Monday, 29 September 2014

Hong Kong Trade Unions fight for democracy!



Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions strike for democracy!

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) - the only independent union in China - has called for workers to strike in support of the democracy movement as mass civil disobedience actions come under heavy police attack. The Swire Beverages (Coca-Cola) union and the HKCTU unions of school teachers and dockers are striking and will be joined by other member unions.

CLICK HERE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

Tensions have been building in Hong Kong since the August 31 government announcement that candidates for the position of Chief Executive would have to be vetted and approved by a pro-business, pro-Beijing committee.

The protests, originally organized by the students' federation and the Occupy Central coalition, have drawn increasing numbers of supporters. The mainland government has harshly condemned the protestors' demands and the "illegal" protests.

On October 28, the HKCTU declared "we cannot let the students fight alone", and called for workers to strike in support of 4 demands: the immediate release of all the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the "fake universal suffrage" formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.

The HKCTU has been the backbone of the democracy movement, before and following Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule. Their courageous action deserves the support of trade unions everywhere.

CLICK HERE to send a message to the Hong Kong Chief Executive in support of the democratic movement and the strikers' demands!



Sunday, 28 September 2014

PCS union to face another breakaway?


Last year members in the Serious Organised Crime Agency split en-mass from the main civil service union PCS following the refusal of the unions far-left leadership to accept the agreements reached by union representatives over the subsuming of SOCA into the Police. Not only have they set up their own union, the National Crime Officers Association, the new union has increased the number of union members in the sector itself.

The whole business (see here and here) was very much hidden from the wider PCS membership, but given the number of members who left was a substantial blow to the ailing fortunes of PCS itself.

Now PCS faces a further challenge from members in the HMRC (Revenue and Customs) as disenchanted members (and others) are now seeking to form a new union.

RCTU

The Revenue & Customs Trade Union (RCTU) announces on it's new website:

This is a serious attempt to form a NEW Trade Union in HM Revenue and Customs. This is backed by a significant number of union representatives ( past and present ) and a wide range of HMRC staff many of whom are members of other Civil Service unions....

It is patently obvious that the current vehicle for union organisation and negotiation in HMRC is broken and irretrievably so. The national union of which HMRC is but a group uses HMRC staff as a virtual political football, something that can only increase when that union falls , as it will, to the larger Unite union. This is unacceptable and contrary to productive industrial relations and the current union has misused and failed to protect and promote the interests of its members most visibly displayed by the falling participation of voting in union ballots and elections and an increasing use of one day stoppages with no clear strategic endgame that is suffering declining support.

We need a mature , responsible , logical approach to industrial relations . Not one of unconstrained ideologies run by political parties ( albeit vastly different from their own real lives ) few have heard of but who actually and really exercise disproportional control of your working lives at union national and group level. Do not think for one second that we are saying it is possible to change everything , overnight or otherwise , we are not . What we know is we can and will deliver a better future for HMRC staff than what they currently face from serious unresolved strategic issues with the employer through to being used as what amounts to foot soldiers in a battle with politicians for the “enjoyment” of 19th century recidivists.


What they say about "the current union" (obviously PCS, but not spelled out for diplomatic reasons) will ring true to those who have had to put up with the "19th century recidivists" in both their own groups (like the DWP) and the National union as a whole.

PCS leaders and the far-left in the HMRC are understandably not happy according to reports I've heard, but no official statement has been released to my knowledge.

There are signs that a small number of members have been quitting PCS, some joining the pre-existing Prospect union. With the end of the "check off" system coming to many departments, there may well be more than a few more. At one National Executive Committee meeting plans were made which acknowledged the possible loss of around 10% of the membership.

If the RCTU does get off the ground PCS will find recruitment in another sector even more difficult. I understand the new union is relying on "expressions of interest" as it tries to obtain recognition from the employer. How successful this will be depend on work done in the HMRC offices themselves.

Certainly a development to watch.

Please note this article was banned by PCS from their Face Book page. Defend Free Speech!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

ISIS tortures and executes Iraqi women’s-rights activist

Cross-post from Why Evolution Is True

Sameera-Salih-Ali-Al-Nuaimy
Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy

I meant to post this yesterday, but there is so little time. . . Still, it must be recorded so that the full horrors of ISIS’s behavior can be known. Both Thursday’s New York Times and Reliefweb (summarizing a condemnation by a UN envoy) report that an Iraqi lawyer, Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, was taken from her home in Iraq by members of ISIS, tortured, and then executed by firing squad. Her crime? Apostasy.

From the NYT:

Ms. Nuaimy had posted comments on her Facebook page condemning the “barbaric” bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city, by the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. She was convicted of apostasy by a “so-called court,” Mr. Zeid said, adding that her family had been barred from giving her a funeral.

The killing follows the execution of a number of Iraqi women in areas under Islamic State control documented by United Nations monitors, including two candidates contesting Iraq’s general election in Nineveh Province, who were killed in July. A third female candidate was abducted by gunmen in eastern Mosul and has not been heard from since.


And, like Pol Pot and Mao before them, ISIS targets the group most likely to make trouble: educated and literate people, especially women, whose acts of criticizing Islamic society are especially odious to devout Muslims:

United Nations monitors in Iraq have received numerous reports of executions of women by Islamic State gunmen, some after perfunctory trials, the organization said. “Educated, professional women seem to be particularly at risk,” it added.

These killings, together with abductions and the enslavement of women and children, illustrate the “utterly poisonous nature” of the extremist group, Mr. Zeid said, drawing attention to the plight of hundreds of women and girls of the Yazidi religious minority and other ethnic and religious groups sold into slavery, raped or forced into marriage after the group overran large areas of northern Iraq.


The thought that someone would be tortured for five days before being shot boggles my mind. It’s a return to medieval barbarism. And Karen Armstrong tells us this has nothing to do with religion: it’s due to enforced secularism (what??). Now tell me how execution for “apostasy” could exist without religion. And every country where that’s a crime is Islamic. FromWikipedia:

In 2011, 20 countries across the globe prohibited its citizens from apostasy; in these countries, it is a criminal offense to abandon one’s faith to become atheist, or convert to another religion. All 20 of these countries were majority Islamic nations, of which 11 were in the Middle East.

Here’s the map, with the penalties in each of the countries. Can one seriously make a case that in every one of those countries the laws against apostasy stem from colonialism, or from religion that, coopted by a malicious state, was once benign and is now odious? After all, both the Qur’an and the hadith specify punishment for leaving the faith, and in thehadith that punishment is death. Punishment for apostasy was part of the faith from the beginning.

Apostasy_laws_in_2013.SVG

We already know that ISIS is poisonous, and somehow—I don’t know how—it must be destroyed. Although other Muslims have condemned the group as “un-Islamic,” it’s a charge I find ludicrous, for this killing, rape, and abduction of women is merely an extension of the more moderate Islamic doctrine of marginalizing and oppressing women. Though you can face charges of “Islamophobia” for saying so, we must incessantly condemn the “moderate” Muslim practice of not allowing women to achieve their full potential. A large proportion of these “moderates” may not engage in beheadings, rapes, and tortures, but they still treat half of their population as second-class citizens—if you can even call them “citizens.” “Breeder cattle” is more like it.

Friday, 26 September 2014

About time: Britain to act against ISIS!


Parliament has finally voted to act against ISIS by sending in the RAF. The British contribution will be small, but still a vital part of the growing international coalition against the vile forces describing themselves as the "Islamic State".

Meanwhile the far and not so far left continue to shame themselves with their policy of "opposing war" which can only be seen as appeasement in the current climate. The charlatans of the Stop the War Coalition oddly worry about everything except the lives of the people being murdered as the sup their wine and polish their sandals in the local bistro this evening.

Not a word about saving the Christians.

Just how evil the West is.

Deluded, dangerously so in my opinion.

After all the StWC is run by a bunch of Marxist revolutionaries who follow a creed that has murdered more people than anyone else over the last century. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Not much different to the ISIS criminals that plague a wide section of the Middle east at this very moment.

The only thing I concur with the StWC is that air strikes alone will not destroy ISIS. There will be a need to put "boots on the ground", at the very least special forces to back the Kurds who are on the front line against the new Islamist fascism.

The StWC and the other far/left rabble who oppose the intervention come from the tradition of appeasement that we saw in the thirties and left this country weak in the face of the rise not just of fascism and the Nazi's but Communism too.

Britain wasn't ready enough for the Second World War and we barely survived the initial onslaught. The threat from Islamist terrorism is very real. The Tories cuts in the military have left this country vulnerable and that's why our contribution will be smaller and more limited than it could be.

The world is a dangerous place.

No one wants war, but sometimes war is forced upon us and the battle against ISIS is a just war.

ISIS must be stopped. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Unison to call off October strike?

UNISON home

The National Executive Committee of the main civil service union, PCS decided to call for a strike in October. The unions website announced:

The NEC decided that a national strike will be called on Wednesday, 15 October. The action will be coordinated with unions representing workers in the health service which have announced action on Monday, 13 October, and with unions in local government which have announced a strike on 14 October so that there will be 3 consecutive days of strike action over pay in the public sector.

It had been my intention to comment on this decision in depth, but it seems events may now be taking a different turn.

There are rumours circulating that the local government strike on October 14th may be called off following a new offer by the employer. This appears to involve a rise of  2.2 % from 1st of January with one off payments ranging from £250 for lowest grades. going down to £100 for other grades which will be paid in December.

Whilst I consider further industrial action by my own union (PCS) to be superfluous as we have already had one poorly supported protest action back in July, I would urge trade unionists to support the TUC demonstration.

BRITAIN NEEDS A PAYRISE: Join us at the MARCH and RALLY, Saturday 18 October 2014

The march starts on Embankment 1pm , with form up from 11am. We suggest joining from the rear at Blackfriars to avoid a crush further up Embankment. After moving off, the march will go along Embankment to Northumberland Avenue, across Trafalgar Square, along Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus, and then along Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner, where it will enter the park. The rally in Hyde Park will start as the march reaches the stage.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Laughing at the new Inquisition

Pat Condell is more than a wee bit controversial in a lot of his video monologues and isn't to every ones taste, especially to those on the left. I have to say Pat can go over the top and spoil a reasonable point by being too deliberately provocative.

However this latest offering did catch my attention and I thought worth sharing.

The reason?

What he says reminds me so much of the "comrades" in my union the PCS........ and elsewhere to be honest.

See what you think.

NSS backs school's decision to enforce ban on face coverings

Cross-post from the National Secular Society



The National Secular Society has given its backing to one of the country's top state schools after it came under fire for upholding its policy of banning the niqab.

Camden School for Girls in London was accused of 'islamophobia' after a 16-year-old pupil was told she cannot attend her A-level lessons wearing a full face veil.

The school's appearance policy states that "inappropriate dress that offends public decency or which does not allow teacher student interactions will be challenged".

The 6th form student has attended the school for the past five years but only recently started wearing the niqab.

In a statement, the governing body said: "The governors' decision was very much an educational one.

"Teachers need to see a student's whole face in order to read the visual cues it provides.

"In addition, it is important for the safety and security of the school community to know who is on site, and to be able to see and identify individuals."

The school's decision has provoked anger with over 1000 people signing a petition set up by an anonymous campaigner to "stop the Islamophobia".

A rival petition has since been set up urging people to support the school's decision to ban the Niqab from the classroom.

The National Secular Society dismissed the claim that the school's decision was in any way 'Islamophobic' as "risible".

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, said: "It's not hard to see why schools may consider the ability to communicate unhindered as paramount. If schools feel that face coverings inhibit interaction in the classroom then they should be free to implement policies that enable staff and students to see each others' faces without being bullied into submission by spurious accusations of 'islamophobia'."

The school's decision was also backed by Mohammed Amin, Chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum and a patron of Tell MAMA (which monitors anti-Muslim attacks). He tweeted: "I think Camden School for Girls acted reasonably in refusing to allow a pupil to wear a niqab on educational grounds."

Meanwhile the Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Margot James, also supported the school, saying it was "important that Camden School for Girls stand their ground on the niqab, they should not be forced to teach pupils wearing a full-face veil".

The latest controversy mirrors a similar case in September 2013 when Birmingham Metropolitan College implemented a similar ban – only to overturn it following pressure from campaigners – including mass demonstration against 'Islamophobia' and a huge social media campaign including an online petition signed by 9,000.

At the time Prime Minister David Cameron said it was up to individual schools and colleges to set their own dress code.