Friday, November 05, 2010

Why Has Trade Union Solidarity Diminished?

Yesterday I took part in a fascinating film by former BBC Industrial Correspondent, Nick Jones, which looked at the issue of trade union solidarity and compared the situation today with the 1970s and 1980s.

In the discussion which followed Nick's report, Matt Wrack from the FBU gave a completely different reason for abandoning today's fire strike to that given earlier yesterday evening. The issue of the ability of the London Fire Authority to provide cover wasn't mentioned at all. Instead, he alleged there had been a move on the part of the employers to withdraw the threat of sackings. That will come as news to Brian Coleman who told me the exact opposite on LBC last night. Still, the main thing is, there isn't going to be a strike today, and that has to be a good thing.

What a shame BBC News staff are going ahead with their strike today, though. Most of 5 Live will be off air, thus denying Mehdi Hasan and me the opportunity to lock horns on the Nolan paper review tonight. Such is life :).

UPDATE: David Seymour's book (with Jo Phillips) WHY JOIN A TRADE UNION can be bought HERE.


Gareth said...

"Why Has Trade Union Solidarity Diminished?"

Because to a sizeable degree the State elbowed unions out of negotiating terms of employment, holiday entitlements, maternity and paternity pay and all the rest.

Once working conditions had been nationalised in this manner the effectiveness of union representation is automatically diminished. For the worse I reckon. People have had a great deal of personal responsibility removed from their own hands in looking out for their own interests and Unions provide a means to choose to socialise that interest whereas the State doing it socialises it by force.

I find it hilarious on one level that the party the Unions continue to support did them a great deal of damage.

Glyn H said...

It is indeed a shame the BBC News dept has closed down today. Not the least of which there has been little opportunity to discuss the disgraceful apology over the Geldof money affair. Apart from the fact that charity and government aid money going into Africa merely allows the ruling classes to deploy their various country’s wealth into Mercedes cars and Swiss banks, why should we seek to revive the careers of fading pop stars by supporting their vanity projects?

I did however object to the vicious attack on the BBC made by Michael Grade yesterday morning. What a two faced skunk. It would well behove for past D’s G and Chairmen to support public service broadcasting, however institutionally left wing it very obviously is. The despicable way that Labour place men Dyke and Mr Sue Nye kowtowed to the government when challenged by Alistair Campbell was vile especially as Gilligan was 100% right.

Sres said...

These BBC hacks should strike more, BBC Breakfast was far better this morning.

trevorsden said...

Surely BBC news being off air is great, well - news - in itself. News without the BBC's input must be mush more balanced.

Charlotte Corday said...

Sres, if you go on the BBC Points of View messageboard dozens of people are saying the same; the BBC breakfast news was so much better this morning for being presented as sombre factual news rather than simpering autocuties trying to impose their personal slant on events.

happyuk said...

Why has Trade Union solidarity diminished? Because unions are a waste of time.

The best protection a worker can have are employers chasing his skills. The best protection an employer can have are workers chasing his jobs.

Anything else is an interference that does nothing to improve economies.

Victor, NW Kent said...

I do wish that we would not talk about "sackings" of the firemen. They were not being sacked, simply offered new contracts to sign. those who did not sign would cease to be employed entirely of their own volition.

The talk of how intransigent is Brian Coleman is now the standard tactic for the unions in industrial disputes - they pick on a manager as their demon, the bogeyman. The air hostesses did it with Willy Walsh.

Naturally they are able to whip up many more phone-ins to radio shows than the management or those who are going about their business. I have heard an endless litany of reasons why the changes will affect everything in their whole lives. A great many of those are purely specious.

Nobody is even having their pay cut so not much hardship compared to the number of private sector employees who have had to accepot short-time and certainly not even anywhere near the problems of public servants in Greece and Ireland who have taken large wage cuts.

Sposa said...

I think it's wonderful that the BBC journalists are on strike. My only complaint is that they will not be on strike long enough to give others a chance to break in with more impartial offerings! For a further take on this visit

Houdini said...

Let's not forget a key couple of facts that has made the trade unions, and Labour, different and more focused individually as organisations today than they were in the 70's and 80's.

Then we had high ranking and nationally important people from the trade unions and Labour whose sole job it was to cause disruption and foment discontent, people like Jack Jones who were bought and paid for spies of communist USSR while masquerading as champions of the working man.

Makes you wonder about Bob Crow....

There is no trade union solidarity now as it is now a business for the chosen few to gain and manipulate the dirty necked masses. Much like Labour.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

GREAT NEWS that the BiasedBBC journos went on strike.The silence of their biased reporting was Golden.

The FBU are very concerned about public support. This support, in the light of the cuts that many of us have had to endure for years, and which the public sector have not, is about to evaporate. People have actually caught on to the fact that being a fireman is actually money for old rope. People are also aware that there are hundreds of applicants for each post advertised, and that if the current employees are so hard done by, perhaps they should leave and let someone else have their rather well-paid job. I know loads of Poles who would jump at the chance. (Poles - Firemen?)

The power that was evident in the 70s among unions was derived from numbers of people who were union members back then.

Yet it was the unions that ruined coal, steel, shipbuilding and motor manufacture. With all those gone to the wall, there are fewer people to stamp their feet in the unions - more people are now working rather than trying to stir up trouble at every opportunity.

Always exceptions, though. The FBU and the Prison Officers. The last of the dinosaurs......oh, and Bob Crow.