Wednesday 11 November 2015
Gerrymandering and Al-Gore-isms: "The Corporate Party" Continues to Marginalise Human Rights
With human rights groups, professional organisations, one of the government’s own regulatory bodies, as well as even some Tory MPs all coming out against the Bill, a new survey published today shows the extent of public opposition to the legislation which, if passed, would represent the most profound attack on trade unions in generations.
The poll, conducted by independent pollsters Survation on behalf of Unite, found that only 11 per cent of people ranked trade union legislation as a top ten issue that this government should be concerned with. Of the 20 issues that respondents thought their MPs should be concerned with, the NHS topped the list, with trade union legislation coming in dead last.
The Bill seeks to severely curtail industrial action through ballot thresholds and other measures that would entangle unions in impossibly bureaucratic red tape, but the vast majority of the public fully supports the fundamental right to strike, with 84 per cent expressing support for workers’ right to withdraw their labour in a dispute.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said that the poll was conclusive proof that the Bill had “no popular support”.
“This legislation is designed to take away people’s power and hand it to the few,” he said. “It’s a disgrace that at a time when the NHS is creaking at the seams this government is wasting precious Parliamentary time on a bill that only benefits bosses who want to cut your pay, steal your pension or lay you off.”
Prime minister David Cameron has said that the imposition of strike thresholds was motivated by a desire to increase low turnouts, but so far he has rejected an easy and pragmatic solution proposed by Unite and other trade unions — secure workplace balloting.
Currently, strike ballots are conducted by post — an obsolete method that has historically suppressed turnouts. The government has expressed concern that modern balloting methods such as electronic voting and workplace balloting are insecure and open to fraud or intimidation.
What the government has failed to acknowledge is that workplace ballots are nothing new. In fact, they are currently in use under UK employment law.
Secure workplace balloting is an accepted industrial practice as an option for union recognition ballots through the government’s own Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).
A review of workplace ballots conducted so far shows that they significantly increase turnout — in workforces with more than 50 workers, 93.75 per cent of workplace ballots over union recognition had a return rate of more than 90 per cent, with no workplace having a turnout of less than 80 per cent.
Contradicting the government’s contention that these ballots are open to fraud, the Electoral Reform Services, an organisation highly experienced in running industrial ballots, has confirmed that it is perfectly possible to run workplace ballots that are secret and secure against fraud or intimidation.
The public too, overwhelmingly supports workplace balloting. In the Survation poll, of those expressing an opinion a full 71 per cent supported giving workers the ability to vote for industrial action at work.
McCluskey highlighted this as evidence that “most people want to see industrial action ballots modernised by giving workers the right to vote securely at work”.
“If the government was serious about boosting participation it would make sense to give people the right to vote securely at work on issues that affect their lives at work,” he said.
On Sunday (November 8), leaders of some of the country’s biggest local authorities, representing the “northern powerhouse” wrote an open letter published in the Independent on Sunday calling on the government to back down on the trade union Bill.
“Taking on more responsibility for improving public services and growing our local economies means working in partnership with our communities and our workforce – in ways that are right for the areas we represent,” the letter read. “So we fail to understand why the government wishes to tell us how we manage relationships with the unions that represent our employees.”
“Good employment relations are essential for high-quality public services,” the letter continued. “We want the flexibility and freedom to agree partnership arrangements that work for our local areas without micro-management from Whitehall.”
The letter was signed by leaders of combined authorities in the North-east, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region and Sheffield City Region.
Devolved governments in Wales and Scotland, too, have vociferously opposed the Bill, with councils in Scotland suggesting they would not implement the Bill if it were passed into law. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said in September, too, that provisions in the Bill incontrovertibly fell within the scope of devolved powers and pledged to oppose the legislation if it were passed.
And during today’s report stage of the Bill, a Tory rebellion is brewing, with Tory MP for Stafford set to table an amendment which will reverse the proposed ban on “check-off”, a process that enables union subscriptions to be automatically deducted from public sector workers’ pay.
Lefroy hit out against the government’s argument that check-off is outdated and a burden on taxpayers, calling this position “complete nonsense”.
As UNITElive highlighted in August, unions always offer to pay administrative fees, which are in any case often negligibly small. Many private sector employers which use check-off often voluntarily agree to pay administrative costs themselves.
“As a Conservative, I don’t believe in banning things,“ Lefroy said, noting also that he has the backing of several other Tory MPs. “Individuals and organisations should be free to negotiate agreements between themselves as they see fit.”
Speaking on the BBC’s HARDtalk programme yesterday evening, McCluskey highlighted that the trade union Bill, if passed, would “create chaos” and again urged the government to consider the pragmatic solutions, through modernised workplace balloting, that he has proposed. But, he warned, no matter the outcome of today’s debate, McCluskey pledged that he “will support our members”.
Stay tuned on UNITElive as the Bill goes through its final stage tonight. You can follow the debate live on Parliament TV here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2fed57d5-68f3-4867-bdfa-44f68ab93ee5 "
Go to: http://unitelive.org/no-support/
Arafel Comment: "Apart from attempting to co-opt the Liberals and undermine The House of Lords this Tory Party continue to gnaw away at the foundations of all Britain's human rights legislation and legal precedence from a position of extremely dubious mandate, they are however correct in the assumption that they are to a certain extent "untouchable" but only in the sense that Capone might have believed himself so, quote; "A series of talks about election fraud in the US, including the observation that unexpected swing results have been seen in the UK and Israel recently, prompting speculation that the practice is spreading from America (where it is fair to say that it is well documented with evidence).
Anyone seen any hint that GE15 is being investigated for possible rigging?" ...............
"More accurately "Algorithmic profiling of the demographics" (apologies), nm Posted by Gerard [User Info] on May 9, 2015, 10:15 am" ...which accounts for all the "Al-Gore-isms"!
"Were the polls* bent Daddy?"
Posted by Gerard [User Info] on May 16, 2015, 7:16 pm
I just got off the phone to my father (who is 80 today!), former President of The National Institute of Printing, former Liberal PPC for Tonbridge (N. or S ? - I was only a toddler-), former mathematics lecturer at The London College of Printing (both my father and grandfather were "in the print" as they say), in his day one of the top 3-4 commercial mathematicians in Europe, worked for ACAS, still an active Liberal and an aquaintance and collegue of Mr.Patrick.Ashdown (& much else besides). During our telephone conversation I asked my father; "What did you think of the polls before the election? Surely they were..." "...Bent son, twisted, mangled and a setup designed to manipulate the popular media" My father is not given to flights of fancy on subjects as serious as this.." .........
""U.K may be in death throws but what of "The Wider Europe"?
Posted by Gerard [User Info] on May 8, 2015, 2:00 pm
Cameron has an hooooge domestic 'eadache but it's not his health I worry about with regard to Europe. We must now have a referendum on E.U membership, Britain seems to need another shakedown but the storm-troopers must be purged following Kristallnacht so expect a Night of the Long Knives over Europe**, but how and where? It will be those in the U.S administration with most influence over NATO and those with the most economic clout in the European market place (and the "all-seeing-eyes" -those who are both-), who will be experiencing the sleepless nights and worrying about who they are going to blame and how they are going to set them up for burning down The Reichstag." All posts to MediaLens message board.
*I did say "Poles"...I'll put it down to a freudian slip ("all activities are just degenerate forms of bending" Bender Bending Rodriguez)!
**Ah! The benefits of hindsight..."Are All Our Polls Bent?" Go to: http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/are-our-poles-all-bent.html
Quote; "is Europe only for the businessmen then? It seems so (quote; "The free movement of persons was a core part of the original Treaty of Rome" go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement ). One would think that it would be the job of our country's liberal-left to point out the diminishment of person that not becoming signatories to The Shengen Agreement represented but noooo as so often where European politics is concerned there was a terrible silence in the oppositional barn." Go to: ""The European Arrest Warrant" Should be Applied to this Bunch!": http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-european-arrest-warrant-should-be.html
According to both our politicians and the Mainstream Media The British people are faced with a stark choice; either remain in The Greater Europe and go-down-with-the-ship or abandon the vessel completely and take our chances on the open sea! The trouble is a two-state-solution does not suit the monetarised NATO/Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agenda that now drives European politics (one reason Cameron would really like to see us in rather than out of Europe**). Cameron's attempted bi-partisan stance has already had it's consequences for British democracy, quote: "Those forces within the European Union which are pushing for the federally administrated fascism of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ("TTIP"), and the "Nato-isation" of Eastern Europe have no interest in democracy such as that represented by the exercise of their rights of self-determination by the European Electorate (or anyone else come to that)! That any politician or any commentator should have considered that entering into a vote on independence for the Scottish People without first determining how Scotland (and the rest of the U.K), would cope economically and continue to trade with the rest of The World should the vote be "Yes" is clearly asinine. Or is it? Not if you depend for your power-base on anachronistic institutions which are anathema to the "modern" (community centred), democratic process it isn't! Perhaps Alex Salmond felt powerless against The Eurasian State but does this excuse his seeming lack of ability to go toe-to-toe with The Euro-fascists on the issue of currency union? Certainly the fire-breathing Euro-dragon has become a formidable and heavily armed opponent for any single postulant or squire." Go to; "The Omerta's Blind Spot?: http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-omertas-blind-spot.html
Racists and bigots who wish merely to demonise others and draw attention away from the true causes of the crisis that afflicts us can easily exploit such a polarised situation, this is why the rights of self-determination and the free movement of persons are essential to the health of European democracy.The Americans say: "it's the economy stupid" but is that because they are? The cultural, religious and ethnic problems which beset Europe in The Twentieth Century were to be ameliorated and the previous hurts repaired (eventually), by the integration (at least partially), of the formerly warring European States, surely it is therefore no lie to state that Europe has failed in its endeavours when war becomes the only solution (and -yet again-, and arm-of-business), as in the cases of both Yugoslavia and The Ukraine***?
*Not an aim it is impossible to sympathise with especially when you live (as I do), close to an American base on British soil.
**What posturing! What duplicity! Surely dear reader the man who portrays himself as a "reluctant European" would not have signed-up our National Health Service to the TTIP agenda? Quote: "The UK government has no plans to exclude the NHS, or any other public service, from the free trade agreement which is being negotiated between the EU and US.
Speaking to journalists today, Trade Minister Lord Livingston said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would not have any impact on the NHS and, therefore, the UK negotiation team will not be pushing for its exclusion.
"The idea that this will lead to privatisation of the NHS is not true," Livingston said, adding that individual procurement groups will make decisions over whether to use US healthcare providers and that should TTIP come into effect, "the NHS will still look like it does today".
The statement serves to clarify the government's stance and comes despite pressure from trade unions and NGOs to veto the inclusion of public services in TTIP." Go to; "TTIP: Government Will Not Exclude NHS From Free Trade Agreement": http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ttip-government-will-not-exclude-nhs-free-trade-agreement-1463454
***What value The Nobel Peace prize when it is given (unearned and undeserved), to those who go on to perpetrate and perpetuate war?" From "The Omerta's Deceivers" Go to: http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-omertas-deceivers.html
Also see; "Is David Cameron Actively Seeking to Destroy the Lords?" Go to: http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/is-david-cameron-actually-seeking-to.html