TUC: Chuka Umunna’s pro-worker, pro-business agenda means business as usual

chukaHave you heard the news?

Workers and bosses have the same interests. That’s right. The biggest and most significant social divide in capitalist Britain today, the key battleground between those who produce the wealth and those who own it is apparently no longer an issue.

According Labour leading light Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, you can be pro-worker and pro-business. Continue reading

Have the trade unions given up on Labour?

francesogradycongressA slimmed down Trades Union Congress meeting this week on the banks of the Mersey has an air of unreality about it. It’s not quite that no-one cares what the TUC says – trade union leaders care enough about speaking with one voice that there is even less public debate and dissent here than there is at Labour’s conference. But there is simply no mechanism to make the very good policies agreed here translate into a political reality.

It is 115 years since the TUC decided to initiate what became the Labour Party, “to establish a voice for working people within parliament“. If the trade unions affiliated to Labour, who still have almost half the votes at its conference, could propose the policies agreed here in Liverpool at Labour’s conference in Manchester the week after next, they would be carried  with little dissent. There is no need for trade unions to dictate to Labour; the party membership would welcome them just giving voice and their votes to what they believe.

But that isn’t what happens. Continue reading

Britain needs a pay rise

600px-FPF-meme-1-workers-2K-yr-worse-offWe are now in the second week of the Fair Pay Fortnight which is raising awareness about Britain’s cost of living crisis.

Upon taking office in 2010, the Coalition Government promised to “make work pay”. However, those in work have seen an assault on their living standards, with full time UK workers earning on average £2,084 less a year than they were in 2010.

The TUC has organised the Fair Pay Fortnight to deliver one simple message – Britain needs a pay rise. Continue reading

Individual trade unionists are being offered no influence. Just like party members

Ed at TUC 2013At the end of Ed’s speech at this week’s TUC, most delegates clapped politely, as befits the person they’d prefer to be the next prime minister. But there was no enthusiasm. Trade union delegates feel misunderstood and unwanted. and it is not surprising.

Ed talked of a “new relationship with individual trade union members“. That desire is of course shared. New Labour clearly regarded trade unions as an embarrassment. In truth the Blairites preferred dealing with the senior management of multi-national companies with whom they had more in common, politically and socially, than with the workers or their representatives. Continue reading