Friday, 30 January 2015

END WORKERS' BLACKLISTING!

The letter below published in tomorrow's
ROCHDALE OBSERVER was written
in response to the decision of Rochdale Council
to oppose 'Zero Hours Contracts':
Dear Editor,
While it is welcome that Rochdale Council has now taken a stand against 'zero-hours contracts', local trade unionists ought to be concerned that Rochdale Council, a Labour Council, apparently still hasn't adopted an Ethical Procurement Policy with regard to awarding public contracts to firms which are known to have blacklisted workers on British building sites. Colin Lambert, when he was Council leader did condemn such practises, and Jim Dobbin, when MP for Heywood and Middleton, besides signing Early Day Motions against the blacklist did assure me that he was participating in the campaign against the blacklisting of workers in the British building trade.
Despite this, Rochdale MBC has in the recent past awarded contracts to Carillion and Kier: since 2009, when the Information Commissioner raided an office in Droitwich, we have been aware that both of these companies were affiliated to the Consulting Association. Later the manager of the Consulting Association, Ian Kerr, was to plead guilty at Knutsford Crown Court to possessing an illegal data-base or blacklist with 3,213 workers' names on it.
Apart from the robust efforts of the late Jim Dobbin, I am not aware of any other local MPs who have taken a stand against the British blacklist. Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group and one of the blacklisted workers on the illegal data-base of the Consulting Association, told me that the Green Party has a positive policy on blacklisting, and that the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, has participated on several of their demonstrations down South.
In these circumstances, it would be good if the current local MPs, Simon Danczuk and Liz McInnes, took a cue from the late Jim Dobbin and strove to make blacklisting a criminal offence. In the meantime the councillors on Rochdale MBC might adopt an Ethical Procurement Policy, which if enforced rigorously would amount to something more than resolutionary socialism
Yours,
Brian Bamford: Secretary of Bury Unite Commercial Branch.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

London Hazards Magazine

LONDON Hazards Magazine latest NOW OUT !
 
Featuring High Court Win for Mesothelioma suffers, Blacklisting the most cowardly practice by Employers that has gone on for decades. Fight for Non Carcinogenic Workplaces with London Hazards support !
 
Stop deregulation of Health & Safety laws like the Crane reg's. Women's right to Cancer free work, Care Workers health at risk billions cut to social care. Stress at work big problem today more and more pressure at work.
 
Health & Safety training courses for Londoners by London Hazards. Transatlantic trade stitch up huge threat to everything NHS / Schools / you name it !
Please feel free to contact us and order your copy / copies of London Hazards Magazine: Office 0207 5275107 
Or email mail@lhc.org.uk
We are holding regular Safety Activists meetings. Get involved Unite with others fight back.
International Workers Memorial Day organising meeting Tuesday 10th February 5.45pm.
Leigh Day Solicitors Priory House. 25 St John's Lane EC1M 4LB
Blacklisted Workers book Launch Thursday 26th March 6.30pm Hosted by Leigh Day / London Hazards / CSC / WEA.
Get your TU branch, Trades Council, Tenants Association, Campaign group to Affiliate to London Hazards Centre has large archive materials on all issues, we offer free advice and help to all Londoners. On issues at Work and Home.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Totalitarian Word Play, Freedom & New Words

Simon Saunders:  Dare to Daniel!

LAST week, one-time editor (unpaid?) of the now defunct Freedom, Simon Saunders, accused Northern Voices of 'Doxxing' him.*   By that, I think he means that the Northern Voices Blog has 'outed' him by allowing the publication of his 'real name' in the public domain.  I ought to say at this stage that Mr. Saunders' name is already in the public domain in the sense that he has been for several years a paid journalist on the former Communist Morning Star using his 'real name'.  For some strange reason Mr. Saunders is shy about being identified with the anarchist publication Freedom or anarchism but happy to be a paid journalist on the Morning Star which is generally associated with a political philosophy 'Communism' or 'Marxism' which has been described as 'morally and politically bankrupt' (see Lord Kenneth Clarke's 1970's essay on 'Civilisation'.  

Mr. Saunders, who is now over 30, went from playing children's computer games like 'Dracula in London' when was 8-years-old to University; to editing Freedom (the Anarchist journal) in his twenties; to writing as a reporter on the Communist Morning Star; he has never had what some people would call a proper job.  Yet, in accusing me and other editors of the NV Blog of 'Doxxing' he raises for me an interesting point about the introduction and use of new words into the vocabulary.   

In an essay written around 1940 entitled 'New Words', George Orwell wrote:
'At present the formation of new words is a slow process (I have read somewhere that English gains about six and looses about four words a year) and no new words are deliberately coined except as names for material objects. Abstract words are never coined at all, though old words (e.g. 'condition', 'reflex', etc.) are sometimes twisted into new meanings for scientific purposes.'   

Orwell goes on to recommend that 'it would be quite feasible to invent a vocabulary of, perhaps amounting to several thousand of words, which would deal with parts of our experience now practicably unamenable to language.   

I discussed this Orwell essay 'New Words' with the Manchester academic and ethnomethodologist, Wil Coleman at the time that my friend Harold Scunthorpe, a Friend of Freedom Press, and I were intending to publish what was to be a Raven on Noam Chomsky's linguistics and politics in 1999.  Both Wil Coleman, and the Witgensteinian academic and 'green anarchist', Rupert Read, had written critiques of Professor Chomsky's linguistics for publication.   

In a  way Orwell is dealing in this essay with some of the problems of language and communication addressed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his book 'Philosophical Investigations' published later.  Orwell for example is really dealing with Wittgenstein's notion of the issues of solipsism and the problems of a private language when he writes:

'For one man, or a clique, to try and make up language, as I believe James Joyce is now doing, is as absurd as one man trying to play football alone.'   

The editor of the now defunct paper Freedom, Simon Saunders, when he admonishes me and Mr. Albert Hall, the writer of the comment revealing Mr. Saunders' real name, refers to the relatively new word 'doxxing' and has even been kind enough to give this word a meaning or dictionary definition: 'doxxing' equals '

Wittgenstein, in his later work, challenges dictionary definitions by showing that a word like  'game' has an infinite number of meanings, and Orwell writes of the meaning of a poem:

'The dictionary-meaning has, as nearly always, something to do with the real meaning, but not more than the “anecdote” of a picture has to do with its design..'   

When one considers the preoccupations of Orwell's later book '1984', one can well understand why he wants to extend the volume of words to embrace meanings which better cover the contents of our minds and inner selves.  The strategy of the Party in that book is to reduce the vocabulary through 'Newspeak'  in order that it would be impossible to articulate or think subversive thoughts   In the appendix to '1984' entitled 'The Principles of Newspeak' Orwell wrote:

'It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by the year 2050...  The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.'   

At the beginning of Wittgenstein's 'Philosophical Investigations' he quotes from Augustine's 'Confessions' and he writes that:  'Every word has a meaning.  This meaning is correlated with a word.  It is the object for which the word stands.'   

I don't suggest for a moment that Simon Saunders, one-time Editor of Freedom and now a paid-pundit on the Communist Morning Star, has thought his through his position with reference to these considerations when he he tries to explain to me the meaning of the word 'doxxing'.and urges me to 'take down' his name from the Northern Voices Blog on the dubious grounds that he may be subjected to some form of blacklisting by some Human Resources Department in his 'industry' – the newspaper trade.         

Mr. Saunders ought to understand that to qualify for inclusion on a blacklist one has to do something as such inclusion is a kind of accomplishment.  In his Obituary entitled 'Freedom, 1886-2014:  An Appreciation' David Goodway describes the blacklisting of an earlier editor of Freedom:

'Vernon Richards had qualified as a civil engineer – during the war he worked on the last significant stretch of rail track to be constructed in the British Isles at March in Cambrideshire – but another consequence of the trial (for “conspiracy to seduce from duty persons in the Forces to cause disaffection”)  was the realisation that his imprisonment would serve to blacklist him in his profession.'  
 
The fact here is that Vernon Richards was placed on the blacklist of the civil engineering industry because of the stand he took in urging the returning troops from the Second World War to 'disaffection'.  Unlike Vernon Richards, the journalist Simon Saunders wants to edit Freedom shyly in the shadows.  Now I believe that that approach represents a kind of cowardly corruption that runs through some sections of the British left today like a stick of Blackpool Rock.  Unfortunately, Mr. Saunders is not alone in what I see as this shallow, shy skedaddler politics.  It represent a sad degeneration of the radical body politic in this country.  
 
  I note that despite my request you have still not taken my real name down from comments on your blog connecting me to radical politics (comments under your "Anarchist Fed.: Under the Pavement Politics" article).  As I have noted to you before, I keep my real name off such things for a reason, as once it's up online in this manner it becomes immensely easy for a prospective employer to keep me out of a job simply by Googling my name. In modern times outing people in the public domain in this way is known as "Doxxing" and is generally regarded as extremely reprehensible behaviour.

 
If you have any pretensions to fighting blacklists, rather than enabling them, then take my name down immediately.
Simon

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Fracking in Lancashire!

Statement from Greater Manchester Trades' Councils:

IF we are to prevent irreversible climate change, we have to leave 80% of existing reserves of fossil fuel in the ground. A new 'extreme' type of fossil fuel -shale gas- forced out of the ground by fracturing rocks in a process which pollutes water, air and threatens human and animal health, is the last thing we need.
 
This coming Wednesday and Thursday, 28th and 29th January,Lancashire County Council will decide whether to allow large scale fracking tests at two sites on the Fylde.. This would be the first time actual fracking (as opposed to exploratory drilling) has taken place in the UK since Cuadrilla's previous attempts near Blackpool caused earthquakes.
 
Local anti-fracking and environmental groups will be lobbying the council meeting in Preston to refuse planning permission. The outcome will affect the future of fracking throughout the UK. Some of us are going from Greater Manchester to support them. Can you join us?
 
We are meeting at Piccadilly Station (the waiting area near Platform 14) at 7.35 on Wednesday and Thursday mornings (Wednesday is perhaps more important but come when you can!) to catch the 7.45 train to Preston. County Hall (PR1 8RL) is opposite the station. We'll be gathering at 9 to catch councillors going in for a meeting from 10 till 4.
 
There may also be a free coach going from Manchester (7am) via Eccles (7.30) organised by Northern Gas Gala, you would need to contact them to confirm this. 
Time to Act on Climate Change: demo and meeting
Demo in London on March 7th, transport details to follow soon.
Meeting to build our Manchester contingent: Tuesday 17th Feb, 7pm Friends Meeting House. Again, look out for details shortly.

Inequality & the Green Party

Secretary of Rochdale Green Party's Message:

'Is Britain Too Unequal'! 

It is my belief that raising public awareness of any issue is an important step to creating change, and so I was pleased when I arrived (a bit late!) at 7:30pm on Monday to see the room very near capacity! 
Below, I have included some links to further information about inequality, and about the two organisations that provided speakers for the meeting - Equality North West and Rochdale Green Party. 

It is not my intention to retain your contact details for further use, so if you would like to be kept informed about future events organised by Rochdale Green Party or Equality North West, please let me know by reply. 

With a General Election fast approaching, and inequality a hot topic in the media and with campaign groups, please do think about what you can do over the next few months and beyond in order to bring about the social changes we need to reduce inequality and all the damaging effects that go with it. 
Kind regards,

Andrew Rossall,  Secretary of Rochdale Green Party 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Bedroom Tax campaigner goes to Supreme Court!

Manchester tenant Meryvn Drage  (57) of Bradford Court in Moston, has appealed against the Bedroom Tax.

His case has been taken all the way to
the highest court in Britain, the supreme Court (House of Lords). A date for this hearing has yet to be set.
 
Meryvn is being represented by the Public Law Defenders. His is a test case. The outcome will have an effect all the other appeals against the Bedroom Tax. That is the reason so many other appeals have been held up. 

Solicitor Ann McMurdie, from Public Law Defenders will give an update on the challenges to the Bedroom Tax in the Courts.

Like many who have been hit by the Bedroom Tax, Mervyn has a number of mental health conditions. To be forced to move away from his home would have a detrimental effect on his life and his health.

Mervyn has joined marches and protest against the Bedroom Tax since its introduction in April 2013.

The legal speak for his appeal is:

'The 
Claimant is a 56 year old sole tenant of a three bedroom flat initially allocated to him in 1994 when it was hard to let. He has a number of physical and mental health problems including depression, anxiety and OCD together with persecutory delusions from time to time. His condition is aggravated by stress and changes of routine and his disability means that it would be unreasonable to move or share occupation of his flat.'

[Unite the Union] Blacklist Support Group AGM

Stewart Hume
January 23 at 7:09am
Blacklist Support Group AGM - 7th March Glasgow

Blacklist Support Group AGM

Saturday 7th March 2015 (1-4pm)
Jurys Inn Glasgow
80 Jamaica Street,
Glasgow
G1 4QG

This AGM is being held in conjunction with the construction rank & file
national meeting.
Speakers to be confirmed.

All blacklisted workers welcome to attend and vote.
All supporters welcome to attend.

*Blacklist Support Group*
video: Blacklisting 2013 - The Workers Strike Back
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70>
blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog
facebook:http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/

Link to ‘Freedom’ 1886-2014: An Obituary

by David Goodway

A subscriber to Freedom for more than fifty years, David Goodway laments the end of one of the world’s oldest left-wing papers:

 

The final Freedom
The final Freedom
It has been announced by Freedom, arguably the longest running left periodical in Britain, that the March-April 2014 issue will be its last. The paper has been in trouble for some years. Now with a mere 225 subscribers, a print-run of about 1,000 and annual losses of £3,500 it is intended to produce an online version accompanied by an occasional free news-sheet. This is an odd situation since there must be a greater number of conscious anarchists nowadays than at any previous time in British history, while in addition there are many more natural anarchists, people who, though not identifying themselves as anarchists, think and behave in significantly anarchist ways.


For more go to:
 http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/freedom-1886-2014-an-obituary/

Saturday, 24 January 2015

DIRECT ACTION BY NOTTINGHAM RESIDENTS DEFEATS BAILIFFS!



We are publishing the following article taken from the Tameside Citizen blog, as it should be of interest to our readers:

"Carlton, Nottingham today. Hundreds of supporters of cancer sufferer Tom Crowford turned out today in a flash demo to block the path of bailiffs (spit) and turn them back, thereby preventing him from being evicted. (check here for more details.) Leaderless Resistance, the way forward!

Don't join joint committees involving the local Labour Party or Unions. They are a part of the problem. Liaison with state approved bodies in the fight against austerity is as logical as having a joint strike committee with the boss! Use social media to announce your flash demo but keep your identity secret. The police regularly wear helmets with face covering visors and hide their shoulder numbers so we should hide our names..."

UK IN SEVERE BREACHES OF WORKERS RIGHTS!

The role of the European Committee of Social Rights (the Committee) is to rule on the conformity of the situation in States Parties with the 1961 European Social Charter (the 1961 Charter) and the 1988 Additional Protocol (the Additional Protocol). The Committee adopts conclusions through the framework of the reporting procedure and decisions under the collective complaints procedure. These conclusions were published in January 2015.

Information on the 1961 Charter, statements of interpretation, and general questions from the Committee, are reflected in the General Introduction to all Conclusions. The following chapter concerns the United Kingdom, which has ratified the 1961 Charter on 11 July 1962. The deadline for submitting the 33rd report was 31 October 2013 and the United Kingdom submitted it on 30 October 2013.

Conclusions United Kingdom Articles 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the 1961 Charter

The report concerns the following provisions of the thematic group "Labour rights":

-  The right to just conditions of work (Article 2)
-  The right to a fair remuneration (Article 4)
-  The right to organize (Article 5)
-  The right to bargain collectively (Article 6)
-  The right to information and consultation (Article 2 of the Additional Protocol)
-  The right to take part in the determination and improvement of the working conditions and working environment (Article 3 of the Additional Protocol)

The United Kingdom has accepted all Articles from this group except Articles 2§1, 4§3, 2 of the Additional Protocol and 3 of the Additional Protocol. The reference period was from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2012.

The conclusions on United Kingdom concern 13 situations and are as follows:
-  10 conclusions of non-conformity: Articles 2§2, 2§4, 2§5, 4§1, 4§2, 4§4, 4§5, 5, 6§2 and 6§4.
-  3 conclusions of conformity: Articles 2§3, 6§1 and 6§3.


Article 6 - Paragraph 4 - Collective action
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 6§4 of the 1961 Charter on the grounds that:

-  the possibilities for workers to defend their interests through lawful collective action are excessively limited;

-  the requirement to give notice to an employer of a ballot on industrial action is excessive;

-   the protection of workers against dismissal when taking industrial action is insufficient.

Article 5 - Right to organize
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 5 of the 1961 Charter, on the ground that legislation which makes it unlawful for a trade union to indemnify an individual union member for a penalty imposed for an offence or contempt of court, and which severely restricts the grounds on which a trade union may lawfully discipline members, represent unjustified incursions into the autonomy of trade unions.

Article 6 - Paragraph 2 - Negotiation procedures
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 6§2 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that workers and trade unions do not have the right to bring legal proceedings in the event that employers offer financial incentives to induce workers to exclude themselves from collective bargaining.

Article 4 - Paragraph 1 - Decent remuneration
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§1 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that the minimum wage applicable to workers in the private sector does not secure a decent standard of living.

Article 4 - Paragraph 2 - Increased remuneration for overtime work
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§2 of the Charter on the ground that workers do have no adequate legal guarantees to ensure them increased remuneration for overtime.

Article 2 -  Paragraph 2 - Public holidays with pay
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§2 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that the right of all workers to public holidays with pay is not guaranteed.

Article 2 - Paragraph 4 - Elimination of risks in dangerous or unhealthy occupations
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§4 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that it has not been established that workers exposed to occupational health risks, despite the existing risk elimination policy, are entitled to appropriate compensation measures.

Article 2 - Paragraph 5 - Weekly rest period
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§5 of the 1961 Charter, on the ground that there are inadequate safeguards to prevent that workers may work for more than twelve consecutive days without a rest period.

Article 4 - Paragraph 4 - Reasonable notice of termination of employment
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§4 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that notice periods are inadequate below three years of service.

Article 4 - Paragraph 5 - Limits to wage deductions
Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§5 of the 1961 Charter, on the grounds that: - it has not been established that the limits on deductions from wages equivalent to the National Minimum Wage are reasonable; the determination of deductions from wages higher than the National Minimum Wage is left at the disposal of the parties to the employment contract.

[Editors note: Submissions for these reports were submitted at the end of 2013; studied throughout 2014, conclusions drawn up and published this month January 2015.

Manchester demo against MAXIMUS and Work Capability Assessments!

We are publishing below a recent briefing received from Boycott Workfare:

"There will be a demonstration against Maximus and the Work Capability
Assessment on Monday 2nd March 2015 from 12pm at Albert Bridge House,
Bridge Street, Manchester, M60 9AT (meeting point St Mary's Parsonage
(the road/square off Bridge St on the Manchester side of Albert Bridge
House), Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/346833825508275 )

This demonstration is part of the national day of action against
Maximus and the WCA called by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) on
Monday 2nd March 2015:
http://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/disabled-claimants-welcome-to-maximus-march-2nd-everywhere/

Maximus is the company taking over from Atos running the despised Work
Capability Assessments (WCAs) for sickness and disability benefits.
These crude and callous assessments have been used to strip benefits
from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick
computer based test ruled them 'fit for work'. A growing number of
suicides have been directly linked to this stressful regime, whilst
charities, medical staff and claimants themselves have warned of the
desperate consequences for those left with no money at all by the
system.

In a huge embarrassment for the DWP, the previous contractor Atos were
chased out of the Work Capability Assessments after a sustained and
militant campaign carried out by disabled people, benefit claimants
and supporters. In a panicky effort to save these vicious assessments
Iain Duncan Smith hired US private healthcare company Maximus to take
over from Atos this coming April.

This is not the only lucrative contract the Tories have awarded this
company. Maximus are also involved in helping to privatise the NHS,
running the Fit for Work occupational health service designed to bully
and harass people on sick leave into going back to work. Maximus also
run the notorious Work Programme in some parts of the UK, meaning that
disabled people found fit for work by Maximus may then find themselves
sent on workfare by Maximus. There is no greater enemy to the lives of
sick and disabled people in the UK today than this multi-national
poverty profiteer who even are prepared to run welfare-to-work style
schemes for the brutal Saudi Arabian government.

Maximus have boasted they will not face protests due to their
involvement in the Work Capability Asessments and have even stooped as
low as hiring one prominent former disability campaigner on a huge
salary in an effort to quell protests against their activities. We
urgently need to show them how wrong they are and call for all
disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters to organise against
this vicious bunch of profiteering thugs.

Albert Bridge House is the assessment centre used in Manchester by
Atos to carry out Work Capability Asessments. The building is owned by
the DWP and it is likely that it will continue to be used for these
assessments with the premises and staff handed over from Atos to
Maximus."

Details of other national and local actions:
https://www.facebook.com/events/771842739517758/permalink/775315939170438/

Links for more info about Maximus and the WCA:
https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/there-is-no-greater-enemy-to-sick-and-disabled-people-in-the-uk-join-the-day-of-action-against-maximus-march-2nd-2015/
http://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/maximus-the-company-that-dare-not-show-its-face-scrapwca/
https://tompride.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/meet-maximus-the-new-atos-but-even-worse/

Lords to sneak in the Snoopers' Charter

THE Counter Terrorism and Security Bill is being debated on Monday, but suddenly it turned into a totally different beast. Four peers have decided to insert the Snoopers Charter into the law, as 18 pages of amendments. The amendments are nearly identical in form to the draft Communications Data Bill, which was previously scrutinized by a parliamentary committee who concluded that it was inappropriate.

All the problems with the Snoopers' Charter - that its figures were fanciful and misleading, that it, pays insufficient attention to the duty to respect the right to privacy, are still there. Laying 18 pages of amendments before the Lords to insert the Snoopers' Charter into an already complicated Bill is an abuse of our democratic system.

The Lords cannot have time to properly consider the bill, and would deny the Commons the opportunity to consider the clauses as well. You can stop this happening! Please

1. Write to a Lord (they don't have constituencies, so you have to pick one at random)
2. Ask them to debate Snoopers Charter on Monday
3. Send them our briefing

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Murdering journalists … them and us

by William Blum

AFTER Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height.  I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech.  We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.
Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age?  Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.  During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region.  And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?
In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not  , leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.
In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.
In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.
Read the full article here -- expert analysis of the catastrophe the USA has brought to the Middle East:

Green Party & the Blacklist

ON Monday night, I was at a public meeting of the Oldham/ Rochdale Green Party entitled 'Is Britain Too Unequal' at The Lancashire Fold pub on Kirkway estate in Middleton, and it was very well attended given that it was a Monday & the weather was bad. I'm not a member of any Party, but because I don't think you can get much more 'unequal' than by being on the blacklist, I raised our campaign against the blacklist in the British building trade.



I think it was fairly well received although I do detect a 'generational gap' between the older-end who may remember trade unions as they used to be in the 1970s & 80s, and the younger ones who are fresh which ideas about the environment. This may not be a problem if they can find some way blending the two tendencies.


Yet, with Labour Councils like Manchester City Council and Tameside MBC under Kieron Quinn, freely handing out contracts to blacklisting companies like Carillion it would be good if we could get the Greens to take up a policy of 'Ethical Procurement' using the 'Islington Model' as suggested at Liverpool TUC last Thursday night, to try to turn it into an election issue.

That would, I think, help put some of these Labour Councils who are collaborating with blacklisting companies on the back-foot.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Liverpool TUC & the Blacklist

Unite's Gail Cartmail & the Northern Narative!

'Boys on the Blacklist' talk given by
Brian Bamford, Secretary of Tameside TUC,
to Liverpool TUC on the 19th, January 2015:
 
I first met the 'Boys on the Blacklist' in Manchester's Piccadilly Square one afternoon on a picket during the DAF DISPUTE in 2003.  

At that time I was on a mission to give them a cheque for all of £10 from Tameside TUC.
I didn't know then, what we all know now, that this would lead the most significant industrial struggles of this century so far.   

The battle against the blacklist in the BRITISH building trade began in there Manchester Piccadilly, in 2003.   There in 2003, in both Manchester Piccadilly and later on in the pickets in Crown Square near the Law courts was where it all began. 
 
None of us knew where all this would end up!

 Soon after these early pickets was when at the Manchester Employment Tribunal that Michael Fahey, a manager for the sub-contractor DAF Electricial Contractors PLC, famously declared:
'AMICUS IS OUR UNION!'
 
 Bringing the natural response from the union barrister:
'YOUR UNION, MR FAHEY?'

 'YES' ,  he says, 'We pay the union dues!'

 Thus  the boss of DAF Electrical Contractors PLC pays the union affiliations for his own workforce on site.
 
When Michael Fahey said:  'IT'S OUR UNION'   

 That was a signal, the vital signal that something is anmiss in the culture of labour relations on the British building sites.  

Sometime in 2004, on a picket in Crown Square, while standing with the electrician Sean Keaveney I took a photo of Dave Fahey, the senior boss or managing director of DAF. 
 
The photo I took of Mr. Fahey was later to appear in this small booklet entitled 'Locked-Out Manchester Electricians' published by Tameside TUC.  This pamphlet was financially backed by the Greater Manchester Fire Brigades Union; Tameside TUC; Manchester Social Forum; Oldham Trades Council; the North West TUC, the Greater Manchester County Associatioon of TUCs and the regional journal Northern Voices.

In this booklet over a decade ago we stated that: 
'it aims  to capture the essence of /// a small but important dispute:    The Manchester Lockout of the DAF electricians.'
and in our conclusion, at that time in 2004, we stated an analysis that was very different from that that we are proposing today in the 'Boys on the Blacklist'
 

'it aims to capture the essence of ///  a small but important dispute':  /// 

In the 'Locked-out Electricians' we simply concluded that the dispute was '...important because it reflects a decline in the standards of workmanship in Britain by bringing in semi-skilled workers to do skilled work [producing] a willingness to run risks with safety at work through cutting corners and casualisation.'
 
What has happened here is, that in just over a decade, a dispute that kicked-off with health and safety issues on the British building sites, and cheap labour on British building sites, has clearly moved on to something much more significant.

With this new book I think that we have now come to realise that we're up against something very much more radical; and fundemental than health and safety or cheap labour however important these issues are.  Now in this later book the 'Boys on the Blacklist' I think we now know that we're up against something more serious, and that in dealing with the affiliates of the Consulting Assocaition we have seen a culture, a spirit of capital, that both red raw in tooth and claw.

There are two areas of serious concern which are alluded to in both these books - the 'Manchester Locked-out Electricians' and the 'Boys on the Blacklist'.  Both deal with what are for all of us trade unionists two serious matters, but neither resolve the two problems:

PROBLEM 1.    TO WHAT EXTENT WERE FULL-TIME TRADE UNION OFFICIALS INVOLVED IN EITHER PROVIDING INTELLEGENCE OR ENFORCING THE BUILDING SITE BLACKLIST? 

This has been alleged many times by lads in the building trade & some names has been put forward.  The whistle-blower & Agency manager Jim Simms has argued that this was the case but when I met him while we were producing this book he didn't provide us with a smoking gun.

In our earlier book 'The Lock-out Electricians' an academic Dave White, then working at Leeds University wrote:
'In the Manchester DAF dispute, workers have evidence that Amicus officials sanctioned their sacking in order to preserve good relations with management.'

At the time of the Manchester Employment Tribunal hearing in 2003, I believe one Amicus official was named as being present at meetings that excluded certain electricians from the CROWN SQUARE site.

PROBLEM 2.   WHAT ABOUT THE CLAIM // THAT AMICUS WAS /// FOR YEARS INREIPT OF UNION DUES FROM THE CONTRACTING COMPANIES?

Over this there has been strong evidence and convincing claims from another whistle-blower called Alan Wainwright:  I think he told Gail Cartmail, Deputy General Secretary of UNite, that the company Carillion paid AMICU £100,000 a year in union dues. 

When, while researching this latest pamphlet we came to read GAIL CARTMAIL'S own report on blacklisting produced for UNITE in 2011; we found that she hadn't even interviewed  ALAN WAINWRIGHT//

We naturally asked her while producing this book  WHY SHE HADN'T BOTHERED to interview such an important witness:  We are still waiting for her answer.
 
BUT GAIL CARTMAIL HAS FOUND TIME TO E-MAIL SOME OF HER COLLEAGUES and

ON THE 5th, November 2014, about 2 weeks after the 'BOYS ON THE BLACKLIST' went on sale.  GAIL CARTMAIL an e-mail to the Unite head of legal services, Howard Becket, and several of her senior colleagues.  This e-mail was leaked to us at tameside TUC and reads as follows: 

'Colleagues, 

'PLEASE BE AWARE MATERIAL IN THIS PUBLICATION WAS PUBLISHED WITHOUT AGREEMENT and I BELIEVE BREACHES THE TUC POLICY ON FUNDING TRADES COUNCIL PROJECTS.   

'WE HAVE REITERATED THAT ONLY AN INDEPENDENT PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO BLACKLISTING WITH THE POWER TO FORENSICALLY ANALYSIS EVIDENCE & TAKE WITNESS STATEMENTS & CROSS EXAMINE UNDER OATH WILL REVEAL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SCANDAL OF BLACKLISTING - LABOUR HAS COMMITTED TO THIS  & IN THE MEANTIME, WELL INTENTIONED BUT AMATEUR EFFORTS ARE JUST THAT,   AMATEUR & POTENTIALLY SELF-DEFEATING. 

CONTACT ME IF YOU WISH TO DISCUSS.   

AND BY THE WAY THERE WERE 'GIRLS' ON THE BLACKLIST TOO -  EVERYDAY SEXISM.'

THANKS,  GAIL.
 _____________________________________

So there you go comrades!  & that you know that we're 'EVERYDAY SEXISTS!'

I'll bet somebody got his or her arse chewed when Gail found out that her e-mail had been leaked to us.

What's interesting here is that Gail Cartmail didn't really want to dig the dirt on AMICUS  and full-time officials who may have been involved in the blacklist.  She just wants to hand the problem over to a future Labour Government.  The last thing she wants to do is to say the Emperor has no clothes.  Of course, Gail talks of an 'independent public inquiry' into blacklisting but how can it be genuinely independent when the biggest donor to the Labour Party is Unite the Union