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On public sector strikes

In the end, whether or not a public sector union \”wins\” a strike or not depends upon what the public think of the reasons for striking.

Mr Prentis said planned changes to pensions would lead to public sector workers paying in more, receiving less in retirement and working longer.

True, but you probably don\’t what that public finding out how much longer you\’ll have to work, how much more you\’ll have to pay and how much less you\’ll get.

Because the deal you\’re being offered is still vastly better than the ones that private sector workers get so you might not get as much public support as you think.

In fact, I wouldn\’t be at all surprised to see such strikes engendering a certain anger among the general public. Possibly even abuse of pickets and the like….and wouldn\’t that be fun?


The leaders of some of Britain\’s biggest unions saw their pay and perks rocket by up to 30 per cent last year, despite the impact of the recession on their members.

Official figures reveal that some union barons have fared far better in the downturn than the \’fat cat\’ company directors they criticise, whose pay rose an average 10 per cent last year. Many union chiefs are earning six-figure pay packages.

Left-wing firebrand Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of the super-union Unite, was paid £122,108 in salary and benefits.

His pay package represents a 30 per cent increase on the previous year, when he was paid £93,407 in salary and benefits, which include a grace-and-favour flat in London.

Gosh, what should we do about this new outbreak of greed?

Surely it will be condemned by the usual suspects?

Just to give a flavour of relative values…..yes, Unite has 2 million members and at the rate of one union official per 2,000 members (that\’s the rate someone just said was about right for the public sector) that would mean say 1,000 who actually work for the union.

1,000 people ain\’t all that large an organisation, there are plenty of middle managers running that sort of sized set up out there and very few of them are on as much as £120 grand plus a grace and favour pad in London.

Disgusting I call it…..

Agency Workers and Their Rights

An interesting little story here about the "fight" to get agency workers the same rights and privileges as permanent staff.

Deborah French who worked in the slicing hall for 19 years packing bacon for Tesco and M&S is now joining her two sisters who were made redundant in that last round. One of them has not worked since. What galled her was being asked to train the agency workers who had replaced them. "This affects so many people\’s lives, so many husbands and wives and cousins and children worked in the company. It\’s the economy round here."

These are the kind of workers at the heart of a campaign being fought by unions determined to make equal rights for agency workers one of the issues of this week\’s Labour party conference. They will attack the government for failing to support a measure they say is vital to protect local and migrant workers and to stop a growing racial backlash.

Danny thinks he lost his job because there are people from other countries willing to take less pay. "The companies are just bringing in cheap labour from abroad. Migrants want a better life and good luck to them, but it\’s bringing down our way of life. If you are an unskilled English person like me you are not going to get the jobs when unskilled foreigners are cheaper."

Of course, we know this is what it\’s all about: it\’s not about upgrading the rights of the temporary workers so as to protect them. It\’s about upgrading said rights to make them more expensive, so that they will no longer be able to compete withhte indigenous labour who are the actual union members. As I say, we know this, it\’s just odd to see it being stated so baldly.

To repeat, and remember this next time some union drone goes on about it, this isn\’t about protecting the rights of migrant or agency workers. It\’s a protectionist measure to deny them jobs.