Monday, 26 April 2010

Brown Double-Speak on Public Sector Pensions & Services

At a rally of a Nursing Union in England today, Gordon Brown promised to protect the pension rights of nurses. This gained spontaneous applause from the members gathered in the hall. However, have a look at what he was promising, which was actually protection for exisitng nurses. Any new nurses joining the profession get an inferior pension, compliments of Gordon Brown.

In fact, all three main UK parties intend to go after the public sector pensions in order to save cash, with some of the harshest words coming from 'radical' the Lib Dems. With all three main parties also promising a level of protection to the NHS, guess who is really going to get it in the neck?

Local Government is in for an absolute kicking, starting the next financial year and with a further level of protection being given to Education, huge swathes of Council Services could well no longer exist in 2 or 3 years time. The main parties are quite happy to talk about immigration, Afganistan, tax and anything else that diverts them from the cuts agenda they are desperate not to debate.

It's a shame that the public sector unions do not have the bottle to expose Labour and Brown, for their double-speak and shocking hypocrisy.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Look Out Unions. Here Comes Clegg

After the recent UK/English election debate on ITV, you may be under the false impression that the Liberal Democrats are the sort of progressive party that would open their arms to modern trade unions.

Guess again.

When the Unite dispute was on at its height with British Airways and reports came to light of trade union stewards being openly intimidated by BA managers, did the Lib Dems jump to the workers defence? Oh , no. They were too busy calling for an investigation into Gordon Brown's treatment of his staff. How principled.

Guess who wants to slash Local Government pensions as part of their public sector cuts, accepting without question the inaccurate Tory press version of the current state of the public sector pension schemes?

Guess which Wannabe Chancellor said in the recent ' Chancellor debate' that trade unions should be banned from taking industrial action in 'essential services', leaving open the definition of such areas of work? Thanks for that Vince.

When you attempt to be all things to all people, it's inevitable that sometimes you come unstuck.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

May 6th - A Day of Destiny for the Unions?

This election campaign will involve the trade union movement like never before - and all for negative reasons. The Tories will do all they can to paint the current situation as the 1970's re-visited and are already lining up more anti-trade union legislation if they get in. Labour are relying like never before on the main unions to get their core vote out. I anticipate receiving a lot from my union over the coming weeks, even though I am not affiliated (as far as I know!). Unison's policy priorities match Plaid's far more than Labour's, but then they invariably do. Far be it for me to suggest that party politics are getting in the way of members' interests. The Lib Dems will sail very close to the Tory line on unions, as their focus groups are screaming at them to keep to the right-where their leader Clegg feels more comfortable.

The public sector unions have most to lose after May 6th, with all parties threatening cuts and job losses. Even the Lib Dems 'Shadow Shadow' Chancellor Vince Cable has threatened to ban unions from striking in 'essential service areas'. He declined to define what he meant by these. The main threat though is from the Tories. The UK already has the most tightly controlled trade unions in any Western democracy, yet Cameron and co. intend to tighten things further. Did you know that the US has far less stringent trade union legislation that the UK?

All in all, it is not going to be good for unions, whatever the result. Plaid will use its additional seats in a likely hung Parliament to fight for fair funding; giving some level of protection to core public services. It may not sound a lot, but it's a lot more than the British parties are offering Wales.