us about it. Gillian Keegan, whoever she is, claimed you need photo ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office – and was put straight in no uncertain terms by fact-checking site Full Fact:

Many of us think valuable Parliamentary time would be better spent preventing the kind of corruption that allowed Tory cronies to gain multi-million pound contracts to provide vital supplies in the fight against Covid-19, that they were totally unable to fulfil. What happened to all that money?

Finally, shall we consider the misplaced priorities of these entitled Tories who have spent more than a decade manslaughtering benefit claimants without feeling any need to reform the system?

Come to that, why isn’t the government introducing plans to end tax evasion? I mention this because the deaths of disabled benefit claimants are linked to the Tory clampdown on claims – the so-called “magic cures” that claimed hundreds of thousands of people were not disabled at all, despite volumes of medical evidence showing they were. These people were unceremoniously stripped of their benefits and many of them subsequently died. The figure of 120,000, quoted above, is a very low estimate.

The Tories spend huge amounts of money every year on their campaign to strip disabled people of their ability to survive. It is a campaign of persecution that has been more successful in eliminating the disabled than the infamous Nazi “Aktion T4” in 1930s and 1940s Germany. In comparison, they spend hardly anything on tracking the rich Tories – let’s not deny it – who have evaded their tax responsibilities in order to squirrel away trillions of pounds in tax havens abroad.

Absent from the new legislative programme are any plans to support the rights of workers with promised reforms to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy, and an end to the practice of “fire and rehire” – terminating workers’ contracts and then demanding they take new contracts with lower pay and fewer privileges:

“Fire and rehire” is a key element of Howard Beckett’s campaign to lead the UK’s largest union, Unite. He was in London to campaign about it while the Queen was delivering her speech:

He has also made the very obvious point that the currrent Labour leadership has no interest in looking after the interests of British workers – because Keir Starmer actually refused to oppose “fire and rehire”.

The oppression goes on and on:

Long-awaited plans for reform of social care – promised by the Tories years ago – went undiscussed. There is no plan for such reforms in the current Parliamentary term.

Admittedly, Andy Burnham is right to say all parties are responsible for allowing social care to fall into the disrepair we have today; New Labour failed to do anything about it too.

And Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed the government is committed to social care reforms this year – 2021:

He spent the whole of 2020 lying about the severity of Covid-19 and justifying his decisions to award government contracts worth billions of pounds to Tory cronies who couldn’t fulfil them. What are his words worth?

Oh, and before anyone suggests that plans to address the climate crisis show at least some hope for the Tories, they don’t:

For a more detailed attack on the new legislative programme, take a look at Unite’s response (under current leader Len McCluskey). I’m sure other critiques are also available.

Last word can go to Smokey, below, who makes an excellent point despite their inability to spell the word “speech”:

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Care workers awarded £100,000 in back pay – but why is their NEW employer paying it?

How pleasant to see home carers being awarded the pay they are due!

In a court victory, home care workers contracted by Haringey Council in North London were awarded £100,000 in back pay.

That’s between them, not individually – amounting to around £10,000 for each of the 10 claimants.

It seems the council had given the work contract to a private provider called Sevacare that cheated them out of money they should have been paid for travel time between patient visits.

As a result, some of them ended up being paid less than £4 per hour – less than the minimum wage, and much less than even the “National Living Wage” that the Tories introduced, which still doesn’t cover living expenses.

Care service companies, Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited and Premier Carewaiting Limited say they inherited the case when they took over the work contract.

The firms who took over the contracts were ordered to pay the claimants.

Wait – what?

Why were the new providers ordered to pay? Why couldn’t the offending firm do it?

Has it gone out of business? Government contractors seem to do that, don’t they? Does anybody remember Carillion?

Mrs Mike was completely unimpressed by this story.

She reckons the problem is the sub-contracting of care work by councils to private providers, who always say they can do the work for a very low price.

Then the bosses and shareholders take their cut (Mrs Mike said), and the people who do the actual work end up with whatever’s left – the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

It’s a consequence of privatisation, she said. It was better when councils employed care workers directly.

Given this result, I’d say she makes a good point. Wouldn’t you?

Source: Unison: Care workers who made £4 an hour awarded in £100,000 court case – BBC News

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