Nationwide Building Society and Stephen Uden’s “Invisible People”

nationwide-protest-2-34487003UPDATE: Since writing this article I was sent a link via Twitter from the Nationwide Building Society Press office, denying the story. Nationwide say:

The GMB’s accusation is disappointing, surprising and, quite frankly, wrong.  We have not asked our partners Carillion to reduce the hours of its employees.

So let me confirm what I know to be factually true, and what I can prove. There are 21 cleaners employed by Carillion PLC at the Nationwide Head Office in Swindon. Each of them has been given a letter from Carillion PLC which I have seen, and of which I have a copy. The letter outlines new shift patterns, for the majority of the cleaners, their hours will be reduced so that they lose £40 per week, and they will nearly all be working anti-social shift patterns. All of this is true, I have been told it by the cleaners themselves, and I have copies of the letter.

The letter from Carillion unambiguously states (the exact words): “Why are we doing this? It is what NBS want. Therefore we are responding to our customers’ requirements“. Continue reading

Alternative Autumn statements: continued Tory failure versus Corbynomics

Osborne delivering the autumn statementHaving spectacularly failed in his stated goal of eliminating the deficit in the last parliament, George Osborne is repeating his experiment in this one. Both the June 2010 and 2015 Budgets proposed ‘fiscal tightening’ of £37 billion. In the first of these Budgets the main method was cuts in public spending. In the second it is the sole method.

In the latest Autumn Statement this now falls to £36 billion and takes place more slowly after the U-turn on implementing cuts to working tax credits. These are now effectively scheduled to take place more slowly under the guise of ‘reform’ to the Universal Credit system. Continue reading

The Tories’ tax credit cut will cause problems for them in 2020

osborne red facedIt’s proven to be the closest shave of Dave’s second term and would have thrown the government into chaos had the ayes won it. Tonight’s vote in the Commons, brought before the House by Labour, saw the noes (i.e. keep the cuts to working tax credits) win by 317 to 295 – a tiny sliver of a margin. This is despite Tory luminaries like Boris Johnson weighing in against the cuts, and Heidi Allen – new Tory member for South Cambridgeshire – using her maiden speech to strongly intone that “to pull ourselves out of debt, we should not be forcing those working families into it.” And yet talk of a Tory rebellion proved to be tough talk, no trousers. To a woman and a man our would-be insurgents lined up behind George Osborne and endorsed the policy they had spent all day attacking. We always knew their workers’ party rhetoric was flim-flam, but the Tories are going to have a tougher time selling that now.  Continue reading

Corbyn’s Labour will stop the Tories abusing liberty, removing rights and cutting living standards

trade union banner_39An effective, credible and principled opposition has never been needed more. The Cameron Government have resumed their assault on working people in the Commons this week.

The Trade Union Bill seeks to remove the democratic rights of working people and has been condemned by human rights organisations including Liberty, Amnesty International UK and the British Institute of Human Rights.

New ballot thresholds effectively remove the right to strike. In the limited circumstances when they are achieved the Government will use agency workers to break strikes, in contravention of International Labour Organisation rules. Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith demands as many disabled people work as able-bodied

IDSAs part of the government’s plan to extract £12bn from social security benefits, IDS has announced his latest target is “the disability employment gap”. According to analysis of official ONS figures, this represents the difference between the number of disabled people who are in employment (48%) and the figure for the general population (73%). The implication is that IDS expects the same proportion of disabled people to work as those who are able-bodied! Just what does he believe disability means? There is a long and aggravated Tory history behind this latest announcement, beginning with Thatcher’s attempt to conceal the true unemployment figures by switching applicants en masse to the category of disability and making them subject to incapacity benefit rather than unemployment benefit. Continue reading