Monday, 25 May 2015

A Bank Holiday Interlude with Stanley Baxter

Well that was a weekend to remember. The British entry to Eurovision bombed despite being a great song but it was the Teutonic states of Germany and Austria that got Nil points. The Irish gave two fingers to the Catholic Church (about time) and voted for gay marriage.

And Stanley Baxter was 89 yesterday!

One of my favourite comedians from the seventies, not very politically correct but very funny. Here's a short reminder:

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Hypocrisy World Cup? FIFA sponsors must tell Qatar to play fair on workers' human rights.

Cross-post from Labourstart by Eric Lee

62 workers may lose their lives for each game played during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, a tournament likely to be sponsored by FIFA partner companies Coke, VISA, McDonald’s, Adidas, Kia and Hyundai. Without sponsorship, this multi-billion dollar tournament couldn’t take place.

Most sponsors commit themselves to respecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights – which guarantees the right to join a union - and have specific policies banning forced labour and slavery in their supply chains. However, none of them seem to have considered that paying FIFA to host a tournament built on slave labour goes against everything they claim to believe in.

As a customer or potential customer of these multinational companies, can you help us pressure them to live up to their own ethical standards in how they spend their sponsorship funding?

We know money talks in FIFA. If one of these sponsors were to speak up it would be hugely influential in guiding FIFA and Qatar into ensuring that labour standards for people preparing the country to host the World Cup meet international standards of safety, decency and human rights.

Click here to send a message.

To learn more about this issue, click here.

To watch the video, click here.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

PCS: Not a union for it's members



The aftermath of PCS Conference continues to astonish observers as the union digs it's own grave deeper after years of political and financial mismanagement leaving the union both isolated and broke. The end of check off has seen thousands of members just give up on PCS and either start looking for alternatives or worse leave trade unions behind.

Even putting aside the sectarian stance taken by the Serwotka/Socialist Party leadership towards the Labour Party and failing badly to gain attention with some misnamed Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition, it seems the comrades are more concerned about their being seen as defenders of the faith rather than act as trade unionists.

One of the more controversial government policies has been the "sanctions" placed on job seekers by the DWP. Now the union has every right to lobby and argue a case about such matters with the employer but in the case of PCS the political activist caste has placed its extra-curricula interests above defending ordinary members.

The Morning Star reports

Jobcentre workers in Sheffield put a motion to PCS conference suggesting that protests in Halifax, west Yorkshire, had been “hijacked by a minority of individuals keen to cause unrest and accuse jobcentre staff of deliberately using the sanctions system to persecute benefit claimants.”

The motion asked for PCS to withdraw an anti-sanctions leaflet jointly produced with the Community division of general union Unite, which organises unemployed workers. It demanded that the PCS logo not be used on any future materials to be distributed at such demonstrations.

Sheffield delegate Ian Davis told delegates: “We cannot be seen to condone protests outside our offices where members face intimidation.

“We’ve had resignations among long standing members, an impact on direct debit campaign which we cannot afford.”


He said PCS members were online and subjected to “extreme verbal abuse.”

At one protest, PCS members offering support felt “so intimidated they had to leave,” he said.


Sheffield wasn't the only place where members were incensed about being lobbied by protesters using PCS sponsored literature. Copies of a leaflet with the logo were circulated around the office I work in and members were not happy. This coming just before check off ended helps explain the high level of disillusionment that people felt about the union.

Given all the antics undertaken by the far-left leadership over the years spending huge amounts of time and members subscriptions on overtly political campaigning from promoting the TUSC/Respect (through the so-called Make Your Vote Count Campaign) to the Stop the War Coalition that proved nothing of the sort, along with defending Cuban dictatorship, sending delegations to meet Hamas terrorists the interests of the members became very secondary.

No wonder many of us took the plunge and went elsewhere. In my case Prospect, a whole department broke away to form the NCOA and more recently the RCTU was established by disgruntled HMRC members.

Prospect: Union for professionals

Of course in some departments or parts of the country such as Northern Ireland there is no readily available alternative so PCS has retained a certain level of membership but even that has been placed under threat by the recognition of Unison.

UNISON home

The "comrades" are not happy and Mark Serwotka is to make an official complaint to the TUC. But the days where members did not have a choice and were virtually held hostage by some unions are long gone.

In the past many members asked about an alternative to PCS. Now many of these people are leaving.

PCS has failed as a trade union and although there remain many decent reps and activists in it's ranks the union is now well beyond reform.

You have choices:

Prospect: https://www.prospect.org.uk/

Unison: http://www.unison.org.uk/

RCTU: https://rctunion.org.uk/ (HMRC)

RCTU LOGO

Join a proper trade union today!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Howie's picks for Eurovision 2015

I've been distracted from politics a wee bit this week with the Eurovision Semi-Finals. I have previously blogged this years British entry which I think is the best in years (see here) and hope we do well if not win!

However since we cannot vote for our own entry here are my three favourite entries for this years contest. In no particular order:

Aminita from Latvia. Beautiful voice this woman!



There there's the slightly "kooky" song from Slovenia...



and finally Belgium.



Roll on Saturday night!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Fighting talk from a failing union


Image result for pcs logo

Despite facing a severe financial and membership crisis the PCS union still continues to "talk the talk" despite it's obvious decline. In his usual bombastic fashion General Secretary Mark Serwotka has been trying to urge other unions to "fight like never before". The BBC reports:

The leader of the biggest civil service union has urged trade unions to join forces to head off attacks from the new Conservative government.

"We don't have to accept defeat as an inevitable state of affairs for the next five years," Mark Serwotka told the PCS union annual conference.

Mr Serwotka said members should oppose spending cuts and the expected attacks on pensions and public sector pay.

"We need to be prepared to fight like never before," he added.

Trouble is this "fighting talk has very little to back it up and the union is losing "thousands upon thousands of members" even according to it's own "Dear leader".

Referring to the failed Pensions strikes back in 2011 Serwotka fails to mention how under his and the Socialist party's leadership PCS became increasingly isolated, even to the point of antagonising the other unions.

Unable to deliver a promised takeover to Len McCluskey last year, the Unite delegation stormed out of the observers gallery. Although talk of mergers has fallen by the wayside, it's clear an increasingly desperate PCS leadership has tried to keep the option open.

Unable even to finance the usual annual election, the leadership remains in charge for another year presiding over a continuing decline in fortunes. 

With around a quarter of members leaving through not signing up or joining other unions, the ability of PCS to take action will involve the usual round of one day token strikes, with each one receiving less and less support as has been the pattern under Serwotka's failed leadership.

And he has only himself and his Socialist Party allies to blame.

Despite the other unions working for a Labour victory to precisely prevent the further attacks we are now facing, Serwotka and his cronies were having their second (failed) attempt to "build the alternative. The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition managed to get a grand 35,000 votes and was rightly ignored by the working class they pretend to represent.

A huge wasted effort that would have been better put elsewhere.

Exactly what PCS did last time round and failed to learn from their folly.

Members deserve better.

A better union.

In the workplace where unions are needed, PCS's influence is negligible. Only hard working local reps keep the remaining members mainly through personal case work.

And the leaderships misinformation and bluster.

The time has come for members and decent reps to make the necessary break with past, leave the Trots behind and move to where there are better prospects for the future.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Equality includes white people and even Jews....

The Eurovision semi-finals opened tonight with a song by the bearded woman Conchita which won the contest last year. Despite all the bad things people say about Eurovision it's platform for the diverse has proved lasting over the years. Remember the trans gender Dana International from Israel who also won way back in 1998. Gosh was it that long ago.

Yet equality still remains to be fought for. In the news today The Times (no link £) reported:

The pub chain Whetherspoon faces a bill of nearly £1 million after being found guilty to have racially discriminated against a group of gypsies and travellers by barring them entry to one of it's pubs.

In a landmark ruling, a judge has held that a group in the Irish traveller community were directly discriminated against when turned away from the premises and awarded them damages.

Meanwhile the BBC reports:

A judge has ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

Ashers Baking Company, based in County Antrim, was taken to court by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.

A Belfast judge said, as a business, Ashers was not exempt from discrimination law.


Both stories are a blow against bigots.

However there remain some disturbing instances of problems growing elsewhere. The growth of anti-Semitism both here and across Europe has been fuelled by the growth of radical Islam, which seems to have managed to exempt itself from such civilised niceties as "equality" and are defended by the "anti-imperialist" brigade and their ilk such as the moron who is the "Equality" Officer in Goldsmiths Student Union.

The News Shopper enlightens  us:

A welfare and diversity officer caught up in a racism row could potentially lose her job for tweeting the words “kill all white men” and calling people “white trash”.

Goldsmiths University's officer, Bahar Mustafa has been at the centre of a media storm after banning white men from an event on diversifying the curriculum and stating on camera ethnic minority women cannot be racist.
Apparently she's trying to write it off as a joke. Yeah right tweeting #killpeople (of any kind) is not a joke.

Imagine the furore if some one tweeted that about black/brown/gay/women.... don't think anyone would be laughing. It's not funny and the woman is a disgrace as are her twisted supporters.

Non-white people can be racist!

The far-left and the far-right seem to meeting up in so many ways.

People are people. Everyone has rights. Everyone has responsibilities.

The future depends on full equality of the individual free from political and religious oppression.

Meanwhile here is Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät a group of (white men) from Finland with learning difficulties singing in Eurovision song contest.

Good for them. And good luck!

Monday, 18 May 2015

FDA union warn of 100,000 job losses in the civil service

FDA New Deal poster

The First Division Association, the union which represents the higher castes of the civil service has issued a stark warning about the potential for job losses in the civil service. The Guardian reports:

Whitehall is facing the prospect of having to shed as many as 100,000 jobs over the next five years, the union representing senior civil servants has said.

The head of the FDA, Dave Penman, said he expected the Conservative government to continue primarily targeting staffing levels as it makes yet more swingeing cuts to public spending, leading to an even greater round of public sector job cuts than those under the coalition.

He said that, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)’s analysis of the chancellor’s autumn statement, only 40% of the total cuts expected between the election of the coalition government in 2010 and the next general election in 2020 had been made.

Those cuts had come at the cost of around 80,000 jobs, Penman said, leading him to believe that the remaining 60% would cost a further 100,000.


With welfare cuts being at the centre of government plans, it  should surprise no one that up to 30,000 of these jobs could be in the DWP. Oddly the HMRC, the department that collects money also faces severe cuts of maybe up to 15,000.

The FDA is holding it's annual conference and have issued the following press release

In his speech at the FDA's annual conference on Thursday morning, the first civil service union conference to be held since the election, General Secretary Dave Penman will call on the new Government to ensure that the civil service is more than simply another mechanism to reduce the deficit, by offering a New Deal for civil servants.

This marks the launch of the FDA's 'New Government: New Deal' campaign.

Penman will tell delegates: "If the civil service is being tasked with delivering 21st century public services with pre-war resources, then the Government needs to demonstrate that valuing civil servants, ensuring that they have the rights skills, paying them fairly, matching commitments to resources and genuinely engaging with them are the critical elements of the new deal that needs to be struck with civil servants."