Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Why are Wales NUM Members Missing Out?

There is a current legal case being fought for 'Miner's Knee', effectively Osteoarthritis brought on by the necessary methods of work required for the job. Every other NUM area within England and Scotland are supporting their members in their legal claims, but not Wales who claim that they cannot afford it.

Legal challenges are indeed very expensive but why are the North and South Wales NUM areas singularly incapable of representing their members? Why is their financial position so much worse than the other areas?

This is a very important claim and at least 1000 retired NUM members want to claim in Wales, but will not be able to because their union will not back them. There better be a very good reason for this decision, as these former miners deserve every opportunity to get compensation.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Have You Ever Been on Strike?

ConDems - an anti-union alliance?

As predicted by Plaid weeks ago, The new ConDem coalition is looking to tighten the already tightest trade union legislation in any Western democracy, in order to push through their devastating public sector cuts with greater ease. The CBI (Conservative Brothers Inc.) have called for the Government to act, in a not so subtle media build-up coordinated by their Tory friends. They are painting a picture that all of the UK is about to go on strike like in the 1970's.

As you read this blog, can I ask you two questions: -

Are you in a trade union? (If you are in the public sector, I would join fast, if I were you)
Have you ever been on strike?

I for one have always been in a union and am a senior branch officer in Unison. I am also a member of a branch that is prepared to take industrial action, if all other options have been exhausted. Contrary to what the Tories/CBI think, going on strike is extremely rare, very difficult to do within the current laws, does not make you Mr Popular with your employer and costs you serious money. So in almost all circumstances, people who take lawful strike action do so in desperation and not as part of some political game.

How ironic it is that at a time when the ConDems talk about peeling back laws that have infringed civil liberties, they are at the same time pondering new laws that will effectively make it almost impossible to take industrial action, in the very nations where the trade union movement was created in the first place.

Mr Clegg. Such draconian actions do not sound very Liberal to me.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Protect Frontline Services? Who are You Kidding?

There appears to be some assumption within ConDem Government circles, that massive and very sudden cuts can be made to the public sector without having a detrimental effect on 'frontline' services. Isn't it scary when politicians are either woefully out of touch or are blatantly lying to you?

The cuts we face in Wales will decimate all non-statutory services within Local Government, so maybe they mean these areas of spending? These include parts of Adult Services, Leisure Centres, Transportation Services, Parks and a multitude of others. Maybe, they also mean reducing spend on Children's Services, Education and Housing, all through 'efficiency savings' with no effect on standards.

Mr Cameron also talks of protection to the NHS but how can Wales manage this with massive reductions in the block grant and one third of the WAG budget going on Health? Today, a WLGA sponsored report has started to expose the realities of cuts and how they will affect every single one of us, on an increasing level the lower down you are on the economic indexes. Yet still, the British Government thinks that Trident is a good deal and that we can afford not to tax the super rich, as they will leave our shores for cheaper tax havens.

I will be particularly interested in seeing which MPs vote to slash public sector pensions, when they have voted themselves one of the best pension deals in Western Europe. I can only describe the current situation in Welsh Councils as 'battening down the hatches' and waiting for the storm to hit. The Con Dems know that the cuts will cause a double dip recession but they don't care. These cuts are no longer just about saving the economy but about using this opportunity to dismantle as many public services as they can, knowing that any future Government is unlikely to have backing from an English electorate to re-build them.

You get what you vote for.