Posts Tagged ‘TUC’

TUC Online Meeting Tomorrow to Defend the Right to Strike

January 17, 2023

I got this email today through Megaphone, the internet activism wing of the TUC. There’s an online meeting tomorrow evening about defending the right to strike from Sunak’s and the Tories’ attempts to strangle it with further legislation.

‘David. You and more than 115,000 people have now signed the petition: Protect the right to strike.

It’s an incredible response to these shocking and undemocratic laws, but we must do more.

Tomorrow night at 6pm, the TUC is hosting an online call to outline the urgent action we must take to stop this bill in it’s tracks.

MPs will be voting on these new laws in the coming weeks, and we know that many are undecided about whether they will support these laws or not. We must reach them as soon as we can. 

Can you join on Wednesday night (tomorrow!) at 6pm to hear what you can do immediately to help stop these laws? Everyone has a part to play.

Join the call: How we protect the right to strike!

Anthony,

Megaphone UK’

I’ve registered, and if this is important to you, perhaps you’d like to go to it too.

Email Appeal by Megaphone to Share Petition against Sunak Strike Legislation on Twitter and Facebook

January 6, 2023

After signing the petition against Rishi Sunak’s proposals to restrict the right to strike even further, I received this email from Megaphone, the internet petitioning branch of the TUC to share it on Twitter and Facebook. I am not on either these Apps, but I’m posting it here so that any of this blogs readers, who are and wish to promote it, may do so.

‘David,

Thank you for signing the campaign: Protect the right to strike!.

The more people are behind an issue – the more likely it is that decision makers will pay attention. Each name that is added to a campaign takes it one step closer to succeeding.

Can you help spread the word about the campaign by sharing it with your friends and family?

SHARE ON FACEBOOK

SHARE ON TWITTER

ou can also share the campaign by sharing the email below.

Thanks for all that you do.’

“Dear Friends,

I just signed the campaign: Protect the right to strike!

It would mean the world to me if you could also add your name to this important issue. Every name that is added builds momentum around the campaign and makes it more likely for us to get the change we want to see.

Will you join me by taking action on this campaign?

https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/protect-the-right-to-strike?share=774417af-c277-4c4e-98da-bf648949b6c6

After you’ve signed the petition please also take a moment to share it with others. It’s super easy – all you need to do is forward this email.

Thank you!”

Email Petition to Defend the Right to Strike Against Rishi Sunak

January 6, 2023

I posted a piece yesterday about Rishi Sunak’s intention to pass further legislation intended to stop workers from striking. I got this email yesterday from Megaphone, which I think is run by the TUC. It’s an internet petition against this. I’ve signed it, and if you feel the same way about this issues as I do, perhaps you would consider signing it too.

‘David —

Our right to strike is under attack.

Rishi Sunak has just detailed his anti-union legislation and plans to introduce new laws in the coming weeks.

It means that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and sacked if they don’t. That’s wrong, unworkable, and almost certainly illegal.

These new laws are a direct attack on working people’s fundamental right to strike to defend their pay, terms and conditions.

This government has gone from clapping key workers to threatening them with the sack if they take lawful action for a pay rise. 

Instead of listening to the concerns of working people and negotiating fair deals, Rishi Sunak has decided to undermine the right to strike.

Every working person is under attack from these new laws.


Add your name and join the campaign
. We must defend the right to strike.

Sign the petition: Defend the right to strike!

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hurt workers everywhere, we need to be able to stand together and choose to strike when we must. These laws will do nothing to fix this crisis – they will make it even harder for working people to get pay rises.

The change we need will not come from a petition, but if tens of thousands sign today it will show how many of us are ready to fight these unjust laws.

Anthony,

Megaphone UK;

Kwasi Kwarteng – Diversity Hire, or Just Another Member of Truss’ Government of Mediocrity?

October 2, 2022

It’s been a few days since I commented on a video by Simon Webb of History Debunked, so here’s one now. A few days ago, he put one up questioning Kwarteng’s qualifications for office as Chancellor of the Exchequer and wondering if he was only chosen because he was Black. Was his appointment simply a case of Truss giving him a job in order to show how diverse her government was? Given how disastrous the minibudget is, Kwarteng does not strike me as a brilliant economist. But then, neither does Truss herself, who strikes me as another absolute mediocrity. The same with Therese Coffey, who I wouldn’t trust to run a corner shop or local whist club. As for Jacob Rees-Mogg, I think he’s cleverer than the rest in that he has clever people working for him and is sufficiently slick with his patrician diction and general demeanour to conceal his absolute incompetence from much of the public. But none of them, absolutely none of them, strike me as intellectual powerhouses. Quite the opposite.

Readers of this blog of a certain age and taste in comedy will remember Glasgae toon’s guerrilla philosopher, Rab C. Nesbitt, and his biting view of Scots politics and the treatment of the poor and the underclass from the bottom of a pint glass. In one episode, Nesbitt crossed paths with the local Tory politician, a political nonentity looking forward to great things because Tory prime minister John Major was in office, and ‘this is the age of the mediocrity’. Ah, how that was the joke at the time! John Major was the grey man, a boring, uninspiring individual following the all-too vivid figure of Margaret Thatcher. Major himself wasn’t economically deft or competent, as his privatisation of the railways and the collapse of the pound during Black Wednesday showed. But compared to Truss and her crew, he was statesman of positively Churchillian proportions.

A week or so ago I went to an online meeting where members of the Labour left, like Richard Burgon and members of the TUC responded to Truss’ minibudget. They pointed out what a right-wing nightmare it was, along with her highly authoritarian attempts to strangle the unions with fresh legislation. Truss was promising nothing to the British working class except more poverty while massively cutting taxes for the rich. But the panel was also encouraged by the fact that people were determined to resist, and mobilising strikes and protests up and down this Sceptred Isle. And as for Truss and the rest of the minions, they saw them as the last of the Thatcherite True Believers. Thatcherism has run its course. It’s now looking threadbare. People are abandoning it. And Truss and co are the last of the market fundamentalists, more right-wing than Thatcher herself. And that’s saying something, given how she was a fan of real Fascists like General Pinochet!

If I read what the Labour people were saying rightly, this means that, as the last of the true-blue Thatcherites, Liz, Kwarteng and co are the scrapings from the bottom of the Tory barrel. In which case, Kwarteng didn’t get his post because he’s a diversity hire. He got his job because he shared the views and the same lack of ability as Truss and the rest of her followers.

And unfortunately, that means we’ve got to suffer his and Truss’ doctrinaire incompetence.

Their colour is immaterial. All that matters is their grotesque hatred and victimisation of the poor to benefit the extremely, obscenely rich.

Get them out now!

Megaphone Petition for Raising the Minimum Wage to £15 per Hour

September 1, 2022

I got this petition from the Megaphone on yesterday urging me to sign a petition calling for the minimum wage to be raised to £15 per hour. I’ve had absolutely no problem signing it, given the cost of living crisis, and if you feel as strongly about this as I do, I hope you will too. Here’s the email:

‘Hi David,

Did you see my email from last week? Almost 20,000 people have now added their name in support of a £15 an hour minimum wage, but we need more to join the campaign. 

Sign the petition and join the campaign: Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour

Thanks,

Anthony

Here’s my email from last week, in case you missed it.

David —

No matter where you work or what you do, everyone deserves a wage they can live on. But as the cost of living crisis deepens, millions of workers are struggling to get by – and it is only going to get worse. 

Last week, the TUC, with the backing of 48 trade unions, made an ambitious demand: We need a £15 an hour minimum wage.

Can you add your name in support of this call? We need thousands to sign to show how important this would be for working people.

Last week, we asked some Megaphone supporters why they need a pay rise. Here are some of the things we heard:

“A pay rise would mean I wouldn’t choose between dental treatment or a new school uniform for my kids”

“It would mean the difference between being able to heat our home or going cold over the winter.”

“A pay rise would drastically reduce the constant stress and worry I have, and would allow me to have a social life again”

Britain needs a pay rise and we need it urgently. Raising the minimum wage will make a huge difference for millions of workers. And the only way we will win is by standing together in our unions, campaigning for a better deal.  

Sign the petition: tell the government you support raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible.

The change we need will not come from a petition, but if tens of thousands sign today it will show how many of us are ready to take on the work we need to do to win. This is just the beginning. 

Regards,

Anthony

Letter from Local MP Karin Smyth Supporting the Railway Workers’ Strike

July 25, 2022

A few weeks ago I had an email from one of the left wing organisations asking me to write to my local MP to get them to support the railway workers strike. It was part of a national campaign, and they had already created a form letter you could use so that all you really needed to do is add your name and address. I was very happy to do this, as the railway workers’ strike isn’t just about the pay and conditions for the train drivers, but for all the railway workers, some of whom are going to be paid much less than them. And there are important questions regarding public safety, as well as the fundamental issue of the right to strike. Which the Tories would dearly love to strip from working people.

On Friday I was delighted to receive this reply from my local Labour MP for Bristol south, Karin Smyth, in which she gave her full support to the RMT strikers.

The letter reads:

‘Dear David

Thank you for contacting me about the industrial action on pay and conditions for rail workers

I appreciate the concerns you raise. Rail workers showed real bravery to keep the country going during the pandemic and were promised a high-wage economy by the Government as we emerged from it. Yet since then we have seen the biggest fall; in living standards since records began. I believe the Transport Secretary owes it to those rail workers, as well as the millions of people who rely on them, to help reach a deal.

However the Government’s legislation this week shows that rather than negotiating they are seeking to make the situation worse.

I agree the issues involved in this dispute are very serious, involving pay and cuts in safety and maintenance staff. The only way it can be resolved is with a deal on pay and job security, as it has been in Wales, where the devolved Government came together with employers and unions to manage change and avoid a strike. Employees have every right to fight for fair pay. I and my Opposition colleagues with always defend the right to strike.

The Transport Secretary has said these negotiations are a matter between the employer and the union. However, independent legal advice commissioned by the TUC found train operators “are not free to agree terms and conditions” with their employees without the involvement of the Secretary of State. It also found that he possesses “very significant contractual power to direct how industrial action such as the current strike is handled”.

I strongly believe helping resolve industrial disputes within and between publicly owned bodies like Network Rail is absolutely the Government’s duty, especially when rail is so key for our economy. My concern is that without a mandate to negotiate, talks between rail operators and unions are condemned to failure.

I am also alarmed by the Government’s plans to replace picketing workers with agency staff, which has been condemned by some of the biggest employment agencies in the country. In my opinion, it is unworkable, unsafe and goes against good employment practices and I will be working with colleagues to oppose the legislation on all counts.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Yours sincerely,

Karin Smyth

Labour MP for Bristol South.’

I am delighted that Karin is supporting the railway worker’s strike and opposing the government’s attempts to deny them the wages and conditions they deserve, but also to jeopardise public safety on this vital piece of our economy.

Megaphone Petition Against Government Plans to Allow the Hiring of Agency Strike Breakers

June 24, 2022

I’ve also received this email from Megaphone urging people to sign their petition about the government’s proposal to undermine the unions by allowing companies to hire agency staff to break the strike. I’ve signed it, as strikes, or the threat of strike action, is the major weapon for unions to protect the rights of their members and workers as a whole.

‘David —

This week has been huge for the trade union movement. The TUC Join a Union website is seeing record traffic, with visits this week up 800%. 

As RMT members stand up for their jobs, pay and our services, they are giving hope and confidence to millions of workers. The last few weeks has clearly shown that if you want a pay rise, a secure job and a decent life, you need to be in a union.

So what has the governments response to this been? To propose laws that would undermine the most powerful tactic working people have: strike action.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, is proposing to change the law to allow companies to replace striking workers, with inexperienced agency workers. 

The government will try to sneak these changes through so people don’t notice, so we must get the word out far and wide. We will not let them undermine our right to strike.

Will you add your name to the petition to stop plans to undermine unions by allowing companies to hire temporary staff during strike action?

Sign the petition

We cannot let this happen.

Allowing agency staff to replace striking workers would undermine the right to strike and create genuine safety risks for the public and workers.

Please sign and share the petition now.

In Unity,

Anthony,

Megaphone UK

Left-Wing Rally on Wednesday against the Conservatives and the Cost of Living Crisis

June 5, 2022

The Arise Festival of the Labour left is organising an online rally on the 8th against the cost of living crisis and, of course, this ‘hoary Tory government’ as Paul Weller memorably described them in one of his songs from the ’80s. I’ve received several messages about it – one from Gemma Bolton earlier this week, and another from Bell Ribeiro-Addy. Here’s her email about this rally, followed by the information about the rally itself, which is anticipation of a protest by the TUC on the 18th.

GET INVOLVED: Retweet me here // register for June 8 here

Hello David

What does it say about the Conservative Party that they can’t even muster 15% of their MPs to get rid of the most openly corrupt Prime Minister of our time? Frankly it tells us that they’re all as bad as him and we need to get the Tories Out.

Whilst the PM hangs on, the social emergency is growing. Poverty is spiralling, with over 2.6 million children live in households that skipped meals or struggled to afford food last month.

And we face continuous attempts to criminalise dissent – threatening everyone who wants to stand up for what they believe in and believes in building a better society. Enough is enough. Now is the time to build the fightback 

  1. Join the Rally of the Left on June 8, to mobilise for the TUC demo (register here) – full details below.
  2. Get on the streets and join the TUC demo on June 18.
  3. Sign and share the #WorkersCantWait petition here

 
Yours in solidarity,
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (via Arise Festival & the Labour Assembly Against Austerity.)

PS: Make sure to join 1000s registering for the June 8 rally now here.

ONLINE RALLY: Enough is enough – time to demand better!

Wednesday June 8, 18.30-20.00. Register here // Share & invite here // Retweet here to spread the word.


John McDonnell MP // Zarah Sultana MP // Dave Ward, CWU General Secretary // Ian Byrne MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Grace Blakeley // Matt Wrack, FBU GS & LRC // Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts // Mohammad Suhail, Chair of North West Young Labour // Ben Chacko, Morning Star editor // Dave Allan, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee & Unite EC // Peoples Assembly // Gemma Bolton, Labour NEC & CLPD // Lord John Hendy QC, IER //  Nasrin Warsame, Migrants Organise // Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook Editor // Mish Rahman, Momentum // Sakina Sheikh, GLA member // Mick Rix, GMB National Organiser // Doina Cornell, Leader of Stroud Council // Ronan Burtenshaw, Tribune editor // Mark Serwotka, PCS GS // Beth Winter MP // Kim Johnson MP // Barry Gardiner MP // Ian Lavery MP  // RIchard Burgon MP.

Online rally of the Left to mobilise for the TUC June 18 demo – coming together to demand urgent action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and build the fightback. Registration free, but solidarity contributions much appreciated!


Arise Festival is proud to host this event, bringing together MPs, union representatives, social movements, campaigns and different Labour left groups and publications to publicly mobilise for the vital TUC demo on June 18 (demo details & sign up at https://www.tuc.org.uk/DemandBetter )

Stop the War Coalition Organises Protest Against Blair’s Knighthood

June 5, 2022

Yesterday I got the latest email newsletter from the Stop the War Coalition, detailing their forthcoming protests against the war in Ukraine, the government’s increased funding for the British military, which is particularly noxious given the government’s lukewarm response to the cost of living crisis, and their protest against Blair being granted a knighthood. The Coalition’s assembling a demonstration at Windsor on the 13th, when Blair is due to join the others being inducted into the Order of the Garter. Blair’s a war criminal through his illegal invasion of Iraq, which killed 100,000 people and displaced a further two million. The same invasion wrecked the country, destroying its relatively secular, welfare state. This was replaced by sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias, women may no longer work outside the home as they formerly could under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and the mercenary troops brought in as part of the occupation amused and enriched themselves through running drugs and prostitution rings and shooting innocent Iraqis for sport. Not all of this carnage is Blair’s responsibility. A large part of it is his mate’s George W. Bush. But he was actively complicit, and, as books have argued, deserves to be up before the Court of International Human Rights or whatever on charges of war crimes. And this is quite apart from his role in the similar destruction of Libya, which has resulted in the Islamist nutters there opening slave markets again. They are also calling on their supporters to organise protests in their local community on the 25th of this month. I won’t be able to attend any of these demonstrations, but I’m putting up notice of them for those who may.

Protest: No Knighthood for Tony Blair – 13 June

Tony Blair should be heading to The Hague. Instead, on 13th June he will be heading to the castle at Windsor where he will be knighted by the Queen.

Despite the disastrous legacy of Blair’s foreign policy the British establishment has learnt few lessons. Blair has blood on his hands and is personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians as well as servicemen and women in Afganistan and Iraq. He is the least deserving person of any public honour.

Join the Stop the War protest at the annual Garter Day procession in Windsor and let the world know there is only one court that Blair should be attending, and it’s not the royal one.

We’re assembling at 1pm at the Queen Victoria Statue on Castle Hill, Windsor, SL4 1PD to say ‘Jail Blair! No knighthoods for war criminals’.

For those traveling from London we will be meeting at Paddington Station at midday for the 12:20 train. Changing at Slough at 12:36.

Yes, I’ll be there

18 June: Peace & Anti-War Bloc – TUC ‘We Demand Better!’ March

Boris Johnson is set to announce further unprecedented increases in the UK’s military budget despite his woefully inadequate response to the biggest cost of living crisis in our lifetime. We believe that taxpayer’s money should be prioritised for our public services and protecting people’s livelihoods rather than new technologies of mass killing.

Stop the War is supporting the TUC’s ‘We Demand Better’ demonstration against the soaring costs of living on June 18th to say ‘Cut War Not Welfare’. Let’s get on the streets and make our voices heard.

I’m Joining the Anti-War Bloc on 18 June

International Day of Action – 25 June

We are asking all our groups to organise a local protest on the International Day of Action on 25 June. In the run up this we need to be broadening and deepening the movement everywhere. We ask every group to put together an action plan including:
– Stalls every weekend to build for 25 June, leafletting, collecting signatures and building a local base of activists.

– A public meeting/rally if you haven’t held one, a follow up meeting if you have.

– A systematic campaign to get our resolution passed in trades councils and trade union branches.

– Banner drops and stunts.

– Cultural events – music nights, spoken word events, film screenings etc.


There is a wide range of people and organisations who can help build a Stop the War group, including trade unionists and trades councils, peace movement activists, local churches and mosques, Labour Party activists, Momentum groups, environmental campaigners etc. Please make sure you approach all of these as you organise the campaign.

I’m Organising An Event on 25 June

From 1996: Downsizing Guru Realises It Doesn’t Work

July 23, 2020

Remember the downsizing craze of the 1980s and 1990s, when Thatcherite economists all demanded that big firms should slim down through mass lay-offs and sackings? Firms were overstaffed, and it was all flab that needed to be cut out to make them ‘lean and mean’ in the marketplace.

Looking back through my scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, I found this article by the Daily Mail’s industrial correspondent, David Norris, ‘Guru of the job cutters admits downsizing has its down side’ in that paper’s edition for Monday, May 13, 1996. The article runs

‘An international economic guru who advocated massive job-shedding to make big business lean and fit has admitted he got it all wrong.

American Stephen S. Roach coined the word ‘downsizing’ in the early Eighties to sum up his philosophy that ruthless workforce pruning was needed to boost profits and productivity.

It was seized on around the world – not least in Britain, where hundreds of thousands of full-time jobs have disappeared over the last ten years.

His astonishing turnaround is certain to provoke more outrage against ‘fat-cat’ bosses, who have often used huge payroll savings to justify big salary rises for themselves.

‘Downsizing’ became a boardroom buzzword, with directors proudly telling shareholders that they were able to  pay higher dividends through redundancy-related cost-savings. The slick  term was more acceptable than talking of throwing people out of work.

Middle England has been worst hit, with thousands of white-collar jobs axed. High street banks have between them got rid of 90,000 staff since 1989. Downsizing has created a climate of insecurity which many blame for the still sluggish economic recovery. And the Government has lost millions of pounds in tax from workers axed from previously labour-intensive industries.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Roach, chief economist at the investment bank Morgan Stanley on Wall Street, announced his conversion in a memo to his firm’s clients.

He confessed he had now concluded that relentless cost-cutting was bad for business. ‘If you compete by building, you have a future. If you compete by cutting, you don’t’,’ the contrite guru said.

‘For years I have extolled the virtues of America’s productivity-led recovery. While I think it’s safe to say that such a scenario has become the new mantra for U.S. businesses in the 1990s, I must confess that I’m now having second thoughts.”

And he warned of a worker backlash ‘not on the shopfloor, but in the polling booths’.

That forecast was echoed by TUC boss John Monks yesterday.

He said: ‘Downsizing has done more than any other single business strategy to create the deep insecurity felt in Britain.

‘I hope this will herald a re-think in Britain’s boardrooms. Long-term success comes from steady investment and skilled, motivated staff.”

Around 38 per cent of Britain’s workforce – nearly ten million people – are now not in full-time permanent jobs. They are either in part-time or temporary work, or self-employed.

The main full-time job creation thrust has come from small firms, employing 20 staff or fewer. They have taken on 2.5 million extra workers in ten years.

Big retail chains have also taken on more workers. Tesco recently announced it was recruiting 4,500 to pack bags and generally assist shoppers. Last month it revealed record profits.

Late payment is still a problem for 45 percent of small and medium businesses.

The average time taken to be paid has risen from 52.8 days in 1994 to 53.2 this year, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry and accountancy firm Coopers & Lybrand.’

Ha-Joon Chang describes in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, how downsizing has literally driven firms bankrupt. They cut back their staff and plant so much in order to boost management pay and shareholder dividends beyond the point where they were economically viable. He argues that the most durable firms tend to be those where the state also has a stake in the firm, and so in maintaining it, or where the workers are also strongly involved in its management. Chang’s not anti-capitalist, but he states that shareholders are fickle – the moment they think a firm is no longer as profitable as another company, or is in trouble, they’ll sell their shares and go elsewhere.

Despite this attack on downsizing’s credibility and the loss of government revenue it has created, job insecurity has increased massively to the point where it is normal. Blair and Gordon Brown are as responsible for this as the Tories, as they accepted the neoliberal, Thatcherite dogma that the labour market had to be fluid and flexible. Which means that firms should find it easy to lay off staff and their should always be a supply of cheap workers waiting to be taken on.

Thatcherism has been a disaster. This clipping from a quarter of a century ago shows one of its central doctrines was recognised as such by the man who invented it even them. But it’s kept the rich richer, and the poor poorer, and so despite articles like this, it’s still being pushed.

And the result is a Britain of despair and poverty where working families, never mind the unemployed and disabled, are dying of starvation or forced to use food banks.