Friday, 18 April 2014

PCS & Unite not a merger but a takeover!

The Unite union held a special Executive Committee meeting on April 17th where Len McCluskey presented a report that indicates the PCS are seeking to "join" rather than "merge" with Unite which may come as somewhat of a surprise to PCS members.

The blog Ian's Unite site publishes the following report by Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey:

Following a decision of the Executive Council, informal talks have been taking place with PCS on exploring a transfer of that union’s engagements into Unite.

Unite’s team has included the Chair of the Executive Council, executive officers and senior lay colleagues. PCS’s team has been led by its General Secretary and has included lay EC members. The talks have covered the constitutional, industrial, political and administrative questions which would arise from joining Unite.

Separately, the Executive Director for Finance has met his opposite number at PCS to consider financial, pension and property issues.

On this basis, there seems to be no impediment to opening formal talks on a transfer of engagements which would bring PCS into Unite. Specifically:
  • No significant revision of Unite’s rules would be required and the transfer of engagements will be on the basis of our existing rule book.
  • Subject to the resolution of pensions issues between PCS and the Pensions Regulator, there are no obvious financial issues that would obstruct a transfer (due diligence will nevertheless have to be completed before any final agreement is brought before the Council).
  • No change to Unite’s political affiliations will be sought or considered in the context of the formal discussions
  • Short-term transitional arrangements will suffice to ensure the full and complete integration of the PCS membership into Unite’s existing structures
In this context, and bearing in mind the significant industrial, organisational and political advantages that would accrue to Unite as a result of such a transfer, in terms above all of the consolidation of fighting trade unionism across the public sector, it is recommended that authority be given to open formal talks with PCS to that end.
Formal "negotiations" will now open with PCS. Some members of Unite's EC were quite rightly worried about a further "period of turmoil" that they have experienced with previous mergers. Given the political makeup of the controlling Left Unity group in PCS they should be concerned. Since they gained power well over a decade ago the far-left have managed to wreck the largest civil service union to the point where it isn't viable as an independent body it would seem.

Despite the PCS leadership telling us that there will be a small "operating surplus" in the unions finances, its' clear that from the huge pension deficit for the unions own employees (running at some £65 Million according to leaked reports in the press), something is seriously wrong.

Part of the negotiations will be about this issue and it remains possible that the talks with the Pensions Regulator could still remain a barrier as McCluskey seems to indicate in his report.

In the mean time there seems to be a quite unhealthy rush to bring about the dissolution of PCS. 

Despite the Annual Conference of the union taking place in May, McCluskey is reported as saying a special conference for PCS will take place as early as June/July and the takeover (subject to a members ballot) would be complete by January 2015.

With conference only a few short weeks away there is an urgent need for PCS members to discuss the implications of the proposals being pushed through with such undue haste by Mark Serwotka and the Socialist Party leadership.

The decision to end our unions existence cannot be taken lightly.

What it does show is that Serwotka's legacy will be remembered as one of abject failure.

Shame on you "comrades".

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stop the slaughter - Tell Canada to end the seal hunt

IFAW logo


Right now seals are being killed in the commercial hunt in Canada.

It's cruel and it has to stop.

People around the world continue to say "no" to seal products, but the Canadian government stubbornly continues trying to sell these cruel products. They are fighting the European Union ban at the World Trade Organisation and trying to overturn the ban in Russia.

Last year, 88,573 innocent baby seals were reported clubbed or shot - many as young as 21 days old. They were killed for products no one wants or needs. Last year, the sealers admitted dumping 6,000 pelts into the ocean because there were no markets for them.

You can help end the seal hunt once and for all.

Seal pups lie defenceless on the ice as hunters approach. But even the fastest pups are no match for men with clubs or rifles. The pups die in agony.

The seal hunt has a long history, but it's a relic of the past. Rather than determine a plan to help sealers transition out of this failing industry, the Canadian government has thrown away over $50 million in tax dollars since 1996 trying to prop up the industry.

There's no reason for this merciless slaughter to continue.

The fight to protect seals is more urgent than ever. Ask the Canadian government to end commercial sealing.

Thank you for caring about the animals.

Sheryl Fink
Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Women in Saudi Arabia: a lesson for Rashida Manjoo of the so called "United Nations"

Like many other people I was really taken aback by a report that appeared in this mornings papers of remarks made by some non-entity from the United Nations who is reported as saying in The Times that:

Sexism is more pervasive and "in your face" according to the United Nations investigator into violence against women.

What planet does she live on?

Britain's far from perfect, as is her own quite dangerous country South Africa. But from reports into the position of women around the world the UK is no way the worst. In fact as Sarah AB points out at Harry's Place:

According to one recent survey the UK was the 18th best place to be a woman, and Manjoo’s report, her observations about the areas for improvement, would have been more credible if she hadn’t magnified the country’s failings in such a perverse way. She has apparently visited India – which is one of the very worst countries to be a woman – and Jordan, where a woman’s testimony was recently deemed invalid because she wasn’t veiled.

So here are a couple of videos about women in Saudi Arabia the home of Wahhabism, an extreme and violent form of Islam which enforces APARTHEID against women.

Surely someone from South Africa should be a little concerned about the position of women in the oppressive Saudi state.

Here are two videos that illustrate the very real oppression of women in Saudi Arabia.

And Ms Manjoo, talking of violence against women.

Here's a misogynist cleric justifying the beating of women in Islam:


Full stop.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Socialist Party (Ireland) “disowns” anti-abortion candidate

The largest of the Trotskyist sects in the UK, the Socialist Party is currently running a campaign to (laughably) try and replace the Labour Party with its so-called Trade Union & Socialist Coalition (TUSC). Good luck with that “comrades”, according to the local polls in London at least the Labour Party is now in the lead for all possible elections as ordinary people tire of the nonsense of the Coalition Government under Cameron and Clegg.

The TUSC is err.. still not even registering.

Not to be put off the TUSC is putting up what must be close to its entire active membership in the local elections. They report

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has approved a further thirty candidates to stand under the TUSC umbrella in the local council elections taking place on May 22nd.

This brings the total figure up to 506 - with the number of councils with TUSC candidates also increasing, from 80 last week to 85 now. Most importantly, with more applications arriving even since the latest approvals broke the 500 barrier, TUSC is now less than a hundred candidates short of reaching the BBC's threshold for 'fair media coverage' in the official election period.

I’ll be taking a closer look at their antics in due course, but in the mean time their Irish equivalent has got themselves in a wee bit of bother whilst trying to run a similar campaign called the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) in their elections.

One of the AAA candidates is one who seems to think the initials of the campaign stand for Anti-Abortion Alliance. Now in the UK it is normally taken as read that most people on the left are in favour of a woman’s right to choose (though I have come across the odd exception to the rule), and as an issue abortion is not as high profile as it used to be. But in Ireland?

The Irish state is probably the closest thing to a theocracy outside the Vatican and abortion is a really big issue. There even appears to be a group called Pro-Life Socialists. So well done Kevin Higgins who exposed Thomas Carty. His attitude towards women in general seems somewhat backwards as his Face Book Page indicates he would like to be a boob checker. 

Words fail me.

Now of course thanks to the exposure of Carty as a wee bit of a sexist, anti-abortion candidate the AAA have taken action to “disown”, though why they failed to make basic checks in the first place is a mystery. They write:

“He is not a candidate for the AAA. When his sexism and vocal anti-choice positions became known, the national AAA meeting did not ratify his application to be a candidate.”
Laura Fitzgerald of The Socialist Party 

Of course our own native Socialist Party is going “hammer and tong” to stand as many candidates as possible so having a good look at their candidates might be worthwhile. I noticed that Steve Hedley (who resigned from the Socialist Party to save them from “embarrassment”) and who remains Assistant General Secretary of the RMT is one of their candidates in London. Now this is a man (regardless of other issues that may have arisen) is someone who thinks the down fall of “comrade delta” was part of a “Zionist “ plot and has been pulled up himself for his somewhat “combative” attitude towards female critics on Face Book in the past.

Not a very nice chap it would seem by all accounts. Many members of the Socialist Party seemed relieved by his departure from their organisation. I’ve heard he may be one of the candidates vying to replace Bob Crow . My advice to RMT members; choose someone else, anybody else.

Meanwhile it may be interesting to follow the fall out over the Irish affair. 

Keep an eye on Kevin Higgins blog:

Monday, 14 April 2014

Musical Interlude: Missing Persons - Words

Just have time for a short walk down memory lane tonight with this number from Missing Persons in the eighties.

The lead singer Dale Bozzio reminds me somewhat of a "prototype" of Lady Gaga and if you read the link (which is mainly photo's) below the video you'll see what I mean.

She seems to be wearing office accessories in this performance of a track called..... Words

Further reading:

Sunday, 13 April 2014

National Union of Journalists rejects Israel boycott!

The National Union of Journalists reports on its website that:

The National Union of Journalism voted against a motion to support a boycott of all Israeli goods and support the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Delegates at Eastbourne were told by Michelle Stanistreet that journalists working in the Middle East, Palestine and Occupied territories would be put in jeopardy if the motion was passed. She stressed that the boycott motion would be decided by the NUJ conference and not by outside bodies, but it was a decision which must reflect the interests and safety of our own members.

She pointed out that the NUJ's colleagues in Palestine had not asked the union to introduce a boycott.

The supporters of the boycott motion, didn't exactly help themselves by coming up with the ridiculous notion that "Israel is the biggest bully in the world. 

Utter nonsense from guess who? Alan Gibson of the Socialist bloody Workers Party.

What about North Korea, China, Iran, Putin's Russia......????????

Such comments by the BDS bigots show how narrow and full of hate their views are.

Meanwhile Labour leader Ed Miliband has also spoken out against boycotts. Jewish News reports:

“My general position is against boycotts. Anyone looking also at the sensitive stage we’ve reached in the negotiations would even additionally to that general principle would realise it’s so not the solution. You’re in a very sensitive moment when you’re wanting to encourage both sides not to try to isolate one or the other.”

In order to get a peaceful solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict, the trade union movement must work for compromise and conciliation on both sides.

The BDS are part of the problem, not the solution.

Further information: 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Socialist Unity witch hunts rank & file PCS members

One of the more ridiculous websites on the left is Socialist Unity run by Andy Newman and his obnoxious sidekick John Wight. If they are not backing Russian imperialism in the Ukraine, justifying the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party and denying both Tibet and Israel the right to exist they are usually promoting some other reactionary nonsense.

Male model John Wight has now published a vicious attack on members of the PCS trade union. He writes:

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are engaged in the widespread bullying and intimidation of benefit claimants in Jobcentres up and down the country. The evidence can no longer be denied and the union’s leadership must now take steps to educate its members that solidarity is more than just a word on a leaflet during a PCS pay dispute, or else face the accusation of collaborating with the government’s vicious assault on the most economically vulnerable in society under the rubric of austerity.

In the myopic world of John Wight it is ordinary hard working members of the union who are to be targeted for government policy that he doesn't agree with. 

Wight in his ignorance of both political and trade union reality goes on to conclude that:

Any trade union member who allows him or herself to be used as an instrument to attack the poor and the unemployed is deserving of contempt. And any trade union leadership that fails to act to prevent it happening is reactionary.

Such politcal buffoonery is beyond parody and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

PCS members are Civil Servants who work across a variety of different Government Departments (and some privatised areas) who implement the policy of the democratically elected government of the day. 

PCS members are underpaid, overworked and under constant pressure. Some jobs, like those in the DWP can carry a risk of being violently attacked. The job of a trade union is to defend its' members against not only Management but also those who seek to invoke hate against them as is clearly outlined in Wights disgusting article.

Most of people who comment at that site are equally complicit with Wight in his attack on trade unionists. Take the brave, ultimately anonymous"Vanya" who writes:

PCS members in the DWP need to decide whether they are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

PCS members are not answerable to idiots like him. It is the Socialist Unity crowd that is part of the problem as Wight shows us with his response to a rare critic allowed to post on their rabid blog:

You stand with the camp guards if you wish, I’ll stand with the inmates.

Given that Wight has an unhealthy attitude to Jews, his analogy is appalling. 

PCS members will not be bullied by reactionary and anti-working class websites like "Socialist" Unity. 

Update: John Wights considered opinion of PCS members is:

These bastards are the lowest of the low, plain and simple, and I have zero sympathy for them.

Appalling little man.