Tag Archive for Strikes

What do we want? Better facilities for trade unions!

Union agitatorsPeople are panic buying fuel because tanker drivers said they might want to go on strike and because a couple of idiot British government ministers told people first to stockpile fuel at home in jerry cans (which is illegal) and then not to stockpile in jerry cans but to just buy double what you normally would.  Cretins.

So what’s are the tanker drivers complaining about?  Let’s look at the list of demands sent to the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, by the Unite union.  They are demanding minimum standards in …

Health & safety procedures, practices and processes.  Seems fair enough to me if there is a shortfall in what is legally required.  Is there?  A quick Google search to try and find out how many tanker drivers have been killed in the UK returned only one relevant result which was an undated Daily Mail article about a tanker driver crashing off a motorway bridge.  But who knows?  There might be lots of unreported incidents so yep, let’s have a minimum standard of safety for drivers.

Independently accredited training.  Not quite sure what this would achieve to be honest.  Does it matter whether the person telling you how to drive a tanker safely or how to load and unload your truck works for your employer or another company?  Obviously it matters to your employer because paying someone else to do what you can do yourself will cost money but will it actually give the driver anything they haven’t already got except for, perhaps, a qualification they can use to get a job at another company to avoid having to do the training again?

Portable sector pensions.  Is there such a thing outside of the civil service?  This is a company pension that you could transfer from company to company as you move around employers thanks to the aforementioned “independently accredited training” without losing benefits or contributions.  Good for the drivers but not good for employers who will have their hands tied when it comes to offering benefits to employees.

Rates of pay, hours of work and working/holiday/sickness/redundancy arrangements.  Hold on a minute.  There’s a minimum wage, a legal limit on the number of hours you can work, a legal right to holidays, a legal right to sick pay and many, many laws around redundancy.  Do tanker drivers need more rights than they and the rest of the population already have?  Do we really need a separate minimum wage for tanker drivers?  Who’s next?  Who will decide what an acceptable rate of pay is for each job?

Equal opportunities.  A quick Google search for information about racism in the tanker drive industry returned only one apparently relevant result which was for a recent blog entry on Liberal Conspiracy that has been taken down shortly after publication.  A search for plain old discrimination in the industry returned nothing of relevance.  That doesn’t mean that there is no discrimination in the industry of course but equal opportunities is something that should be a given.  I’m not sure tanker drivers need any more protection than the law already affords to them and everyone else in the country though.

Grievance and disciplinary procedures.  Again, there are many laws around grievance and disciplinary procedures and everyone has the right to independent representation and the use of a conciliation such as ACAS to resolve disputes.  Do tanker drivers need more rights than they and the rest of us already have?

Trade union facilities.  And there we have the real motivation behind the threat of strikes and list of demands.  How many tanker drivers are genuinely demanding better facilities for trade unions at the expense of their employers?  “Facilities” presumably includes more pilgrims – union officials paid by their employer to work for their union rather than do the job they were employed for – which is more about saving the unions money than bettering the rights of workers.

These threatened strikes are part of the unions’ war against non-Labour government.  They were behind the student protests, they’re behind the “anti-cuts” protests and they’re behind this one.  They are open about their motivation: they want the Tories out and their Labour poodles back in.

I hope the union agitators are prosecuted under the “anti-terrorism” laws their Labour government brought in and sacked.

Wednesday’s strikes are anti-government, not anti-cuts

The head of Unison says there is no way a public sector strike on Wednesday can be avoided, even if the British government wanted to do a deal.

UNISON placard: Tell the Tories to stuff the pay cutsThis is hardly a shock announcement – the strikes would have gone ahead whether they caved in to every unreasonable demand the unions issued because this isn’t about pay and conditions, it’s a union protest against the Tories.  Even the BBC can’t avoid showing pictures of anti-Tory slogans on official union placards because they’re everywhere.  The protests are being backed by the far left extremist Socialist Workers Party and senior Labour politicians.

This is a party political campaign, not a grassroots one.  The public sector have pensions that most of us can only dream of and perks like guaranteed pay rises and being paid by the mile to drive to work are a public sector invention, the majority of us that work in the sector don’t get anything like the pay and conditions the public sector get.  The strikes on Wednesday aren’t about keeping the pay and conditions – even the economically illiterate unions understand that it’s simply not sustainable – they’re about trying to overthrow the ConDems and installing a puppet Labour government in its place.

Not all public sector workers are highly paid of course – cleaners, lollypop (wo)men, dinner ladies, etc., don’t get paid a great deal – but that doesn’t mean that all public sector workers should keep their gold-plated pensions and expensive perks at the expense of some of the poorest, low-paid workers in the country.  The public sector and unions are infested with communists who bang on about wealth redistribution and capitalist greed so I’m sure the highest paid public sector workers such as the 447 civil servants that earned more than £100k last year will be more than happy to redistribute their wealth to the low paid public sector workers they’ll be striking with on Wednesday.  As, I’m sure, will the champagne socialist union bosses who earn at least three times the median salary for the public sector workers they are supposed to represent (the list is out of date – the head of the FBU is on £82k per year).

I wish I was in Telford this week instead of away on a training course so I could find a picket line to cross just for my own little protest.  I object to having so much of my money taken off me on pain of forfeiture and imprisonment to to fund pay and conditions for “professional” public sector workers that I could never realistically expect in the private sector.  The country is broke, we are too highly taxed already and it’s time the public sector got a dose of reality.

Teachers striking for special treatment

Members of the NUT and ATL teachers’ unions are going on strike next week over proposals to make changes to their taxpayer-subsidised gold-plated pensions.

The Hutton Report recommends raising the retirement age, paying less out and requiring more in contributions and it is this suggestion that public sector workers should feel some of the pain as the rest of the population that has driven the unions into a frenzy.

Dear kids we r on strike need more $ sorry teach

Over the last decade, teachers’ pay has increased above inflation, they get three times as many paid holidays as most other professions and have generous public sector pensions for relatively small contributions.  Meanwhile, in the private sector over the past few years we’ve seen unemployment go through the roof, pay frozen or even cut and pensions pillaged by the British Treasury to pay for, amongst other things, public sector pensions.

It’s not just teachers that are being incredibly selfish over public sector cutbacks though, it’s the public sector as a whole.  Lots of public sector unions are proposing strikes to try and protect their privileged taxpayer-funded terms and conditions.  Only this week a UNISON rep was on the radio saying that Shropshire Council workers were going on strike over cutbacks t0 their perks saying “we’re not asking for anything that nobody else has got”.  This was moments after explaining that two of the things they were striking over were guaranteed payrises and being paid a mileage allowance to drive to and from work.  How many people in the private sector get guaranteed payrises just for turning up and not getting sacked or paid by the mile to drive to work in a morning?

Because of the strikes next week, one of my kids won’t be allowed to go to school because his teacher is going on strike (the only one in the school).  That I don’t mind but another one is supposed to be doing his two link days at secondary school next week as he starts secondary school in September.  His link days have been cancelled, not even postponed.  He will go to secondary school in September not knowing his teachers, who is in his class, where his classroom will be or any of the other things they learn on these two days.  And all because some teachers don’t like the idea of having to pay for their own damn pensions.