Features

Unions vs workers – this is David Cameron’s chance to strike back

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

The People’s Assembly, the self-appointed left-wing pressure group behind the recent anti-austerity demonstrations, portrays itself as the voice of the masses struggling under oppressive Tory rule. It claims that no fewer than 250,000 demonstrators went to its rally in central London last month (a figure dutifully regurgitated by broadcasters). But photographs of the event in London indicate no more than 25,000 attended.

The bogusness does not stop there. Despite its demotic name, the People’s Assembly is no spontaneous uprising of the angry British public. On the contrary, the organisation, which counts the comedian Russell Brand and the Guardian columnist Owen Jones among its noisiest advocates, is bankrolled by the trade unions, those wealthy institutions that have been part of Britain’s political landscape since the 19th century. At least 11 trade unions are backing the group, including the National Union of Teachers, Unison, the Communication Workers Union and Unite, led by the notorious Merseyside firebrand Len McCluskey, who keeps a drawing of Lenin in his office.

Not content with organising puppet demonstrations, the unions are conducting a fresh assault on the working public. This week London has been preparing for a 24-hour strike on the London Underground. The drivers’ union Aslef promises a ‘complete shutdown of the entire underground system’. We will then experience three days of misery on the First Great Western network, led by members of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers), who are apparently aggrieved at the loss of guards’ jobs on some new trains. A further strike is probable on Northern Rail, over ‘jobs and safety’, again courtesy of the RMT. Some eight million of us could find our travels disrupted.

Nor will the paralysis be confined to transport. Unions at the National Gallery have organised 47 days of strike action this year in response, among other things, to the dismissal of a union official. The Probation Service will be hit next week by a stoppage over pay. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is also holding a strike ballot of its members at the driving licence agency in Swansea in a dispute about weekend bonus payments. The perennial classroom warriors of the National Union of Teachers voted at their recent conference in Harrogate to back potential future strike action over pay and pensions.

It is telling that this spirit of confrontation is almost wholly the preserve of the public services. The unions are now largely the creatures of the public sector, with their memberships disproportionately drawn from the state payroll. Just one in seven private sector workers is unionised, compared with just over half of state employees. It is a pattern that has grossly distorted the nature and activity of the trade unions, making them eager to exploit their monopolistic power in defence of vested interests instead of engaging in dialogue for the wider economic good, like their counterparts in Sweden and Germany.

Once trade unions were the authentic voice of the British working class. Now they are noisy pressure groups for a narrow part of the national workforce. One Labour supporter, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, wrote recently that ‘when the trade unions are weakened, the rights of all working people are compromised, and we’ll all suffer for that’. This sentimental rhetoric, all too common on the left, is wrongheaded. The unions used to be allies of working people; now they are adversaries.

Enterprise and growth are constantly jeopardised by union antics. Sensible reform in the state sector is regularly thwarted by the threat of union trouble. Isn’t it about time we said enough is enough? Something has to be done to emasculate these evangelists for failure and conflict — and David Cameron, now with a Conservative majority, is ideally placed to do it.


The ability of the last coalition government to take on the unions was limited by the posturing of Liberal Democrats — especially by Vince Cable, the anti-business secretary, always eager to brandish his left-wing credentials. Cable even neutered a review into union practices that was designed to end the kind of intimidatory actions which took place during the notorious Grangemouth oil refinery dispute, which included demonstrations outside the homes of executives.

Even so, useful steps have been taken in the past five years. The government cut state funding for union officials in the public sector. The number of taxpayer-bankrolled representatives has been drastically reduced, from 250 to just eight in the civil service.

In a second welcome move, the coalition ended the practice of check-off, whereby trade union subscriptions were collected directly by the civil service from staff salaries. This absurd anomaly not only placed an administrative burden on the employer but also inflated union membership beyond real support. Check-off was designed for an era before most employees had bank accounts; when workers were asked to set up direct debit payments, a great many decided there were better uses for their money. Once its members had greater freedom, the PCS found its coffers emptying; it is now selling its Clapham headquarters to a private equity firm.

Action was also taken against union bullying — but not enough. The time has come for the Prime Minister to take a long look at the unions, and what they have become. A rational assessment of the situation makes the case for much further reform.

The unions’ language of class struggle is as outdated as the working practices they are so keen to maintain. Far from being oppressed, most public-sector workers enjoy higher pay, greater job security, longer holidays, better pensions and shorter hours than staff in the private sector. Indeed, many of those currently engaged in strike action on the railways are extremely well remunerated. Underground drivers earn almost £50,000 — almost a third more than their average passenger — but still not enough to stop them striking. The average pay of maintenance engineers is £42,000, having risen 40 per cent in the past ten years, while the RMT leader Mick Cash, who likes to see himself as the champion of the proletariat, is thought to enjoy an annual pay package worth £138,000.

Things are getting worse, not better. Last year, the number of days lost to union stoppages was 788,000, treble that in 2012 — and 716,000 of these days were in the public sector. The unions’ continuing slide away from the mainstream and towards the political fringes is shown in other ways, such as their support for the candidacy of the dogmatic left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in the current Labour leadership contest. Already five major unions have endorsed him, including the RMT, the Fire Brigades Union and Unite, which said that his policies ‘were most closely aligned’ with its own. Given that Corbyn is an unreconstructed Trotskyite who supports Hezbollah and loathes capitalism, that says a lot about McCluskey’s union.

Nor, for all their talk about standing up for the people, are the unions remotely democratic or representative. Fewer than a third of Southern Rail engineers, for instance, voted for the present industrial action, while barely two in five RMT members at First Great Western voted at all in their strike ballot. It is intolerable that millions of commuters should effectively be held to ransom by a self-serving minority. With a majority government, the Prime Minister is no longer forced to tolerate it.

Mr Cameron can now tighten the conditions under which a strike could be held. At present, the lives of millions can be disrupted on the votes of a tiny minority of members. In one grotesque recent case, a London bus strike was threatened earlier this year on the support of 16 per cent of those entitled to vote. The Conservatives have pledged to introduce a threshold of 40 per cent. That would end the ability of hardliners to disrupt public services without the support of the majority.

The Trades Union Bill — when it comes — should also include a stipulation that the decision of a strike ballot should be time-limited. Last year, the NUT was still holding one-day strikes on the basis of a vote taken in 2012, in which just a quarter of its membership voted. By stopping unions from voting on industrial action too far into the future, such scandals could be prevented.

Other proposals could include directing greater power and resources to the independent trade unions certification officer, so that accounts and memberships can be properly audited, and a legal requirement that members should opt in to paying the political levy rather than opting out. In Northern Ireland, where an opt-in scheme already exists, just a third of union members volunteer to pay the levy.

The Tories should further consider ending the unions’ immunity from claims for damages arising from strikes. This exemption, introduced through the Trade Disputes Act of 1906, is unique among British institutions and confers on the unions a tremendous amount of power without any commensurate responsibility. It is a privilege that has lingered far too long. Even Margaret Thatcher in her 1980s pomp did not end the exemption but only limited its scope.

Well, this is the unfinished business from Mrs Thatcher’s time. The trade unions should no longer be allowed to behave with such arrogance towards the public. They should be made accountable for their actions. Frances O’Grady, the head of the TUC, recently described talk of restricting union power as ‘a democratic outrage’. But the real outrage is the behaviour of her movement. Its left-wing ideology, championed by Ed Miliband, was comprehensively rejected by the electorate. The Tory government now has a mandate to put the unions in their place. They should not be afraid to do so.

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Show comments
  • Peter L

    Time was when a strike was the only means employees had of extracting
    even subsistence wages from (private sector) employers. Fair enough – the workers had to organise collectively or be crushed individually.

    That doesn’t apply today. Employment legislation means decent basic Ts&Cs. Globalisation has pushed manufacturing employers at risk of strikes offshore, or driven both sides into sensible employee relations. Ever heard of a strike at
    Nissan in Sunderland?

    That doesn’t apply in the public sector. There is no moral case for trade unions with a monopoly over a public service to be allowed to blackmail their fellow
    citizens. Why should workers on the minimum wage be denied a day’s wages because the Tube drivers go on strike? If the Tube unions had a moment’s
    consideration for their fellow citizens they would work normally, but refuse to
    man the barriers or sell tickets – disadvantaging the employer not the public.

    There is no moral case whether they all vote to strike or just 50% plus one. Such strikes should be banned. If the individuals concerned want to withdraw their labour, fine. Let them get a job somewhere else.

    • Mary_Carter
    • robyn_wstansbury

      @HGJMK ✯✔✯✔

    • Fairly Educated Scot

      The trade union movement is the REASON we have decent Ts&Cs, not retaining a reasonable deterrant to the naturally regressive business world would be madness and would result in said Ts&Cs being rolled back.
      I work in the private sector but I fully understand why public sector workers would want to strike; 5 years of frozen wages to pay for the banker’s crisis shouldn’t sit well with anyone.

      • Alexsandr

        yes and they did a good job. the T&C’s are in law. they can wither and die.

        • Alex

          And being undermined constantly by Conservative administrations. For example, extending statutory probation to two years, and requiring a contribution of £2,500 to take a case to tribunal.

          • Alexsandr

            or you could look to france where the employment laws are such that companies dare not employ people because of the restrictions.
            And why not the contribution? Tribunals cost the taxpayer dear. why can the users pay a contribution? and if it stops vexatious claims then good.
            You have to strike a balance between employment protection and a flexible workforce. Too much regulation is bad for the economy and therefore employment levels.

          • Alex

            At least the French are honest about their unemployment, rather than hiding it with underemployment and taking away workers’ rights just for the sake of some pretty stats. That’s why they have such higher productivity.

          • HJ777

            The Labour Force Survey (the generally accepted measure of unemployment) figures are compiled according to internationally accepted ILO standards. Therefore they are pretty comparable across countries.

            The JSA claimant count is, of course, a measure of who is allowed to claim and and is a poor indicator of the actual numbers unemployed.

        • Fairly Educated Scot

          Great logic so once a law is in place you don’t need a deterrent to enforce it? Lets abolish the police as well then?

      • McRobbie

        The 5 years of frozen wages are due to the balloon and co spending all our money after believing his own bluster about having ended boom and bust…he got the boom bit right. I’ve experience of public sector trade unions first hand….their reps do nothing that doesn’t suit their personal survival in comfort plans, and that includes making deals with management even in breach of employment law.

        • spiritof78

          So the sub-prine scandal, rescue of the banks, and world recession are nothing to do with the bust, and subsequent deficits?

      • Call me Dave

        The trade union movement is also the reason we have no proper manufacturing industry in this country, a much smaller docks business, a more or less non existent mining industry…. the list is endless. And before the warriors of the left start having a go I come from a working class family which included union officials in coal mining, dock workers, car manufacturers etc etc. I saw the damage the TUC did to this country up close and personal in the 60’s. 70’s and 80’s, I saw the corruption, the physical and mental intimidation and the criminal/treasonable behaviour that was just a mater of course to these men of the Left . Of course unions provided a service for their members but when that behaviour becomes political they should be held to account.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          You prefer bosses should ride roughshod over the workers.

          • Caractacus

            Maybe in America bosses rode roughshod over the workers, in Britain the Unions actively destroyed industries because they are full of Fred Kites.

        • Noa

          Trade unions are not the only reason, Britain preferred giving herself an unaffordable welfare state at the end of WW2 rather than gearing up her industries, and their leaders, for the contemporary dominance of the US and the forthcoming economic challenges from the reviving economies of Germany and Japan.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        After pension contributions Civil Servants earn less now than in 2008. They are now stuck with less than 1% pa for four more years and permanently reduced pensions and redundancy terms.Why would you not seek to defend your terms?
        I have been on strike four times , but I belong to no union.

        • Fairly Educated Scot

          I agree with your position, both of my parents are civil servants. See above, “I fully understand why public sector workwers would want to strike”.

        • Caractacus

          If you choose to work for the government and receive its gold plated wages, you need to accept that Government pay and conditions are dependent on the success of the economy or otherwise. Just as Tesco workers are aware that their pay is dependent on the success of Tesco. When Tesco stuffs up (as it has done in the past five years) it is forced to sack people and freeze wages. Pay and conditions can go backwards as well as forwards.

          If your pay and conditions are frozen. That is because of the economy. Tough luck, we are all suffering. You are still better off than the majority of the country. Stop moaning or change jobs.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            But that idiot Osborne keeps saying the economy is thriving. GDP up 2.5%, wages up 2.9%, Britain deserves a pay rise he says. He is using the crunch 7 years ago to as an excuse to continue his dogmatic attacks on public service. He wants it to dail. He hopes to get monkeys , by paying peanuts.

  • Chet Carter

    Unions are largely a creature of the public sector and only one in seven private sector workers are unionised. Most public sector workers enjoy higher pay, greater job security, longer holidays, better pensions and shorter hours. Leo might have identified a link here but can’t quite work it out.

    • fundamentallyflawed

      NO NO NO.. The public sector work longer hours, get paid less, have rubbish pensions and no job security.. Didn’t you get the memo?

      • Richard

        You will also find it is the private sector workers who have to pay for the bloated and spoilt public sector. The public sector, although necessary, does not create wealth.

        • nick

          What do you do in your job? Do you create wealth?

          How much wealth do you think you’d be creating if you didn’t have the education, good health, security, economic conditions, infrastructure, etc, all provided by the public sector?

          • WFB56

            I have created more than 1000 jobs in the past decade, more than half of which are unionised. However, my education was private, my health care was and is private, I provide my own security because I know that the police are useless and I pay for the infrastructure I use through excessive fees and taxes.

            When you’ve actually accomplished something in life, perhaps, people will listen to your hogwash, but for now, not so much.

          • Fairly Educated Scot

            How much of that do you think you’d have achieved without the massive advantage your private education gave you?
            Donald Trump logic there “I’m a self-made man, apart from the couple hundred million my dad gave me.”

          • nick

            So you’re alright, Jack?
            If only we could all be as productive as you society would be a glorious utopia.
            Your private healthcare and education… who paid for that before you were a successful wealth creator? Would you recommend everyone get rich parents like you?
            The 1000 people you’ve employed… how many of them were educated in the public sector, or owed their health and security to the public sector?
            Going to admit that you’d be absolutely nowhere without the public sector?
            PS. You know nothing about my accomplishments in life so don’t take cheap shots. Even if you did create thousands of jobs, which I don’t believe you have, you’re clearly an unpleasant person.

  • Dan Grover

    I don’t think there’s any real need to do anything. Today’s Tube strike has shut down the entire network but, othe than today, I can’t remember the last time a strike really had a tangible effect. We hardly have rubbish and bodies piling up in the street, do we? Usually when one of the Tube unions strike, it just means you need to wait four minutes rather than two for the next train. Their power is dwindling with their members and it won’t be long before they thrash themselves to death. Why expend the political capital in some unneccesary confrontation? Keep the powder dry for things that won’t just work themselves out, I say. If these student-politic-sounding, would-be working class heroes want to below and march, let them. Who cares?

    • fundamentallyflawed

      Ask working parents who have to take unpaid leave from work or put pressure on family for childcare because their schools are shut about tangible effects.
      However I agree there is little need to do anything. There is definitely a place for unions in the workplace but they have become protection rackets the mafia would have been proud of. Each strike reduces public sympathy and strengthens the governments hand against them

      • Dan Grover

        I’ll defer to your wisdom when it comes to schools – I’m not a parent and I’ll be honest, strikes by teachers really don’t catch my attention! But I’ve no reason to think you’re not correct there.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Of course, and you want your kids taught by demotivated teachers who are on the same pay as a decade ago

          • HJ777

            That’s why the government shouldn’t be either running schools or setting teachers’ pay.

      • Sten vs Bren

        “Ask working parents who have to take unpaid leave from work or put
        pressure on family for childcare because their schools are shut about
        tangible effects.”

        Why don’t the working parents get their trade unions to assist them with their employers inflexible approach to the needs of their employees and their families?

        • Game Bird

          Are you suggesting parents strike as the same time?

    • justejudexultionis

      So you would get rid of unions altogether? Why not just go the whole way and have a one-party state and ban all forms of free and reasonable political organisation, including the right to protest in public areas?

      • Dan Grover

        I literally don’t think you could have misinterpreted my post any more than you have. My entire point was that the government doesn’t *need* to ban them or crack down on their activities or whatever else – they’ll wither and die as less and less people opt to become members. I don’t think the government should ban them, but my prediction of terminal decline could only be averted, I think, by the government actively *forcing* people to join which, obviously, no sane person wants. So the answer to all of your questions is “No.”

      • Dan O’Connor

        Don’t worry Biff .
        The Muslims your mob imported will get rid of the unions, and the Left because they hate every thing the Left stands for , WHEN
        ( not IF ) they become a majority in about oooh , er …7 election cycles time .

        • Shazza

          Never a truer word was spoken.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            But it was written.

        • post_x_it

          They may hate everything the left stands for, but their brand of conservatism is hardly of the free-market variety that believes in individual liberty and responsibility.

      • balance_and_reason

        I think we all agree that an outfit representing workers and their interests, especially when workers are vulnerable and unable to stand up for themselves, is reasonable.
        The issue at hand is when an organisation(s) has been politically co opted and is being used for ends which actually are not consistent with the interests of the workers.
        We saw this with the marxist unions in the sixties’s and seventies effectively destroying British Industry at the behest of their soviet masters; the battle largely being eventually won with huge cost by Thatcher whilst the poor ignorant saps thought it was a battle against the workers…..a lot of jobs lost because the industries couldn’t function…the parasite killed the host…did the unions give a damn?
        We now have a situation where largely monopolistic situations are worked by the unions to milk the government, thus taxpayer, under blackmail of withdrawal of service…with the actual service to the public trailing a massive distance behind in the unions mind, if at all…teachers/transport/health….all nice blackmail opportunities. It is no coincidence that these are area’s where productivity and levels of ‘service’ have been dire and the public damaged and short changed…they are a cancer, and need to be excised.

  • polistra24

    Currently unions are just another monopolistic corrupt self-serving bureaucracy. But many industries could benefit from REAL unions that serve the workers. Ideal solution would be to start new unions and crowd out the corrupt ones. Won’t happen of course, but it would actually help a lot of people.

  • Simkins25

    Let them strike, this isn’t the 1970s, this is a middle class country where families pay out over half their salaries in taxes and mortgages and have no time any more for the bleating, pathetic feet stamping of the Unions or its lackeys. People have to get to work to earn that salary so they can give away at least half of it before they can feed their own children. Meanwhile the Unions strike and stop people going because the sandwich bar is being closed or a couple of overpaid guards are being retired early or, more realistically, because it’s their way trying to reverse their increasing irrelevance. So let them all strike for as long as they want and at the end of it we can finally be rid of the Unions altogether.

  • Chris

    A great article .Probably the best I’ve read on here.
    Yes, there is a place for trade unions in the UK just like there is a place for an honest police force but unfortunately, they are once again starting to yield far too much power which they are using to bully the majority of us for purely selfish reasons. When a police force becomes unaccountable it becomes a danger to society and needs to be culled and brought under control. It has now once again come to the point where this country’s trades unions are threatening the fabric of the society that we all live in. It’s time to put them back in their box along with The BBC who are another serious threat to us all but that’s an article for another day.

    • Cymrugel

      Honestly run businesses that pay their taxes and politicians who declare their interests would be nice too.

      • Cymrugel

        The odd writer on the speccy who has at least a modicum of insight into how people who did not go to private school, Oxbridge and then get a leg up from Daddy’s chums would also be nice.

        Don’t mind them sometimes but with the exception of the gadfly Liddle they might as well come out of a mould.

        They have about as much insight into the lives of anyone not from their own background as I do into the lifecycle of the horseshoe crab.

        • McRobbie

          You must be talking about train drivers..they only get their overpaid positions thanks to patronage within the train service, and the trade unions complain bitterly at any suggestion that a job should be advertised openly.

          • Alex

            The competition for these few well paid jobs is such that you need an engineering degree to even be in with a chance.

            People have got the whole thing the wrong way round. The tube drivers have a strong union. Had the unions not been crushed, everyone would be getting paid that sort of wage, and people wouldn’t feel that train drivers was overpaid. While I do think they are a bit overpaid, the real headline is more that everyone else is so criminally underpaid, and how wages have stagnated since 1980 while GDP and asset wealth has shot up.

  • Dan O’Connor

    Apart from the EU , Conservative / Labour / Liberal parties , the Capitalists , the universities and the mainstream media , the Trotskyite / Leninist Union mafia have been another driving force behind the replacement of their own native peoples and they are all supporting signatories and funders to organisations like the State strong arm UAF thugs that get bussesed in to disrupt with violence any peaceful dissent or demonstrations against this state organised demographic terrorism , so the police have a pretext to outlaw them.

  • CaseyAAvera

    High Quality performance spectator…. <…. Find Here

    • justejudexultionis

      Yes, but has it really made you happy?

      • Simkins25

        She doesn’t look miserable does she?

        • MA0

          Perhaps a bit lonely.

  • right1_left1

    I am absolutely certain that it was only a slip of the memory that caused the author of the article to omit the restrictive practices and collective greed of those who represent doctors , lawyers , farmers , upper echelon civil servants etc
    ie ALL those at the top of the economic tree.

    lets go get them asap.

  • justejudexultionis

    Yes, and let’s abolish local councils, habeas corpus, jury trials, free elections etc., sell off our entire national asset inventory to foreign bidders, have our government controlled by anonymous oligarchs in the Cayman Islands and reintroduce the Combination Acts and transportation to the colonies for stealing a loaf of bread. There are some very deluded Mammon-worshippers writing for this corporate rag.

    • Lancastrian_Oik

      A whole army of straw men there.

      What a silly post.

      • Dan O’Connor

        ” transporation to the colonise for stealing a loaf of bread ”

        You forgot to bung in ” reinstate the satanic mills of the 18th century ” and you accuse me of strawman arguments

        Well, I didn’t expect any other response from a 6th form A level hippy Social Justice Warrior .

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Gumby.

    • Dan O’Connor

      Be careful of the false paradigms of false opposites
      The anti-nationalist / internationalist /globalist / corporatist Tory party is not the exact opposite of the anti-nationalist internationalist / globalist / corporatist Labour party

      The present systen we live under in the West can be best descibed as Left Capitalist, It is Capitalism within the economic sphere and Cultural Marxism
      ( Political Correctness ) within the cultural sphere
      Both ride on each others coat tails in a symbiotic relationship of merged interests. This is why Western universties that have become the personal fiefdoms of the Left align perfectly with the people in power
      Goldman Sachs goes hand in hand with your multiculti sensitivities training course and Fortune 500 companies donate to Left activist groups who combat ” White privilege ”
      There is no opposition from the Left to Capitalism . The new Left are a new emerging middle / upper class Technocracy , intellectual aristocracy / priesthood who have no working class roots. They are the Left wing though police of the Capitalist Plutocracy
      You are not the opposition , I am. I’m a nationalist .

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Oh dear. This idiot thinks he is a scientist.

    • Dan O’Connor

      A whole army of 6th form A level shoutey strawmen

      When’s the last time that any middle / upper class Lefty gave a crap about the White working class who they have always despised , as we can see from the 16 year long criminally complict deafening silence to what was happening in Rotherham and a dozen other towns to our young children

      Lefties are all global compassion posing hype
      They must be , because they claim they feel a deep affinity with everyone of the 7 billion people on the planet that they’ve never met .. Apart from their own native peoples naturally

    • davidofkent

      When you leave school and get a job, you will view things differently.

  • Gavin Brown

    A very important piece ! The collateral damage caused by these leftie warlords is simply no longer acceptable. It’s time for real “people power” to criminalize the acts of unions where these impose damages and suffering on citizens with little or no influence over the settlement of these tediously repetitive disputes. I challenge the Tube strike committee to debate their class struggle directly with the crowds at Oxford Circus.

  • Fraziel

    I agree with a lot of what you say Leo but sadly a lot of it is also subjective cobblers.


    In a second welcome move, the coalition ended the practice of check-off, whereby trade union subscriptions were collected directly by the civil service from staff salaries. This absurd anomaly not only placed an administrative burden on the employer but also inflated union membership beyond real support.”

    Well firstly you actually have to actively choose to join the PCS union to have money deducted through check off, it is not taken automatically from all members and therefore does not inflate union membership. Secondly, other voluntary dues are automatically deducted from Civil service wages such as civil service sports council , Hassra or the civil service charity. The government had no problem with those and they are being allowed to continue despite your so called admin burden which in reality doesn’t exist.

    Check off was ended as an ideological attack, no other reason, and to say otherwise is sheer , misinformed utter nonsense.

    ” Far from being oppressed, most public-sector workers enjoy higher pay, greater job security, longer holidays, better pensions and shorter hours than staff in the private sector”

    That might be true for many but its certainly not true for many low paid civil servants now in their 9th year of pay restraint and which will have hit 13 years after Gideons recent announcement. Approx 82% of civil servants in DWP earn under 19k a year yet they will be further hammered by a pay cap designed to hold back wages for the relatively well paid in the public sector such as rail workers, teachers nurses etc.

    Thats people doing the right thing, working hard, contributing and doing a thankless , stressful , complex, highly pressurised job for peanuts.Not really sure how that can be justified. Its only a metter of time before serious recruitment/ retention issues arise. lots of anecdotal evidence that its already happening and thats before we look at how profoundly unfair it is.

    • MA0

       “Its only a metter of time before serious recruitment/ retention issues arise.”

      At which point the employer will be forced to raise wages. That’s the joy of capitalism: no blackmail involved, just mutual advantage.

      • Alexsandr

        or they will mechanise.

  • red2black

    Aren’t the Conservatives supposed to be in favour of deregulation?

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      The Consevatives favour whatever lines the pockets of the 1%..

  • davidofkent

    Whenever there is a Conservative government, the unions disagree with the voters’ choice and attempt to bring it down. Some of us remember the miners’ strikes in the 1970s and also the way they got their comeuppance in the 1980s. It is surely time for the same to be done to the transport unions. They serve no useful purpose and make life difficult for the people who provide this country with its economy.

    • red2black

      They seem to have spat their dummies out quite a few times when there’s been a Labour government as well.

      • davidofkent

        Fair Point, but the unions didn’t consider the Blair government a true Labour government.

        • red2black

          “Now is the winter of our discontent…”
          Mr Callaghan and others copped for it as well.

          • McRobbie

            Can you recall that event..it happened after callaghan and co spent all our money….now where have I heard that line used since ?

          • red2black

            The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1984 production of Richard III? Or perhaps one of the later ones?

  • Mary_Carter
  • Matthew Stevens

    I see a lot of privileged, wealthy, sheltered and staggeringly naive young people desperate to prove how ‘down with the working man’ they are by siding with the tube drivers, despite the fact that they earn a starting salary of around £50k and have 40 days annual leave in a year.

    Of course, pointing out that nurses, firefighters, teachers and policemen are paid far less, as well as the fact that the average wage is £26.5k, very often provides enough of a pebble for them to slip on, and provoke some variant of the following reaction:

    “I fail to see why there’s so much opprobrium directed at a group of people who are standing up for and protecting their rights. Everyone should join a union – they do good work, most of it behind the scenes.”

    “Don’t be jealous of the fact that tube drivers are able to unionise themselves effectively! If your pay is too low! Then fight for your rights and fight for a pay rise!”

    Of course, such a response betrays the fact that such people fail to realise:

    1) That the vast majority of ordinary working Londoners are working in jobs where they are instantly replaceable with far cheaper labour should they kick up a fuss.

    2) Most workers can’t bring down an entire city with their industrial action should they attempt to go on strike, and as such aren’t in a position to have any impact on their company or employer.

    3) Most workers don’t work for a company that has a monopoly on a mode of transport that leaves consumers with no other options when the service is withdrawn.

    4) That many employees have their right to strike/form a union outright banned in their contract. Of course, most employees have to suck this up as there is still so much competition for jobs

    5) That most employees do not have the privilege of having their jobs only advertised to people ALREADY WORKING WITHIN THAT ORGANISATION.

    …try it. Find a page on TFL where you can apply to be a trainee tube driver…

    …I’ll wait….

    …yup. Nothing of the sort exists. I wonder why that could be?

    So yeah, seriously. F*** the tube drivers.

    My sympathy and solidarity is with the vast majority of the ordinary working people of London riding in overcrowded, stinking trains on their way to work far harder and for far less money than the gang of extortionate, privileged, bullies driving the train.

    • hodgingthemarkets

      Can you see why Dan Grover’s comment is better than yours, honey bun?

    • post_x_it

      Yes, it rather reminds me of the youth in France and Spain who go on marches protesting against any softening of restrictive employment laws which provide job security, a 35 hour week and a generous pension to those in permanent employment – completely missing the point that these are the very causes of the high rates of youth unemployment that keep young people out of the labour market altogether, or at best in a precarious existence of endless internships and short-term contracts.
      It takes some genius on behalf of the unions to persuade so many people to shoot themselves so squarely in the foot in the name of solidarity with people who are actually much better off then they will ever be.

      • Cymrugel

        So what is needed is lower wages, fewer benefits, less or no job security, crap pensions and get rid of the unions- hey that will sort out youth unemployment at a stroke! Everyone will be poor, sick and die before reaching 65!

        Third world here we come!

        Nothing to do with greedy businesses not paying taxes, bad management and off shoring jobs or giving them to “hard working” foreigners – who you can get away with paying slave wages and no NI.
        Goodness me no!

        • post_x_it

          Look: unless you live in a Soviet command-and-control economy, you can’t force employers to hire people on terms that they can’t afford.
          You can create a fictional land of milk and honey for employees, but in practice it’s not really going to work out very well if it results in nobody getting hired any more.
          France has 25% youth unemployment, and many more who can only find temporary employment. Is that a price worth paying so their parents’ generation get to keep their inflated privileges?

          • Sten vs Bren

            “you can’t force employers to hire people on terms that they can’t afford”

            The union doesn’t force anybody to hire anybody on any terms; it supports the terms and conditions of contracts under which workers were already hired.

          • post_x_it

            That wasn’t the point of the conversation.

          • Sten vs Bren

            I beg your pardon.

            The point stands; unions protect agreements. They are not doing anything unreasonable.

          • post_x_it

            You’re welcome to make any point you like, but the post you were responding to was not about the relationship between a union and a particular employer. It was about whether restrictive employment laws and regulations should be maintained at the cost of new entrants being unable to access the labour market.

          • Sten vs Bren

            The regulations offer protection for the new entrants.

            I am unaware of the restrictive employment laws that prohibit or restrict recruitment of new entrants..

          • post_x_it

            I recommend you read up on the situation in France, and the reasons for the 25% youth unemployment rate there.

          • Sten vs Bren

            Ah. I’d put that down to a moribund economy following the 2007-2008 economic event and the crisis of the Eurozone/EU.

          • balance_and_reason

            seriously?….and it didn’t affect us?

          • Sten vs Bren

            He’s says 25% youth unemployment in France is caused by unions. I say it was also caused by economic strife.

            What are you trying to say?

          • balance_and_reason

            well both countries have been through the same global recession; if anything our country was more exposed as it has substantially more financial institutions…yet we have 5% unemployment now and record employment creation…record disposable income growth, record pay down of debt by private individuals and our GDP growth recovered miles before France….I’m sure it is not just one factor.

          • Sten vs Bren

            I agree so, his concept of the trouble coming from the French trade unions is a bit rum.

            The lesson would seem to be that trade union members have better preserved their terms, conditions and wages. Considering that we need to get wages up in order to fuel growth, that is a good thing.

        • balance_and_reason

          keep telling yourself that lad…the unions persuaded the shipbuilding industry and the car industry that in the 60’s/70’s..all the way to bankruptcy….even the unions admitted it afterwards.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          The less they have to pay the staff, the more of the profit margin can be snaffled as dividends by the bosses.

    • Sten vs Bren

      “they earn a starting salary of around £50k and have 40 days annual leave”

      That would seem to be a very good reason to have a strong trade union. You think they should ask for less money? Less leave?

      Pff!

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Do people travelling at 50 mph through a subterranean tunnel while stood up in a crowded tube train want to be driven by poorly paid and untrained drivers resentful at never getting a day off in the sunshine?

        • HJ777

          Who is suggesting that Tube drivers shouldn’t be trained or should never get a day off?

          As for pay, you could make the same argument for bus, coach and lorry drivers, yet we don’t appear to be short of them even though they are paid less.

  • MikeF

    This strike is no suprise and was bound to happen once Bob Crowe, who knew that the threat of strike action rather than the fact of it was a more potent tool for a union to wield, disappeared form the scene. It may get worse but the unions – narrowly based in the public sector and with no sympathy ampngst the wider public – are now riding for a fall.

  • irina palm

    Britain can’t

    afford Unions
    afford homes
    afford HS2
    afford state pensions
    afford to fund a properly-run NHS
    afford to fund its military properly
    afford one day a week where we do not shop till we drop
    afford not to have the fox hunted by men in suits

    Jesus, something’s not quite right here.

    • Joe

      The even more important question is, can planet earth continue to afford capitalism?

      • balance_and_reason

        I suspect it can’t afford not to have it…bring back the old soviet smoke stacks anyone?

        • Rod Mason

          Is that really the only alternative or does your imagination limit you to only one idea at a time?

          • balance_and_reason

            mmm…and then the machine made lunch, and the happy people went out to play…and the machine built a house for Noonie and Dingo when they wanted a house in the beautiful forest by the stream …and then the machine packed it away…and nature was unaffected …and everyone didn’t fight any more….and disease was gone…and smiling was compulsory….

            Mr Mason, I believe your amazon reader has a little finger groove on the SF pathway…

      • Mc

        In particular we should eliminate the dastardly, capitalist dogs who enable us to survive beyond the age of five. That’ll drastically reduce world population to ecologically sustainable levels.

    • post_x_it

      We can afford all sorts of things.
      The trouble is that we have a tendency to strangle the markets that provide them.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Nor can we afford to stop borrowing.

    • Britain can’t afford:

      – K***s
      – Muslims
      – N****s

  • MA0

    Let’s not forget two things: the obscene price of a tube ticket, and the despicable way the unions destroy thriving industries, and then blame it on Thatcher or any other conveniently right-minded effigy.

    British history of the 20th Century is the story of how world-beating industries were closed down by the sheer stupidity of the brain-washed militant worker. If workers understood what their union champions will achieve on their behalf, they would string them up.

    There’s no need for more law; just fine the greedy bastards for blackmail, and decimate their jobs.

    I look forward to robot-driven tube trains and affordable fares.

    • Sten vs Bren

      “I look forward to robot-driven tube trains”

      Looking back on 7/7:

      “Lee Hunt, a Tube train driver who was on his break when the bomb exploded, was awarded the same honour (Queen’s Commendation for Bravery)

      He also crawled under the train to help the injured man, then placated a queue of passengers trying to pass between the train and the tunnel who were blocked by the injured man’s position, before returning to the bombed carriage to assist further.”

      http://www.standard.co.uk/news/bravery-awards-for-77-heroes-6871628.html

      We don’t want robots, we need people like Lee Hunt. It’s not trivial, you know.

      • MA0

        While Lee Hunt’s actions are commendable, this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject. Many other people behaved very bravely that day. I hope we all would in those highly unusual circumstances.

        • Sten vs Bren

          “Lee Hunt’s actions are commendable”

          By Her Majesty the Queen, no less. Leaving your robot looking a bit useless.

          ‘Remove the item from the bagging area’.

          • MA0

            Actually robots do this kind of job better than most humans. Pilot error causes about two thirds of air crashes. Robots don’t get tired. You may not like it, but within ten years you’ll be taking taxis which have no human driver. No amount of loom-smashing can change this.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorgate_tube_crash

          • Sten vs Bren

            “robots do this kind of job better than most humans”

            Hmm. Nah.

            – crawled under the train to help the injured man-

            ‘Place the item in the bagging area’.

          • MA0

            Moorgate.

            And queues at my local Co-op have been much shorter since the installation of robot tills. Now that I am used to them, I use them as do most other customers.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

            “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

            You and your bolshy union pals can not stop progress, no matter how callously you blackmail we who pay your wages.

          • Sten vs Bren

            When did God ever get anybody any terms and conditions at work? The employers are about to steal his day of worship and still he remains silent.

            You take your methods, we’ll take ours.

      • Mary Ann

        Get rid of the guards and what happens when someone jumps in front of the train, who looks after the passengers, the chances are that the driver will be in no fit state to do so. If there is a fire and there are a thousand people to get off the train, how many people will die before the driver even knows what has happened, and if it is a driverless train…………..

        • MA0

          “Get rid of the guards and what happens when someone jumps in front of the train…”

          His dreams come true. Aren’t you the sort who are always claiming there are too many people in the world, and that there is a right to die? I don’t believe in a right to die, but I admit that there is only so much money you can waste on trying to stop someone who is determined.

          “If there is a fire and there are a thousand people to get off the train, how many people will die before the driver even knows…”

          This is precisely the sort of situation which robots handle better than people. They don’t panic. They measure temperature and smoke levels in each carriage. They assess whether to continue to the next station, and at what speed. They save lives. Train drivers are ill-suited to make crucial decisions in the circumstances you describe, because they get scared and sometimes even, quite naturally, prioritise themselves. Your selective tales of heroism do not reassure me. For every one there will be a stifled tale of cowardice or incompetence.

          • Mary Ann

            Not everyone who jumps in front of the train gets killed immediately,

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            But they do die. Tories are not bothered with the duration of suffering.

          • MA0

            “…kill a few disabled…”

            “You are a monstruous idiot.”

            “Not everyone who jumps in front of the train gets killed immediately,”

            “But they do die. Tories are not bothered with the duration of suffering.”

            Aaah, thank you ladies, it’s been a long day and your comments have cheered me enormously. Yvonne, you forgot to mention that Tories eat babies. The funniest thing about this amateur and shrill virtue signalling is that I’ve never even voted Tory! Just great, keep ’em coming, I don’t want it to end… 😉

          • Alex

            No, it’s right-wingers who think there are too many people in the world. More people than jobs? More people than houses? Better restrict immigration, restrict child benefits, kill a few disabled and get that population under control. Because for them people exist to serve the market, the market doesn’t exist to serve people. If you’re surplus to requirements, you’ll be crushed.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            You are a monstruous idiot.

      • Mc

        That is a laughable logical fallacy you’re employing to justify the need for driver-controlled tube trains.

        • Mary Ann

          I don’t suppose the man he helped would agree with you.

          • MA0

            Did he help because he was the driver, or because he was there? I’m with Mc, your argument is completely bogus. The circumstances were exceptionally rare. The Moorgate crash killed 43 people because there was a driver. It hasn’t happened again since they installed robot brakes which override the driver. Lee Hunt, God bless him, did not save 43 lives.

          • Mary Ann

            He probably helped because he was a decent human being, and as a train driver it would also be his duty to help.

          • MA0

            But a great many other people helped, despite not being saintly union superheroes. Your argument is specious.

            In a few years you will see that the tube drivers have priced themselves out of a job, just like the dockers, the shipwrights, the miners, and all the other greedy union marxists who were so determined to send production abroad.

            Meanwhile, where is the giant British shipping industry, the first-mover semiconductor and IT industry, the world-class space and aero? All dead or dying, because unions are suckered by the poisonous ideology that workers have a moral duty to wage war against the employer.

          • Mary Ann

            We were not discussing all the other people who helped.

          • Alex

            I think we’d have trouble driving Tube trains from India

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Twit.

          • Sten vs Bren

            “Did he help because he was the driver, or because he was there?”

            Because he was a driver, he was on his break in the station. Because he was a driver he was legally empowered to take control at the track level. Because he was a driver he knew what he was doing.

            ‘Remove the item from the bagging area’.

          • Mc

            Another laughable logical fallacy.

          • Mary Ann

            You’re so anti union you can’t think straight.

          • Mc

            Aaaand another logical fallacy

          • Mary Ann

            Boring.

          • Mc

            Boring but spot on correct

          • Mary Ann

            You are so unoriginal.

          • Mc

            The thing about persons like yourself who congenitally suffer from flawed logic is that your condition is incurable. For that reason, it is impossible to have a rational discussion with the likes of persons like you, as you don’t share with rational humanity a set of common logic rules that form the base on which a discussion can be conducted. Interestingly, logical fallacies are often symptoms of more serious underlying conditions, such as mental illness or personality disorders.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            You mouth breathers always invoke logic to assuage your nasty backward opinionated bigotry.

          • Mc

            Yes, that’s a logical fallacy too from you. I’ve noticed that when people’s logical fallacies are rumbled, they start hurling about insults. And if they have some weapons to hand, they oftentimes start killing dissidents – it’s the age old story of authoritarian thugs.

        • Sten vs Bren

          The logical truth is that his robot is less use than a man who can do that.

  • WFB56

    We’ll be waiting a long time for Dave to find the courage to do any of the things that Mr. McKinstry reasonably suggests.

  • Peter Stroud

    The government needs to do nothing about the trade unions at present: they will generate their own unpopularity without any help from the Tories. Later will come the time to put the railways, both under and over ground, in the same position as the police and armed services. After, of course, a generous pay rise.

  • global city

    I don’t understand why political and politicised unions are still tolerated. They should have the same political/ideological limits placed on them that charities once did. It is an outrage that the hard left are allowed yet another freebie arm from which to wage war.

    • Jethro Asquith

      Spot on. The increase in strikes during times of Conservative government are not in reaction to government policies but so the unions can ‘blame’ the government and get the voting public to associate industrial unrest with Conservative government. That an arm of the official opposition is able to do this is outrageous.

      • red2black

        There have been plenty of strikes when Labour have been in power. The ‘Winter of Discontent’ of 1978-79 marked the largest stoppage of labour since the 1926 General Strike.

        • Zionist lackey

          This is the point, is it not? There have indeed been many strikes under Labour governments, which the leadership of such governments have been forced to kow-tow to by the Left wing leaders of the unions: and the Labour Party leadership have always been fearful of the power over them in terms of their party’s reliance on union funding.

          Blair sought, for all his faults of which their were many, to break the link between Labour and the unions for the party’s own sake. This he began to do with the struggle to bring to an end the party’s reliance on the infamous and outmoded Clause IV of his party’s constitution, which was meant to advance the dystopian socialist dream.

          He won this battle; yet still their are battle hardened MPs on Labour’s back benches who would be only to happy to reinstate Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution and consign the party to the dustbin of history.

          One of whom is Jeremy Corbyn, who after declaring himself as a candidate for the post of Labour leader now finds himself in second place in the Labour Party’s leadership battle; and one would hope, eventually, to become the leader of the Labour Party. He is currently in second place, but we must keep our fingers crossed.

          Labour as usual has failed to understand the political reality. The Labour Left relies purely upon emotion rather than the hard headedness to which they have an allergy to. Emotion govern’s sentiment and the socialist and liberal Left are constructed of both.

          • red2black

            Sorry for my late reply – my computer’s been in for repairs. Labour are supposed to represent the interests of the working class – something they haven’t done for a long time. It’s now a middle and upper-middle class party. If they need to change their tune to attract more of the type of voters they now represent, or to appeal to those that they once did, then so be it. I think there are a lot of disillusioned and disaffected people out there that Mr Corbyn may appeal to, at least as far as Labour distancing itself from the Conservatives is concerned.

          • Zionist lackey

            Labour today despises the white working class as they target them as bigots and racists. The interests of the white working class are no longer the concern of the Labour Party within the multicultural society they have endorsed at the expense of the white indigenous working class population .

            They have found, helped by Tony Blair, a new constituency to replace them as solid Labour voters; which is partly why Blair prematurely enacted that part of the Lisbon Treaty relating to open borders.

            Which has brought wave after wave of migrants from Europe to be delivered into the hands of what he hoped would be the Labour Party – what an idiot!

            I agree with red2black that the Labour Party is now a ‘middle and upper class party’. Of course it is. It has always been the case however. Today the white indigenous working class population are an embarrassment to the politically correct Labour Party.

            To this modern, politically correct Labour Party, the white indigenous working class are seen as bigots whom the modern Labour Party seeks subtly to declaim against.

            Jeremy Corbyn is an old fashioned socialist who still dreams of what he considers to be the perfect society; even when history has shattered such a socialist utopian vision through the deaths of countless millions within every experiment it has been tried throughout human history.

            Society progresses in terms of scientific and technological advancement, solely in accordance with scientific knowledge. The ideology of socialism is a demented construct. It has failed in its purpose wherever it has been practised.

            Socialism is a failure because it goes against the grain of human nature.

          • red2black

            The white working class has always been divided within its own ranks, and even if it was united and had some sort of white working class agenda, numbers alone would make it impossible for them to gain power.
            No particular social class alone has sufficient numbers to democratically achieve such a thing, and I’d suggest this would still be the case even if significant levels of immigration had never taken place. I think it’s fair to say that Labour did improve things for most working class people, of whatever description, for a time during the 1960s, but they were always dependent on the middle class vote, mainly because a majority of white working class women were always inclined to vote Conservative.

          • Zionist lackey

            I don’t think it is quite true that the working class have been divided from within, and I do understand your reference to working class women voting Tory, which I hope to return to.

            I am 65 and was brought up in a working class Labour voting family; and I am tired of mentioning this when the subject of the Labour Party or the trade unions crop up. But both my parents voted Labour, as did my brother and I throughout the Blair years; in fact up until the economic quackery of Gordon Brown.

            The Labour Party can claim only one positive contribution to society in its 115 year history if you measure its timeline from 1900 – if however, you measure it from 1924 when Ramsey MacDonald became the first Labour Party Prime Minister, then the life line of the parliamentary Labour Party is reduced to 91 years (and may it never receive a telegram from the Queen).

            Whatever point of reference you take; the only one positive contribution the Labour Party has made to the working class has been the NHS. Which is now in itself facing economic challenges of the type that advances in technological medicine was sure to bring about.The NHS cannot continue with its present funding wholly garnered from the taxpayer, without spending a portion of the public’s contribution to the NHS, being spent within the private sector.

            The Welfare State, on the other hand, was not a Labour Party creation, but a Liberal Party creation, and it was only designed to provide a safety net for those within the working class who, through no fault of their own, were thrown out of work because of the workings of the capitalist system in the early years of the 20th century.

            So when red2black says that the working class was always dependent on the middle class vote, then I would agree. But the middle classes are not a homogeneous mass.

            I believe it is true but without any evidence to back it up, that within the working class it is the women who want their children to advance beyond whatever station they perceive themselves being in. Mothers, especially among the working class, instinctively want their children to do better in life than their parents.

            In such communities such as that of coal-mining; it was the fathers who expected their male offspring to become miners themselves. Read D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lover’s to grab my meaning.

            It has always been the women in working class families that have wanted their offspring to do better – to advance up the social ladder. The men in certain industries like mining only wanted to pass down to their sons their heritage of working in the mines

            Ambition is its own reward. Without ambition, then failure follows.

          • red2black

            Well, my own view is that the working class was internally divided as regards the Labour and Conservative vote along the lines I suggested. It is now fragmented and dispersed, but remains identifiable.
            I agree with you generally about working class mothers and aspiration, but I think plenty of working class men wanted more for their kids as well, and at the time, during the 1960s, education appeared to be the key to this, for it was seen as a way out of poverty. I went to a selective state grammar school, but never really understood the academic and vocational divide that defined the grammar/secondary modern system.
            As for ambition being its own reward, I have a friend who claims he was always full of ambition, but devoid of ability, whereas he and I knew myself to be the exact opposite. I’d suggest that failure is as likely to follow due to a lack of ability as much as it is as through a lack of ambition.

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    • David Ganz

      To use the Confederate flag as your moniker after the Charleston shooting is offensive. As is your comment.

      • Geo

        Oh for goodness’ sake. A deranged man was a fan of a certain flag. Said deranged man killed people. Who on earth could possibly think that this means either that the flag caused racist violence, or that the flag is a show of support for racist violence?

        It’s utterly illogical. When England fans used to riot abroad, and people were injured or occasionally killed, did wearing an England shirt show support for violence? Or since the BNP used the Union Flag, did that suddenly become “offensive”?

        And the idea that being “offensive” means it should be censored is laughable. Free speech means the right to voice unpalatable ideas, display unpalatable symbols, and challenging the prevailing consensus of what constitutes “decency”.

        And what on God’s green Earth was offensive about his comment?

      • global city

        What a freaky little bandwagon jumper. What do you know about anything? I bet you that three weeks ago it was ‘a racist flag’?

        the only saving grace for you is that it isn’t and never has been… it has just been deemed to be racist by cynical freaks and sucked up by eyjits like yourself.

        You can stop being guilty now as you remember your youth, tossing off to pictures of Daisy Duke while playing with your diecast model of the General Lee.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          There are at least 6 different confederate flags

          • global city

            Yes…the most ‘notorious’ one is simply the battle flag of Virginia

      • Bertie

        I trust you expressed similar outrage at the father/child passerby at the HoP brandishing an ISIS flag?

        • LiamNewcastle

          Or by his ‘logic’ anybody practicising Islam full stop given the on-going attrocities carried out by those who also follow the ROP.

      • LiamNewcastle

        Completetly illogical statement.

  • Singularis

    When a family member of mine actually asked for help with an employment related issue, his union was not at all interested. He stopped giving them his money after that.
    As far as I can see unions are now just political organisations, nothing more.

    • McRobbie

      Been there, seen it exactly as you say….. with more than one union..

    • Mary Ann

      As you don’t give full details about what happened it is hard to judge, maybe your family member deserved all he got.

      • Mc

        That’s a very sweet sentiment.

        • Mary Ann

          I have heard of cases where the union wouldn’t back someone. For example, someone gets sacked for breaking the rules, and you know what, he broke the rules and someone got hurt. It does happen.

          • Mc

            Yes, and I’ve heard of many cases where members are unfairly sacked and their union refuses to back their member.

          • Mary Ann

            The case I have put fully justifies the union not backing the rule breaker, they should back the case for the person who got hurt.

          • Mc

            And yet another logical fallacy

          • Mary Ann

            That’s your favourite sentence, it gets boring.

          • Mc

            Boring but correct

          • Mary Ann

            Just boring.

      • Singularis

        We will never know, his union at the time refused to meet and discuss his case.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Horrible gobby Tory most likely.

  • McRobbie

    It is a bit sickening to hear the given reasons for the rails and tube strike action…safety and work life balance etc… but the unions will live with that if they get enough money offered !!!

  • Scradje

    If you dislike your job, get another one, the same as the rest of us have to. Remove the right to strike.

    • Sten vs Bren

      Why be a doormat?

      • Alexsandr

        true. if the relationship with management is so sour you have a strike, then changing job is the way forward.
        its 2015. jobs done last forever like they did.

    • red2black

      Plenty of workers who are anti-Union seem happy enough to accept improved working conditions, pay rises, and other things that have either been negotiated for, or much more rarely, gained after strike action.
      Investors are just as capable of, in effect, going on strike, by not investing,
      in order to register their displeasure.

      • Scradje

        I am not a trade unionist myself, but I have no objection to them. But the closed shop and right to strike is archaic and irrelevant in a modern economy. Either everyone must be given the same right, which is absurd, or no one.

        • Sten vs Bren

          The closed shop was a better recruitment device than ‘HR’.

          • Scradje

            HR are also useless parasites. But that is another story.

        • red2black

          If the closed shop and the right to strike are archaic and irrelevant in a modern economy, why are you so concerned about them? Management and professionals have their associations, colleges, societies, guilds and the like, which are essentially unions that look after the interests of their members.

          • Scradje

            It is just not right that a select group of hard left activists can use their job to inflict misery on those of us who do not strike. Can you not see that simple reality?

          • red2black

            It’s not a simple reality. Management’s case is seldom, if ever, mentioned in these disputes. Inflicting misery sounds a bit melodramatic.

          • Mc

            Organizations like unions and the mafia who run protection rackets (“do as we say, or we’ll do you harm”) don’t care about the misery they cause. Have you ever heard a Mafioso expressing remorse?

          • Mary Ann

            But at least they earn a living wage.

          • Mc

            Yes, the is an interesting logical fallacy to justify a protection racket.

          • Mary Ann

            And a lot of those without a union don’t earn enough to live on, I suppose you think that that’s OK

          • Mc

            Another logical fallacy

          • Mary Ann

            I suppose you think that no one works for less than the living wage, get in touch with reality.

  • John Andrews

    We should remember the wonders Reagan worked for US labour relations by enforcing the law and sacking the air traffic controllers. Wiki records these comments:

    In 2003, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, noted: ‘Perhaps the most important, and then highly controversial, domestic initiative was the firing of the air traffic controllers in August 1981. The President invoked the law that striking government employees
    forfeit their jobs, an action that unsettled those who cynically believed no President would ever uphold that law. President Reagan prevailed, as you know, but far more importantly his action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.’

    President Reagan’s director of the United States Office of Personnel Management at the time, Donald J. Devine, argued: “When the president said no…American business leaders were given a lesson in managerial leadership that they could not and did not ignore. Many private sector executives have told me that they were able to cut the fat from their organizations and adopt more competitive work practices because of what the government did in those days. I would not be surprised if these unseen effects of this private sector shakeout under the inspiration of the president were as profound in influencing the recovery that occurred as the formal economic and fiscal programs.”

    • Thorbotnic

      And so we have the situation where middle-class incomes are lower in real terms in the US than they were in the 1970s, social mobility lower, inequality higher…

      • John Andrews

        In a competitive economy with high levels of intestment, skilled workers and good profits, all of us can earn more without going on strike, because there would be a high demand for workers.

        • Alex

          Utopian rubbish. If you define a job as something paying enough to participate in the consumer economy, I’m pretty sure it’s a logical impossibility to have as many jobs as there are people. This was true even in the era of full employment (which meant <5% unemployment).

          • John Andrews

            Which textbook did you get your definition of a job from? I have never come across anything like it.

          • Alex

            Well it’s clearly ridiculous to call something paying too little to live on a job in a functional economic sense. For example if you have 100 man-hours per week of work to do you can create 3 jobs at 33 hours each or 20 jobs at 5 hours each or even 400 at fifteen minutes each. So you can see how “a job” isn’t good enough as a definition*, it has to be linked to some sort of income level, and I’d say that would be earning enough to cover the basics and marginally to participate in the consumer economy. Which is I’d say about 16 hours a week on minimum/living wage, and so would the state as that equates to about the same level as JSA.

            It seems utterly counter-intuitive to me that there could even theoretically be as many jobs as people in that sense.

            *see also the Tory propaganda about “millions of jobs created”

          • John Andrews

            “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (Thessalonians 3:10)

          • Alex

            “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that
            as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should
            supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that
            there may be fairness. As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had
            nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

          • John Andrews

            Yes indeed. But that is charity. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 )

          • Alex

            Nope, my quote was communism – far too extreme for me, but still. It is talking about redistributing assets so everyone has the same. Charity is about the giver’s choice and there is no attempt to equalise outcomes or even really ensure the needy get what they need – outcomes are clearly the focus of my quote, and the giver and receiver are both passive: be eased, be burdened.

            I accept that in general the social welfare system described in the Bible is charitable, but they didn’t exactly have the sort of conditions or finances for a proper welfare state back then.

            Charity is inferior to the welfare state because, as any poor person will tell you, what’s most important isn’t the amount you get but the security that you will get the same next week. Charity however can be withdrawn totally on a whim.

            Furthermore not all of the needy inspire charity. You’ll give to charities that support fluffy animals but not ugly ones. This means it doesn’t even plug the gaps it intends to plug.

            If God wants us “so labouring … to support the weak”, and the welfare state is more comprehensive and efficient at doing that, I’m sure Beveridge is seated at His right hand in heaven, or left as appropriate

          • Sten vs Bren

            “if any would not work, neither should he eat”

            That’s what Lenin used to bang on about. Bolshevism is over, comrade.

          • John Andrews

            The Bible predates Lenin.

          • Sten vs Bren

            Yes but it adds up to the same thing. Incorrect advice from long ago.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      The Gipper.What a total git.

      • John Andrews

        “Diamonds in my ear, Prada on my zipper. Gucci be the slippers, damn I’m feeling gipper.”

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    Unions were useful for the private industry employees who suffered miserably under unfair employers, but the Unions do not have the teeth that they used to have. Union action became limited under Thatcher Rule and since then has required a more tactical approach to unfair practices in employment. Union leaders, unable to face this challenge, opted for representation of the Public Industry, which is a simpler and more accessible option.
    This is hugely unfair to private sector employees who are now experiencing a very large amount of unfair practices, and who have no-one to represent them. There are twice as many employees in the private sector than in the public sector – but due to the working practices at the present time, these employees are on much lower wages and are unable to afford the union fees required that the chosen sector workers can afford easily.
    I have worked in both sectors. I prefer the private industry since there is less pretentiousness and greater versatility. However, It is in this industry where many employees face poor Health and Safety conditions, shortage of wages, losses in holiday pay, unreasonable working practices, victimisation, unnecessary bullying, threatening behaviour by the employers unfairly using the Disciplinary procedures, illegal working hours, etc.,etc., I have seen and witnessed many incidences in the private sector that are just not present in the public sector.
    Any union that I have belonged to have been completely useless in protecting my rights. Previously, such union leaders needed brawn – now they need brain!

  • Freddythreepwood

    These people think the Tories will get the blame for the disruption they cause. History shows that nothing could be further from the truth, yet still they keep making the same mistakes. We should leave them to it. An angry public will take its revenge.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      No. “These people” just want to have a go at idiot mouth breathers like you.

      • Freddythreepwood

        Water off a duck’s back old troll, water off a duck’s back.

  • thomasaikenhead

    “Blackmail and arrogance”?

    Trade unions are well down the list, how about starting with the real culprits, bankers, senior members of the BBC and BBC Trust, the people who run the NHS, the armed forces and the police for a start?

    For example, the UK is about to see Goddard expose widespread police negligence and incompetence involving industrial-scale, systemic child abuse that has been going on for decades.

    Any chance of the police charged with protecting the weak and vulnerable being held to account?

  • thomasaikenhead

    No mention of the 400+ TfL managers earning £100K plus pa being in any way responsible for this situation?

  • rtj1211

    Any thoughts on tennis-hating troughers who swill wine in corporate marquees preventing true tennis fans watching the finest fare in the world whilst Joe Public pays for their rounds of giddy pleasure in ‘market prices’? No mandate from ‘the electorate’ for that, but you won’t see Conservatives clamping down on that. Nor confronting private sector landlords living off the welfare state either. The former is a principle, the latter a billion pound racket………….

    • Alexsandr

      what has wimbledon got to do with it? its a private club, not an arm of the state. and it gives a lot of dosh to the lta and local charities.

  • sidor

    A major problem of the modern economy is that the working class is disappearing. Those involved in production are now a minority. The rest are relative or absolute parasites. The latter are divided in two unequal groups: rich parasites and the poor ones. So, if the currently existing classes of the society are to organise themselves in unions, there must be a Union of poor parasites created to fight for the fair distribution of the wealth, created by minority, among the entire population.

  • Andrew MacGregor

    Peter L,
    The decent terms were in most cases won by union action and pressure both in employers and Govt. We have much to thank unions for, and the article above is at odds with the reality of the situation.
    The moment Leo McKinstry implied the unions were conducting an assault on working people he lost the argument. The Govt budget announced yesterday was an assault on working people, but the Tube Strike is about protecting jobs, conditions and service.
    I’m not a fan of strikes generally, however, it is important to remember the first person to scream blue murder if an accident occured and not enough resources were there to help, would be the likes of Mr McKinstry himself.
    A fake narrative of a benificent Toryism v pernicious union action is being created to once again demonise the unions so that democratic rights can be removed and without applying the same clauses to Government.
    Yes, it will fix ‘the problem’ that people will be inconvenienced while others lose their jobs.
    And if you think there’s a problem, now that the safety net has had massive holes inflicted on it by Osborne, it is going to get worse as people cling desperately to jobs, even when those jobs are low paid and exploitative.

  • Suleiman

    Mr McKinstry has employed the spirit of demagogy and bias in a similar way to the performances of the late Tony Benn. But not to worry, the current trade union ‘leadership’ is fairly safe. Do not expect Cameron to waste too much time fighting it.

    The first thing is : with its current leadership, the trade union movement is open to right-wing vitriolic attacks, and that’s good for the Tories. If the TU movement has been ‘fixed’, how would Mr McKinstry be able to attack it ?

    Secondly. The trade unions are the bulwark of the ring of corruption called Employment Tribunals. The massive level of anti-Claimant and pro-Respondent corruption in Employment Tribunals (http://etclaims.co.uk/2014/03/is-the-tribunal-system-corrupt/) may be initiated by many corrupt Employment Judges, but it could have not happen without the enthusiastic support of the lay members of Tribunals who represent the trade unions. Employment Tribunals always submit unanimous judgments, and conflict within the Tribunal resulting in two differing judgments is virtually unknown. So why is it that trade union representatives side so many times with corruption and dishonesty ? The answer is complex, and I have written about it in previous posts. But the main point is : this way trade unions give a most valuable support to British Establishment corruption and anti-employee bullying and discrimination.

    While the TU make a big show, every now and then, of their ‘strikes’, the truth is that they give, in the opinion of many employees and past employees, a low quality service to the individual employee who is being persecuted by some low-quality employer. In fact, quite a number of sacked employees have felt that they are only ‘respected comrades’ as long as they pay the membership fee and request nothing. Once they have been sacked, they become an unwelcome burden on the union, especially if they need to go to Employment Tribunal.

    I know about one prominent case in which a persecuted lady was awarded a few millions, justifiably, in an Employment Tribunal. The response of the trade union in the local press ? – it was very disappointed by the sum awarded, because ‘now there will be less money for other things in the hands of the employer’.

    British Governments do not need friends with such supposed ‘enemies’. Governments can easily absorb a few token strikes and demonstrations – all the more so that those strikes have this added benefit to the government that Mr McKinstry writes powerful and excited articles about them.

  • Stephen Collins

    Oh cry me a river, Fraser.

    Generally, there’s very little disruption due the strike action, you’re just another dogmatic knee-jerk reaction merchant because your journey home last night was more difficult than usual.

    If unions were crushed, workers would be exploited – that’s the nature of capitalism, greed overwhelms all.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “workers enjoy higher pay, greater job security, longer holidays, better pensions and shorter hours”

    Yes, that’s a very good case for joining your trade union. Nothing wrong with pursuing self interest.

    • Game Bird

      Have you tried deleting messages on an iPad or phone yet?

    • Alexsandr

      how lefty. use muscle to gain an advantage over every one else.

      • red2black

        In most cases it’s negotiation to agree a compromise.

      • Sten vs Bren

        Shy children go hungry.

    • Alex

      Only the asset wealthy are allowed to pursue self-interest. The workers exist to serve them.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        I say to any worker who will listen, borrow. Take a £25k loan and three credit cards for £7,000 and do not repay. Let’s crash the banks.

        • Alex

          Heh, we tried that already.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            We need to try harder.

  • Cymrugel

    I would say the size of the majority gives no mandate to do what you are suggesting.

    I think that you should also give some thought to the kind of minsdset you have which says that unions representing the interests of their members should be “crushed”.

    We live in a democracy that should respect its citizens, not some sort of dictatorship that sets about crushing opposition.

    How about “crushing” some of the corporations that have been avoiding paying UK tax for years instead?

    But they are your mates aren’t they? Paying tax is for smelly little proles eh Leo?

  • Game Bird

    I was effected by the tube strike yesterday; I wasn’t even aware it was happening until I read the DT in the morning.
    Discovering all Unions were involved so there’d be no service at all, for 24 hours, was a unpleasant surprise.

    It actually made me wish Bob Crow was still alive and negotiating the deal for 24 hour tubes; something I’d never thought I’d wish for.

  • Corey James

    This article contains an awful lot of drivel and no facts. One fact it neglected to include is that unionised labour is more productive, and that the decline in union membership correlates with the decades of stagnation in earnings in this country, and the ten-year reduction in our wages in real terms.

    • Game Bird

      I don’t think lack of unions are the reason for our wage stagnation.
      Studies I’ve read show it’s simply supply and demand.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Cite those studies Toryboy.

    • Mc

      My reducing hairline and growing paunch over the decades also correlates with wage stagnation and their real term reduction. It’s a scientific fact that the change in my hairline and paunch are the actual causes behind falling wages. I’ll be publishing my scientific paper in the SWP rag next week, if you’d like to keep an eye out for it.

    • Sean L

      Unionised labour these days is almost entirely public sector, so by definition subsidised and non-productive however ultimately valuable some aspects of the work might be. As to London Transport or TFL as it’s recently re-branded itself at enormous expense, our tube and bus fares are among the most, if not the most expensive in the world. I was in Madrid recently where you can buy for 15 Euro a ten journey ticket anywhere by metro or bus, about a third of the cost here. And none of the Oyster card nonsense either – a massive job creation scheme. And because the fares are so cheap they don’t need armies of Revenue Protection Officers, or to pay people to stand beside the costly ticket barriers necessary for the Oyster scam, either. Otherwise I dare say the retail banking sector is ‘productive’ but that’s in spite of the unions rather than because of them: the salaries of retail banking staff are pitiful.

  • ed

    Pretty sure that back when the “trade unions were the authentic voice of the British working class.” people like you were still raging against them in stupid opinion pieces in the telegraph, times and spectator.

    • Game Bird

      Strikes are annoying if you’re effected, there’s no getting round that.
      If there was an alternative I would be all for advocating for it.
      But there currently doesn’t seem to be, and workers with no rights is a worse option.

  • Suleiman

    In at least most Employment Tribunals there is no recording, and requests to record proceedings are summarily refused. This is so as to make it easier for Employment Judges to lie and cheat against Claimants (=employees or ex-employees). By the way, even in the extremely rare cases in which recording is done by the Tribunal (it is never allowed that the sides to the case may record), it is not that they get the recording : they are only allowed to receive a transcript made by one of the few companies authorized to do those transcripts. A few years ago an employment solicitor told me that to receive the transcript of a 6-days Employment Tribunal case, cost his client £9,000.- , a sum which is well beyond the means of Claimants. Anyhow, the sides have to rely on notes. Respondents have solicitors/barristers trained in taking notes, and they can afford bringing a professional notes-taker, while in most cases Claimants have no one to take notes for them, they are not trained in taking notes, and they cannot do it anyhow while a heated argument is going on. It gives a field day to corrupt Employment Judges to forge and fabricate notes, to the disadvantage of employees.

    Where are the trade unions ? Why don’t we hear about them screaming against this corruption ? Changing this situation by allowing recording will improve a lot the chances of winning a case, or an appeal, by poor, honest employees. But obviously trade union activists consider that it is more macho and glamorous, and involves less commitment and work for the sake of just one employee, to scream against ‘this evil called capitalism’ than to try to fight against corruption in Employment Tribunals.

    Just like Yasser Arafat : it was more ‘revolutionary’, more Che-Guevara-like, to organize attacks on Israelis than to spend his time repairing the sewage system, the roads, supplying housing, etc.

  • KendraJSwisher

    …..Last Few Days To Get Smart Deal with spectator < Find Here

  • Striking for worker’s rights – I have sympathy – no sympathy for current underground or overground buffet trolley uproar.

  • BoiledCabbage

    ‘unions’ immunity from claims for damages’

    that would be their Achilles Heel. So is automation.

  • Sten vs Bren

    Why not seek to preserve your terms and conditions at work? Gain access to free legal advice not just for work issues. Enjoy discounts on products and services.

    Join your trade union. You know more about your job than your boss.

    • Game Bird

      Not all jobs have trade unions. If you’re self employed you also have no trade union to join.

      • Sten vs Bren

        “What if you’re only on zero hour contracts”

        Then you need a union. Who else is going to fight against zero hours? Miliband? He’s gorn.

        • Game Bird

          Well you know my views on zero hour contracts.
          Another problem with them that differentiates them from casual labour is you can’t take on a second job, as you have no idea when you’re going to be contactable obliged to work.

          They really are an appalling practice. If trade unions could fight it why haven’t they done so yet?
          Even local councils have been using zero hour contracts.

    • Sean L

      Mate 99.9% of businesses are classified as small, 96% of those have under 10 employees. That’s 60% of the total workforce working for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Although these latter ‘micro’ buinesses only account for 33% of productive sector employment, it’s still a large number of people for whom the very notion of ‘striking’ is inconceivable – it would amount to sacking one’s self… And yet we’re subsidising these public sector unionised fat cats who often earn far more for doing less. The tube drivers are the real capitalists, exploiting weak management at the expense of the travelling public. Though ‘gangsters’ or ‘racketeers’ would be fairer: ‘capitalist’ implying some form of investment rather than freeloading…

      • Game Bird

        The tube drivers advertise most of their well paid jobs internally too, as do local councils; making it all rather exclusive.

        • Sean L

          Very good point – a protection racket.

          • Game Bird

            Well its definitely a racket.

        • Sten vs Bren

          “well paid jobs”

          Yes. Join your trade union.

          • Game Bird

            How will that help people who want to be a tube driver or work for their local council?

            Have you rejoined yours?

      • Sten vs Bren

        “people for whom the very notion of ‘striking’ is inconceivable”

        They may do as they please. The whole point is that it is democratic.

        “weak management”

        Yes, that’s what the unions are saying.

        • Sean L

          They are birds of a feather: the management being public sector fat cats themselves. Of course recognition of that fact would put their own roles under scrutiny. Best for all concerned to put on a show and go through the motions but utimately capitulate. As for ‘democratic’, that’s neither here nor there in business: you lose a contract, a client, you’re business is finished. Some of you lefties need to join the real world… Democracy is a political ideal, it doesn’t apply in business: it *coudln’t* otherwise business decisions would be determined by commitees as in the former USSR and its Eastern Europe satellites; the places that 25 years ago witnessed the first and only working class led revolution in world history.

          • Sten vs Bren

            “Some of you lefties need to join the real world”

            Hmm. In the actual world there are trade unions. Some of you righties need to join the actual world.

            “Democracy is a political ideal, it doesn’t apply in business: it
            *coudln’t* otherwise business decisions would be determined by commitees”

            I regret to inform of you of a capitalists’ club called the European Union. Not union in the good sense.

            “USSR… Eastern Europe… working class…”

            Oh, quite.

  • grimm

    Watching the BBC early evening news on the day the Tube strike began I was amazed to find that none of the travelling public they interviewed seriously objected to the strike. One or two thought it a justifiable fight for Tube worker’s rights. On other news channels it was a different story.

    • Mary Ann

      So the right wing press only reported those who were angry. Large companies don’t like unions because they have to pay their workers a decent salary.

  • Thorbotnic

    If the owners of labour (ie workers) can be sued for damages due to them withdrawing their input from production, it follows that the owners of capital should be liable for damages if they choose to withdraw it, too. What a ridiculous , illiberal proposition.

  • TeresaBCruz

    Last 40 year Best Home Income with spectator. < ……. Find Here

  • John M

    I disagree. As the Unions become more political, more intransigent, more irrelevant to taxpayers in the private sector and increasingly unrepresentive of those in the public sector, surely it is in the political interests of the Government to let these dinosaurs rumble on.

  • Sannymac

    Having read much of the Anti-Union twaddle on this page, may I, as a eighty-odd year old retired Engineer, make a comment.
    I have held many management post where I have had to deal with the Unions and I found that when I treated them fairly they responded in kind. Yes I had my share of lunatic Shop Stewards, but I found that when the workforce knew the true story these idiots were quickly shut-up. Strikes in my day only occurred when top management didn’t listen to the Union and were openly Anti-Union.
    In my time I found that the Union were frequently the source of safer working as well as ensuring their members received a decent wage. With todays weak Unions look at todays wages – now look at the increase the MP’s have given themselves. Alternatively look at the enormous bail outs given to the banks, paid for by the taxpayer whilst the Bankers strode off with Millions in pay-offs.
    I am also old enough to remember the Clement Attlee government. This was a true Socialist Government that made many changes to the benefit of the “working class”. They also made a few expensive mistakes but their overall performance was to the benefit of the people. Unfortunately Attlee’s Labour Party has been degraded to the present Non-Socialist Labour Party.
    May I suggest that before commentators launch into a frenzy on these pages they first study a little history and where possible consult with people who lived through this period.
    Before people assume that I am a Social Security Scrounger, I would advise I have been fortunate to never have a day’s unemployment and that in retirement I have two very good pensions plus a successful investment income and in addition I own a house here in the UK I have another house on the continent; so I’m not broke.
    Ladies and gentlemen the Unions are an essential force to prevent the return of the Rulers and Serf mode that existed before WW2 or England’s even more dismal situation in 1700 with 15% literacy whereas Scotland had 85% literacy and was one of the best educated countries in Europe. LOOK -UP YOUR HISTORY!!!

    • Game Bird

      Thanks for your post. It makes for interesting reading.
      I feel like my generation have little to no knowledge of unions.

      We’re stuck being offered stagnated wages, with the option of being replaced at the drop of a hat due to supply and demand.

      But the situation is even worse for our youth who have no cheap means to further educate themselves and have been told they’re lazy.
      Despite various jobs I’ve never had the opportunity to join a union in my life.

    • Augustus

      “Unfortunately Attlee’s Labour Party has been degraded to the present Non-Socialist Labour Party.”

      And for many years in between, right up to the 1980s, Britain was called ‘the sick man of Europe’. The militant British unions ruined the country. Just look at firms like British Leyland, as one example of many. I had an uncle who was works manager for Pressed Steel Fisher, which made the car bodies for many models such as the Jaguar XJ6. You should have heard his comments about their go-slow practices etc. Suppliers often had to get a union card for the driver to show at the gate before they were allowed in. Many articles were written all over the world about how the unions were holding Britain back. That post-war period of Britain’s economic decline can, in large measure, certainly be attributed to the stranglehold the British unions had on British industry.

  • The Great Satan™

    Unions are an extortion racket of lazy leftwing goons. Similar to the laeftwing goons in Greece that want the rest of Europe to subsidize their laziness and entitlement attitude. Socialist/liberal policies have proven to be failures here in the US and abroad.

    • Game Bird

      Learn some facts before posting.
      The only organisations that have been bailed out by tax payers in Europe have been the banks (bar 10% of the Greek bailout that actually went to the Greeks); capitalists, therefore right-wing.

      The banks had no austerity imposed on them for their reckless gambling.

      • balance_and_reason

        your comment is virtually a prize example of a factless knee jerk comment.

        • Game Bird

          Go show me some FACTS proving the EU is socialist then!
          I’ll be checking back for your considered fact based reply.

  • Inselaffe

    Being a swivel-eyed twat, do you need special glasses to write this sort of shit, or do you have to dictate to a minion?

  • Karl

    About bloody time, I want my boss to have complete and utter control over my working life. I want him to be able to make changes to my contract without asking me and with no recompense. Too long these lefty loony unions have held my boss back, think of all the money companies could make and add to the economy through tax when the unions can no longer protect working people form being forced to work longer and harder for the same pay. I’m bloody fed up of other people defending their working conditions and holding their employers to account for not keeping up their ends of contracts they signed, I have shit conditions so everyone else should too!

  • DianneJBrothers

    Some few days to get small deal with specta…. <…. Find Here

  • Blindsideflanker

    I am of the right, but I do not see the necessity of this legislation. We have some of the lowest levels of strikes EVER. If there is a problem in our economy it is the lack of representation working people have. The appearance of Zero hour contracts, the need for the minimum wage, the need for tax credits , the lack of in work training/ apprenticeships are not the product of too much Union power.

  • paul

    Perhaps Cameron would like to adopt the same formulae for General Elections if so he would have had 270 less fellow Nasty Party MP’s in the Commons The Champion of the Fat Cat Bankers & Hedge Funders is a total HYPOCRITE !!

    • Peter Stroud

      Of course, but Labour would also have many less seats.

  • milford

    They’ll be bringing back child labour at this rate.

  • Andy Parker

    Unions are comprised of three segments. At the top you have the bosses, who get nice fat salaries (that they keep very quiet about) and do very little except mouth off about how they can make ordinary peoples’ lives a misery. The second group are the radicals – union members who follow the leader without hesitation. The final group are the moderates (or should I call them sheep?) who would, under normal circumstances, behave in a perfectly rational way. However, in the presence of the other two groups, they cower in the corner, frightened to speak out lest they be branded cowards and subjected to intimidation.
    You can see the real thinking behind the unions by the comments today that they would “bring down the Government”. Clearly they don’t believe that we live in a democratic country and that the unions are the only people who matter and it is them that should be running things (into the ground very quickly if they had their way).
    Unions can be useful, but in their present state they’re a menace.

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