Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Derek Simpson's Global Ambitions

When I read that Derek Simpson, the boss of UNITE was meeting the Teamsters union, I almost burst out laughing. I'm not sure that the Teamsters and flight attendants would necessarily see eye to eye. But actually, it's no laughing matter.

You see, Simpson is a meglomaniac. Not content with controlling Britain's biggest union, he has grander designs. He's already on the record as wanting to create a pan European trade union but he sees creating a global trade union as the best way of combatting global capital and globalisation. No, really.

He's clearly bonkers, but madmen should never be underestimated. Simpson's term as UNITE boss finishes soon and he's looking for a new challenge. This strike may just offer him the opportunity he's been looking for. Be warned.

29 comments:

Walsingham's Ghost said...

I bet CCHQ cannot believe their luck!

You can always depend on the Trade Union movement in this country to bring down a Labour Government.

That said, if the Teamsters agee to show 'solidarity' and refuse to attend to any BA flights arriving in the US (e.g. by not unloading baggage or refuelling the planes etc.) then BA will experience a total collapse in their transatlantic passenger numbers and in all probably go out of business.

Brown's Britain - A Future Fair For All...

WG.

Lee Enfield Mk1 said...

Simpson's a commie, and they love globalism, as long as they operate the Gulags.

They never joke about anything they do, and one of the reasons that we're in a mess today is the inability of the "right" wing to realise this. They will kill us all.

Anthem by Ayn Rand is a jolly good novel about the outcome of socialism -

Thatsnews said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teamsters
"The influence of organised crime..."

Hasn't Derek 'Homer' Simpson heard of Jimmy Hoffa?

DespairingLiberal said...

Why are global trade unions any more "megalomaniac" than global companies? Many trade unionists would see it as the next logical step, since big companies frequently see mere nation-states as obstacles on their path to profits. To take Kraft/Cadbury as but one of scores of recent examples.

Of course, I can well understand why you as a Tory with a history of anti-union activity would want to bash this, but it is very much in the interests of working people to organise internationally, since without such organisation, we are effectively being urinated upon from a great height by finance-backed international corporations.

lillispad said...

Do you have a citation or report about the meeting? I'd be curious about the details.

There is plenty Mr. Simpson could learn from the Teamsters (and vice-versa). The Teamsters have been able to remain influential despite high-profile scandal. They have endorsed candidates from both parties making them influential and have has successes despite the "opposition" being in power. The Teamsters are also top-notch at "retail politics" - if UNITE needs a crash course in modern election methods then he's come to the right place.

It strikes me if megalomania was his sole driver he'd agitate for the head of the ITUC or, if he's in empire building mode, PERC.

tory boys never grow up said...

Funny how you don't call the bosses of multinational corporations meglomaniacs. Why shouldn't trade unions organise on a multinational basis when the businesses their members work for do so - you never know that some businesses who have got beyond the divide and conquer attitude to their employees might actually prefer to work with trade unions on such a basis. You usually criticise trade unions for not modernising and moving with the times - but then of course when they do, you just criticise them anyway.

ahs benton said...

Whatever his politics, the basic logic of fighting a global force with a global movement is not bonkers at all. It is perfectly sound.

He would probably want to point out that unregulated global capitalism had to be rescued by major state interventions that Thatcherites would and could never have imagined.

The failures of the past (of both left and right) suggest a future of managed economies. Whether that future is closer to your vision or his remains to be seen.

Victor, NW Kent said...

The Teamsters - a bye word for corruption, intimidatory violence and links with organised crime. Fortunately they are much smaller than in their heyday and are now almost simply a fundraising operation for the Democrats. They may have contributed as much as $20-million to the Obama campaign.

trevorsden said...

UNITE??

The Telegraph reports that they still have 2 separate offices and the 2 joint leaders hate each others guts and that the semi autominous cabin crew branch directly take a third of their members subs.

UNITE? In the same way that Brown and Blair were united maybe.

King Athelstan said...

Maybe they're going to find out where Hoffas buried! As I keep saying U-shite are not really a trade union just.....

Weygand said...

A week ago, we were all dismayed that the piss poor performance by the Conservative front benches (and Ashcroft) had seemed likely to let Gordon off the hook.

But here come the cavalry.

The scintilla of political correctness that remains within me insisted that while Simpson and Woodley may sound like morons, this must be bourgeois prejudice on my part.

But I'm afraid not.

Attacking the British public weeks before a general election, when the team they have sponsored all have Unite on there shirts is an act of such arrogance and stupidity that it is hard to credit.

The Conservatives must be looking forward to a Spring of discontent.

Like Margaret Thatcher, where would Dave be without the unions?

Hawkeye said...

The trolls and lefties are saying "What about multi-national companies then? Aren't they meglomaniac too?

No they are not. And here is why....

A union has no customers and it exists to deal in confrontation. A business either listens to its customers or goes bust. That is the difference. The meglomania of corporations is constrained by the very market forces the lefties despise.

longrun2 said...

Derek Simpson is not bonkers, just dangerous. Even if he was bonkers that would not stop him being dangerous - Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler have all had long-lasting effects upon Europe and the world.

Jimmy said...

Actually all this is a useful reminder to trade unionists that the tories still hate them as much as ever.

cassandra said...

Unions were created to represent the interests of the workers who as individuals could not by themselves influence their pay and conditions.
With the rise of the union power came a realisation by Marxist/leftist members that this collective power could be used to influence not just business leaders but whole governments and so the rise of the union barons began.
These barons realised that the mass of members could be manipulated quite easily into acting as the stormtroopers of the longed for Marxist workers state.
The unions have almost singlehandedly destroyed the UK by playing this political game rather than looking out for the real interests of the British worker, the union leaders of the 50s/60s/70s were masters of the art of pretending to look after the interests of the workers while they betrayed those workers at the alter of a longed for Marxist workers paradise with the union barons playing a leading role of course.
After all the millions of jobs thrown away and all the industrial power sabotaged over 50 odd years you just have to notice how many union barons have suffered for their treachery?
Never before has so many people been utterly betrayed by so few and still to this day the betrayers live out their days in comfort while whole swathes of the UK now have nothing but misery,poverty and the dole. The union barons will have to answer for their crimes one day.

Had the rise of the political union agitator been stopped in 1945, had the politicians had the guts to root out the traitors from the unions then, we would still be the worlds top shipbuilder and industrial giant. The modernisation of our industries would have gone ahead and millions would now have good jobs.
The union barons saw their chance to build a workers Marxist paradise, all they had to do to build this new state was to utterly destroy the old state completely.

Hawkeye said...

Well said Cassandra. Amongst the lefties you will be as popular as your namesake - and for the same reason!

;-)

DespairingLiberal said...

Yeah, sure Hawkeye, it's all about the inexorable, beautiful workings of markets. That's why Microsoft products are so fault-free. Smirk.

Moriarty said...

"Funny how you don't call the bosses of multinational corporations meglomaniacs. Why shouldn't trade unions organise on a multinational basis when the businesses their members work for do so - you never know that some businesses who have got beyond the divide and conquer attitude to their employees might actually prefer to work with trade unions on such a basis. You usually criticise trade unions for not modernising and moving with the times - but then of course when they do, you just criticise them anyway."

And......breathe....!!

Letters From A Tory said...

Maybe him and Gordo can 'save the world' together once they're both out of a job later this year?

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

"but it is very much in the interests of working people to organise internationally, since without such organisation, we are effectively being urinated upon from a great height"

Speak for yourself. You seem to believe that every 'working' person is a member of some union or other. Well actually union membership has declined to the point where they now represent only a tiny minority of the working populations world-wide. And do you seriously believe that manufacturing and (increasingly) service industries based in China, India etc will allow themselves to be crippled by militant unions? No, their game is to outstrip the Western world - and they are doing so rapidly.

If 'British Workers' want to export their jobs they are currently going about it in exactly the right way. How long before all of our industries (including the service sector) disappear?

Still, if you want to follow Derek Simpson into oblivion that's your choice. Just remember though that he's remarkably well insulated from the economic realities which most of his members will have to endure when their employers move off-shore. How's your bank account?

Libertarian said...

@Disparing liberal

Do you not live on our planet?

Microsofts crap products don't have to be bought. The free market offers better open source free products, microsofts competitors offer varing quality/cost products.

While socialist government offerings like the NHS are of course perfect...smirk

titus-aduxas said...

"DespairingLiberal said...
Many trade unionists would see it as the next logical step, since big companies frequently see mere nation-states as obstacles on their path to profits. To take Kraft/Cadbury as but one of scores of recent examples."

So, you're advocating that IT workers in China get the same pay and conditions as one in the UK or the USA or India, even though the laws, cultures and cost of living are vastly different?

It's utter lunacy

Hawkeye said...

DespairingLiberal said; "Yeah, sure Hawkeye, it's all about the inexorable, beautiful workings of markets."

Exactly. Glad to see you've got the point at long last.


"That's why Microsoft products are so fault-free. Smirk."

At work we have no Microsoft products. Everything is desktop Linux. At home only the kids' PC is Windows because they need it for "The Sims".

I am not a Microsoft fan.

Yet for all their products' drawbacks they have persuaded people to by those products. Persuaded - not "enforced", "legislated" or by united action on the picket line.

When Microsoft have tried to "enforce" their will on the customer base they have often spectacularly failed. For instance, in the 90s they pronounced that the web was irrelevant and that they would have nothing to do with it. The revolt was swift and they soon changed position. Some years later they pronounced that Internet Explorer 6 was the last browser you'd ever need and disbanded the development team. Firefox was born. The M$ team was cobbled back together and we now have IE7/8/9.

That's the difference between a company and a union. A union is engineered for conflict, for opposition and for attacking commercial enterprises supposedly on behalf of its members. Unite seems to be less than worried about its members keeping their jobs and more concerned with a victory over capitalism.

DespairingLiberal said...

I know about the China game Unsworth - and about the game western plutocrats are playing, trying to drag our labour force conditions down to their level, backed up by moutpieces in the tabloids, blogs and (sadly) government spokespeople.

Enslavement and peonage for the great majority is the agenda for our international financiers and their conservative backers around the world.

DespairingLiberal said...

Titus, I'm arguing that the corporate interests want to drag us down to the level of China. Unfortunately, anti-union rhetoric and campaigns against workers rights here in Europe and the US, perpetrated by Republican/conservative interests, support this agenda.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

So, what about the 'Socialist' backers, then? Or do Socialists never back international financiers? How on earth do the Labour millionaires make their money? Is it by ripping off pension funds, exporting jobs to India etc?

I'm beginning to think you need a visit to your friendly local (and, of course, self-employed) optometrist.

norman said...

I lived in America for a while. The Teamsters the journalists used to say had links with the "Mob". Such is their pedigree!

norman said...

I was talking with my American friend , who pointed out to me the following article, when I mentioned UNITE and Teamsters link in> This was when Obama was running as a presidential candidate:

Wall Street Journal:
Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/05/obama-seeks-to-end-federa_n_100123.html.

Wake Up!! said...

With reference to the globalisation of unions, you only have to see what Andy Stern of the SEIU (American Service Employees International Union)has had to say on the subject in interviews given last year (statements such as "workers of the World unite")
All unions have falling memberships in the West & see globalisation as a way of reversing this, as well as looking to support each other across countries. We now see this with Unite speaking to the Teamsters