Sunday, 28 February 2010

Labour v Tories & Cuts. The Difference Is?

As far as I can see, the only difference between the Tories and Labour in terms of cuts to the public sector, is that the Tories will start earlier. The savage nature of the cuts appear to be similar-it's just about the timing.

Both intend to keep Trident
Both are letting off the banks without too much interference (no change there then)
Both intend to savage the Civil Service
Both intend to savage Local Government
Both are refusing to give Wales a fair funding formula
Both intend to stay in Afghanistan for years
Both intend to remain over-reliant on the financial sector for economic growth
Both refuse to sign up to employment legislation currently protecting all other EU states
Both are wriggling out of rail investment in Wales; either electrification or rolling stock

It is very convenient for Labour to paint the Tories as the bogeymen, as it diverts attention away from their own cuts agenda. There are debts to be paid and no-one questions that in the global market we live in. However, do they really need to be paid off so fast and why are so many billions wasted in tax avoidance and on pointless 'offence' systems like Trident?

As with our family budgets, shouldn't they be cutting the luxuries before the basic needs?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Unite Members Threatened by BA

There are widespread reports of Unite trade union members being intimidated by management in British Airways. This has been one of the main factors in creating such staunch support for industrial action against one of the UK's most high profile companies.

Yet, in a week when this dreadful behaviour has been highlighted, the Tories and Lib Dems have instead concentrated on the percieved behaviour of a senior public servant based in London (Downing Street). I am not for a moment condoning any behaviour appearing to be bullying and harrassment, but surely if these parties are serious about bullying in the workplace, then they would also highlight what is going on in British Airways?

To be so inconsistent, does not exactly help their cause when claiming the moral high ground with the public servant in Question. In fact, the handling by the British parties of this whole shoddy affair has done nothing to highlight the problem of workplace bullying and everything to further demean the name of Westminster politics.

Trade union leader backs hung parliament

Leading trade unionist Mark Serwotka has spoken out against the pro-cuts consensus amongst the main London parties, backing calls for a hung parliament to enable Plaid to push a more progressive line.
He made his call at a fringe meeting at Plaid's pre-election conference in Cardiff, stating that:
 "the idea you can have painless cuts in public services is absurd".
Mr Serwotka, who leads the PCS civil servants' union and is from Aberdare, congratulated Plaid Cymru for its distinctive position on public services. He said: 
"In England you cannot vote for a pro-public services party. It's really a case of the least worst option. We have to look to parties like Plaid Cymru and the trade union movement to make the arguments that 30 years ago would have been made by Labour."
He pointed out that 26% of Welsh workers are employed in the public sector and that a great many of them - 83% of PCS members - work for below the average wage.
His call was echoed by Plaid's candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards, who explained that Plaid was offering a distinctively different line from the big London parties:
"The election is being fought on a false premise - a dutch auction amongst the London parties about who can cut the most. What this election should be about is how do we deal with the human cost of the recession, how do we re-balance the economy to be less reliant on the financial sector and how do we create a more equal society and redress 30 years of Tory-Labour wealth polarisation. In failing to tackle these key issues the London parties are failing the people of Wales."
Chairing the meeting, which was organised by Plaid's trade union section Undeb, was Leanne Wood AM. She chairs the PCS Assembly group and was delighted that a senior trade unionist like Mark Serwotka had taken part in the Plaid meeting. She said: 
"The PCS is leading the way among public sector unions and I hope we can continue to cooperate with trade unionists."