Exposing corporate hypocrites

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A key concept in modern marketing is that of Brand Promise: the commitments made by a company that seek to align it to the expectations and preferences of its target market, to provide competitive advantage.

In particular, some companies seek to position themselves as “ethical”, whether in relation to avoiding controversial business sectors, such as guns, tobacco and alcohol; or by making commitments to avoid exploitative abuse of workers, either their own direct employees or in their supply chain. Continue reading

Using public procurement for a fairer Scotland

30365772_sMore than £10bn of Scottish taxpayers cash goes on buying goods and services in the private sector. This procurement activity could do much more to deliver the Scottish Government and other public bodies policy aims.

Last year the Scottish Parliament passed the Procurement Reform Act and the EU passed a new Procurement Directive. These provide a framework for a new approach to procurement, but need to be transposed into regulations and guidance to make it work on the ground. Procurement is a devolved matter and it has has to be said that the Scottish Government is making a much better fist of implementation than their UK counterparts. However, progress is slow and the approach is still too cautious and risk adverse. Continue reading

Let’s be bolder on tackling poverty pay during Living Wage Week

LW_logo_master_rgb-300x237During Living Wage Week we should focus on ensuring that the 400,000 workers in Scotland on poverty pay are paid the living wage. The idea behind a living wage is very simple. A worker should be paid enough to live decently and to adequately provide for their family. It helps prevent in-work poverty and ensures workers are not exploited through low wages.

The Scottish Living Wage is good news for workers as they get higher wages that also improves their health and job motivation. It’s good for employers because it reduces turnover, improves productivity and attracts better staff through reputational gain. The wider community benefits through lower benefit cost, less stress on the NHS and cash into the local economy. The Institute of Fiscal studies has calculated sub-living wage employers cost the taxpayer £6bn a year in in-work benefits alone. The indirect cost on poverty is around £25bn a year. Continue reading

Why Britain needs a pay rise

payriselogoTomorrow the TUC demonstration will be highlighting why Britain needs a pay rise. The extent to which people’s living standards have dropped is greater than ever before.

I was shocked when a Unite bus driver told me how every month his wife’s parents have to give them £200 to be able to pay their rent and it is common practise for bus drivers to be on benefits. Paul and his members are not shirkers or skivers and yet these are the people under attack from cuts and austerity.

Recently I have been to many Unite sector committees talking about the need to vote Labour at the General Election. What comes up time and time again is that although they won’t vote Tory there is no enthusiasm to vote Labour. Everyone is being affected by lower wages, attacks on working conditions, job insecurity, housing costs, and a higher cost of living. And yet they do not believe that Labour is the answer to the cost of living crisis. Continue reading

A trade union agenda for Labour

1280px-Durham_Miners_Gala_2008_Old_Elvet_BridgeIt’s no mystery why all the economic indicators point to the economy emerging from the recession and yet wages are continuing to fall behind inflation. The post-recession economy that is being created is based upon reinforcing the distribution of power between capital and labour that has been imposed upon our society since the 1980s.

Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws were intended to ensure that the income generated within our economy poured into the hands of shareholders and company executives while workers’ wages stagnated. The undermining of the ability of trade unions to negotiate effectively on behalf of their members has meant that for three decades the proportion of wealth generated within our economy has grown dramatically for capital but declined for labour.
The return of a Labour Government provides the opportunity to redress this latest history of exploitation. If the next Labour Government is to stand any chance of tackling the grotesque inequalities of present day Britain, it needs a trade union agenda.

This is a simple trade union plan for Labour. Continue reading