nick venedi

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Conference on Cyprus

I wasn't able to do my usual morning entry this morning as I was a delegate at the Cyprus conference which took place at the Metropolitan University. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at 9.00 a.m (yes that's when they start in the real world.. lol) was one or two leaflets from Unison which of course made me feel proud.

This was a conference organised by the Cyprus study centre based at the university and it had many participants from a selection of representative groups (Greek, Turkish and British) the main theme was of course the 50 years of the Republic and the current division of the island. The Republics official spokesman Stefanos Stefanou was there representing the government. All the delagates made constructive and positive contributions to the overall debate and the discussion was facilitated by revolving chairs the main one being my friend Peter Droussiotis who is the President of the Federation.

I was also impressed by the number of delegates who spoke about ways and means through which the two main communities on the island can work together and work withing trade union structures was mentioned many times. I presented my own paper which was about organising representation for the community here in London in a more coherent way which was very well received but it looks like I will now have to go away and produce a precise course of action. There is a wind of change in the air and I hope that progressive people on both sides can utilise the opportunity to find a fair solution.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Stronger Unions 2010 Conference

Time is nearly up to be sure of your place at the must be there event of 2010. Stronger unions 2010 will explore how unions can respond to the new post-election environment where the effects of the ConDem coalition government are already being felt on working people and the most vulnerable in society. It's up to unions to defend working people and their families by building stronger unions.

Monday, 28 June 2010

All about England

I know that the message on the left is against our Victorian values but I thought it was funny!! My disclaimer is that whilst I am publishing the message I do not necessarily agree that having more friends is more important than getting a shag.. the message does not of course imply that the Brisish meseum trustees dont get any shags as they dont have many friends on facebook anyway...

I am sorry that the English team lost by 4 - 1 the English nation deserves better, the talent is there and all we need is a break! There will be many who blame the lack of interest shown by some of the players in the team and those who think that prima donnas like David Beckham, who wouldn't play because his finger nail was injured or his hair would have been out of place, should be criticised by the press.

On the other hand this could be a wonderful opportunity for England to re examine the way they think and play and I would suggest The English team should ask the Greek national team for a lecture on tactics.

England would have had a much better chance if they focused on defending for 93% of the time then strike when there was a window of opportunity and score. That's what the Greeks did in 2004 and they won the European cup. Here's the deal, the old brigadier trolley brigade at the British museum who spend most of their lives being up their own Khyber pass return the Elgin marbles and in exchange the Greeks teach England how to play boring football but win trophies? At the end of the day winning is what matters? Bring on the Greeks! I am sure this could be a winner for the UL??

Unison General Secretary result

I have posted the following comment on the Jon of the Rogers blog in response to a piece he did about the result of the General Secretary election. I am reproducing it here just in case the Rogers doesn't publish my comment.

'It is of course a fact that many of us have different views on how to approach election campaigns and what tactics to use. Unfortunately we all think that our own way of doing things is right.
I publicly supported one of the 3 left wing candidates, namely Dave Prentis, as he has the only record of achivement. I would have looked at the options in a different way had we produced a woman candidate that came from the left.
There is no doubt in my mind that the left of the left put out a negative message to 'potential supporters' by showing a clear inability to select one candidate and show very publicly that the disagreement on finding such a person was far more important than the aspired 'policies'
The left of the left have, in a way, forced those on the left to rally around an existing leader (D Prentis) mainly because of the display of what is seen as profound disunity and arrogance.
At the end of the day Paul Holmes is seen as a nice guy who makes reasonable speeches but has image issues and a very low profile outside his own branch. Roger is more well known. The UL shows a certain degree of arrogance (something that always pissed me off!) by stating publicly that the door is always opened for Roger to come back to the UL? This is somewhat odd and an independent spirit like myself would think that since Roger got many more votes it would be him making the gestures?
I have been an avid supporter of yourself Jon but you got this one wrong. You should thank Marsha for all the work she has done under difficult (if not impossible) circumstances but she should not be asked to deliver the undeliverable. Your failure comes from not being able to find a candidate from the left of the left. It was also arrogant to suggest that the current Secretary is not on the left?? Cameron thinks he is?? '

Maybe they will learn this time?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Legal position on employing consultants

If ‘consultants' engaged to work for a business are in reality its employees this can have far reaching implications for the employer. Employees have statutory rights that consultants do not share, such as the right to paid holiday and sick pay, maternity and parental leave, the right not to be unfairly dismissed and the right to a statutory redundancy payment.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Dedico esta cancao para Melissa..

Trade Unions in Columbia

Prison workers' union leader shot dead in ColombiaThe TUC has protested yet again at another killing of a trade unionist in Colombia. Hernan Abdiel Ordonez Dorado, treasurer of the executive board of the prison workers' union ASEINPEC in Cali was shot dead by assailants travelling by motorbike. He had been involved in denouncing alleged acts of corruption by top prison officers at the Women's Prison.

Friday, 25 June 2010

TUC statement

'The Coalition seems to want to go far beyond efficiency savings and cuts in intrusive state activities such as id cards. We welcome the chance to engage but will press hard against cuts that threaten higher unemployment', the TUC said. ‘The worry must be that we will see cuts in support and help not just for the poor and vulnerable, but the services on which middle income Britain depends. And far from helping the private sector, whole sectors such as construction that depend on public procurement for much of their work look like the could be badly hit.’
TUC Press Release

Thursday, 24 June 2010

More pension scheme closures expected

Information coming in shows that more than 30% of companies have closed future accrual of defined benefits to existing employees, up from around 14% last year, with a further 30% intending to do so in future. 87% of employers think their employees will not have enough saved for retirement. The majority of companies do not yet understand the cost and administrative impact of auto-enrolment. There is also a clear move from companies intending to offer former employees deals to transfer pension liabilities elsewhere whilst in the background the government have just announced their intention to abolish the compulsory retirement age. There is a lot to watch out for on the pensions area most of us would expect to work at least until we are 70 if not 84!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The world cup

France, Greece and Nigeria are all out of the world cup and England are playing with Slovenia tonight. Now I don't want to get too involved with this but I was rather annoyed with the BBC commentators who were commenting on the Greece vs Argentina match last night. They kept going on about what a non event the game was and were expecting an 'entertainment value' out of it. In other words the 3 out of shape morons wanted to see more action and blood they ignored the fact that both teams had their own tactics and as far as Greece was concerned the 11 concentrated on defending that, in my books, is a tactic?

It will be interesting to see how well the English team do tonight but I am sure the arguments between the premadona players and the Italian team manager will give England the score they deserve. I am sure that David Beckhams finger nail injury could be used as a reason for not winning. In the meantime the British press are already gearing up to find victims to blame and of course the easiest target is an Italian manager?? Very English!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Unison Genral Secretary election result

Just been told that Dave Prentis won the election (as has been expected) by a large majority with Roger Bannister coming second and Paul Holmes third.
Dave Prentis 145,351
Roger Bannister 42,651
Paul Holmes 28,114

Facebook and my first ever real friend Melissa..

I have been an active opponent of face book for years mainly because of experience I had representing people at work who got into trouble whilst using the system. One case was with an individual who told their line manger that she was going home because she felt unwell then posted a report on face book talking about the wild bbq she had just been at! She got a warning as her line manager was a friend was was also on fb! In addition I had problems with one of my 5 exs (yes I am competing with Henry the 8th) who is still feeling sour...
But then things changed when for some reason I decided to re activate my fb account and did a search for two very good and old friends. It was one of those things and it worked. I found both of them, the gorgeous Alison, who I had been friends with since 1991 and Melissa my first real friend. Melissa and I went to school together when we were both 12 and we were inseparable then we lost touch for some reason as she moved to Italy and I moved here in London to save the world, but I have now found her and will never let go. What is also remarkable about Melissa is the fact that we both share an interest in writing, I had published my first novelI in 2000 and she is putting the finishing touches to hers! Amazing!
I am posting this because she told me yesterday when we were chatting on the phone that she reads my blog, something that I did not realise. The 12 year old pretty blond blue eyed girl is now a successful journalist living in Milan and she was my best real friend then and she will remain a good friend for ever! She is great and I withdraw my total opposition to face book! lol

Monday, 21 June 2010

Marsha shines on c 4 ...

Marsha at the party with some irritating leftie in the backround.. (only joking Jon!)

Great appearance by my friend Marsha Jane who spoke twice on a tv show tonight on c 4. She looked confident and what she said made sense. This was a programme where selected audience were invited to look at the concept of making 100 billion worth of cuts with the usual debate from those in favor of cuts and those resisting them. The people in the audience would then vote on specific proposals. It was good to see that the majority of those taking part were 'sensible' and good that there was a massive majority against the privatisation of the NHS and a rejection of the proposal to add vat on to food, this would be a regressive tax! I am sure that Marsha and Jon, who was also there, will have more to say in their blogs tomorrow! But impressed with Marsha!!

Major cuts coming up

It is true that a Labour government would have imposed major cuts in public spending had they retained power, but the Tory Lib budget tomorrow promises some major reductions that could affect the recovery. Any economist would tell you that if you stifle the process before the end of a recession than you risk prolonging the period of economic pain so the Tories are taking a major risk by intervening too early. It would also seem that those that are less well off will pay more especially if VAT is increased. It is interesting that a Tory government will be increasing taxation!

Sunday, 20 June 2010


TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber addressed the Canadian Labour Congress rally on Saturday 19 June at the 2010 people's summit in Toronto, setting out the British and global union opposition to cuts in public services and the need to address the linked problems of climate change and global unemployment and poverty.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to me and Boris Johnson as we share the same birthday but it all ends there we don't have anything else in common apart of course from both of us being blond bimbos!!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday the 18th

Bad news I am afraid, my plan to visit conference with Juliet today had to be abandoned due to a late one last night as I was celebrating my birthday with friends somewhere in Vauxhall. The hang over means that I am in no fit state to travel. This will of course upset Dave (of the Prentis) who is no doubt waiting for me to thank me for my support. Sorry Dave but I feel like the back end of the double Decker bus! Hope all goes well down there. Jon of the Rogers will no doubt be performing at some stage today and I will miss that, still there's Marsha to keep him under control!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

TUC Alerts

FREE 'Advertising Workshop' for union video makers – Book NowFor those people thinking about entering the TUC 60 Second Ad Contest, we are running a FREE 'Advertising Workshop' on Friday 9th July 2010, which promises to be very extensive and interesting.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Unison NDC 2010

Not much to report today apart from my decision to cancel my visit to Bournmouth as I am busy trying to solve the problems of the world here in London. Reports confirm that the entire NEC is upset by my change of mind and that the conference will be severely affected by my non attendance (not) Latest news from the coast is that John of the Gray is jocking on the sea front every morning, Jon of the Rogers and Marsha of the UL are trying to recruit dolphins into the UL and the other 23.5 left wing groups are busy deciding whether some of the motions they want to push forward should have a limit of 16 comas in each paragraph. In the meantime the bars are full of delegates eager to watch the football matches going a lot rests with the Italians being able to manage to produce a productive English team. Someone should tell the goal keeper that he is meant to stop the ball going in??

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

NDC 2010

It promises to be a great event, it always is, once again with all the politicos arriving at conference in Bournemouth. I am keeping an eye out to see who does what and what interesting debates there will be. Unison is by far the best union in the country and the annual conference allows everyone to meet and have debates and formulate policy. I am planning to be there later on during the week (just before my 100th birthday) as a visitor and although I was elected to be delegate I obviously can't do that as I left the Republic of Lambeth!
In the mean time Nick Clegg is showing his true Tory colours by attacking the public sector pension scheme today and announcing that it has to be changed drastically forgetting and ignoring the fact that it was the irresponsible bankers that created the crisis that we are in today something he was very good at referring to whilst in opposition? Maybe some real Libs should question him? He should concentrate instead on telling us on how he thinks those over 45 can have a chance in hell getting a job? The stats on this problem are very disturbing and if you happen to be over 50 then you might as well forget it!!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Local government conference 2010

This is the first year since 1991 that I have not attended local government conference and am sure everyone is missing me like mad. Good luck to those delegates siting at conference hall listening to all the motions, speeches and counter speeches.
Send a message to MPs – no to VAT, yes to Robin HoodThe Robin Hood Tax campaign is pushing MPs to use the Budget this month to introduce a Robin Hood Tax to help poor people at home and abroad, and tackle climate change. And the TUC and Robin Hood Tax campaign are both warning that putting up VAT instead would be a big mistake. You can join the campaign and make a difference.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Unison conference 2010

The highlight of the year is here again with conference week starting. All my politico friends are in 5th gear ready for the annual festival of motions, amendments, arguments, conspiracies, counter conspiracies and that special bit of bonking behind the scenes... Yes it goes on every year all the time. I have seen people leaving hotel rooms early in the morning so I should know! Not forgetting that I am, after all, the custodian of good gossip. I am seriously thinking of writing my Unison memoirs and wondering whether I should be descriptive in them? Anyone not wanting to be in them needs to put in an appeal! loll...

World cup

Well it all starts today and its all very exciting. I shall be following my 12 year old nephews example and support England. I know Greece is in it but I think that it will be more appropriate to support the English team, so good luck England!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

More part time workers

The number of people in part-time jobs because they are unable to find full-time work has topped 1 million for the first time, this is according to a recent Guardian article. More than a million people are working part-time out of "necessity rather than convenience" for the first time – a 45% increase since the recession began, according to a new study. Analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows that the number of people working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment has reached record levels, fuelling fears that the phenomenon of "midworking" will see a generation of people in a job but employed for only just enough hours to cover essential spending. In the mean time those over 45 face severe difficulties with finding any job some claiming that they don't even get to be shortlisted.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Supporting David Milliband

Tonight I received an email from David Milliband asking for my support. I have previously critcised David on this blog for several things but that criticism was, in my opinion, constructive. I have no doubt that he is the best person to lead the Labour party into the next election victory and introduce the reforms that are needed to achive change and he will do this by keeping a balance. So I publicly declare my support for David Millibad.

New right to request time for training comes into effect

New right to request time for training comes into effect
Workers in companies that employ more than 250 people now have the legal right to request time off work for training. Time to Train came into effect in April this year. It will be extended to apply to employees employed by smaller employers from April next year. The phased approach is intended to give smaller businesses time to prepare for the changes. The legislation entitles employees to request time off for training that is relevant to their work. The procedure for employers considering such requests is similar to the model laid down for dealing with requests for flexible working.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

TUC Short film competition

The TUC 60 Second Ad contest is back…..Take up the TUC challenge to make a short advert about trade unions and win a prize.Your challenge is to make an ad for the TUC that encourages people to join a trade union. In the current climate, people need trade unions more than ever before and this is your chance to show people why.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Historic visit ends

The historically important visit of the Pope ended yesterday and day two of the trip went off without a hitch, with thousands of followers turning out in sizzling 32-degree heat to celebrate the occasion. This is the first time that the Head of the Catholic church has visited Cyprus an island where Orthodoxy is prominent amongst the Greek Orthodox population. There are divisions between those who believe that the two churches should unite and those who don't want anything to do with the concept. Talks to reunite started in 1230 but have not concluded yet so wondering whether Acas should be brought in? I suggested that Peter Woodley, who was actually on the island all of this week should be asked to break his short holiday and help with the negotiations but that proposal didn't go down well with the Archbishop who didn't know what Unite was...
There was mixed reaction from the press but on the whole the event was seen as positive. I would say that the papers dedicated half of their pages to the Popes visit and the other half on the situation regarding the Israeli attack on delivering humanitarian aid to those suffering on the Gaza strip with widespread condemnation and rightly so.
It has been a busy weekend and am glad am back.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Pope

The Pope with President Christofias

Reporting from Nicosia where I am on a short stay (not with Tony Woodley..) dealing with the historic visit by the Pope who is here for 3 days which ends later on today.

The visit is of great interest and significance here for many reasons the main one being the need to highlight the neglect and criminal damage inflicted on heritage and historical treasures in the occupied part of the island. There are journalists form at least 30 countries reporting and the visit has gone very well. There has, of course, been criticism about the Catholic church and its stand on many things that many of us don't agree with but the the reaction, on the whole, has been a positive one and has been seen as an opportunity to share a message of peace between different people who have more reasons to be united than divided. The predicted demonstrations have not materialised or have been on a rather small scale so far.

The Pope showed great interest in churches he visited which are older than those in the Vatican and was particularly impressed with the Cathedral of St John on the green line in divided Nicosia which is more than 1400 years old.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Supporting Dave Prentis

I have been criticised by some for supporting Dave Prentis and had a few comments on this blog which I have chosen not to publish as they were negative. I won't waste my time explaining why I support Dave but he will undoublty win as those who bother to vote will be choosing him. The 'left' has also made two mistakes, first they chose two men to stand against DP, in other words no different approach, second by choosing two candidates they have shown that the difference between them is more important to them than winning the election? They have of course very creatively split the 'far left vote' and have shown that there is no unity amongst them. Do they think that appeals to the 'ordinary member'? I think not. Ah and another thing, criticising me and others for supporting Dave gives Dave more publicity. Do these people understand strategy?? Clearly not!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Increasing number of part time workers

The Cipd has reported that the number of employees opting for part time work as an alternative to redundancies has gone up by some 40% This does not surprise me as the number of companies in the private sector determined to cut costs but not lose the skills that some of their staff have is higher than during any other recessions. There is also talk amongst those managing public sector bodies for finding alternative ways to making skilled workers redundant and more 'creative' ideas are coming to light.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Israel and Gaza

The Israelis have managed to get the entire region in the middle East up in arms by totally mishandling a situation that has clearly gone out of control. Ships containing humanitarian aid were attacked by Israeli troops in the middle of international waters. If this had been done by another nation the act would have been seen as piracy?

There is no doubt at all in my mind that the so called blockade of the Gaza strip is totally wrong. People there are forced to live below the poverty line and are more or less treated as prisoners. The Israeli government claims that this is the only way to control missile attacks on its territory but they fail to see that what they are doing is creating another generation of Palestinians who will grow up hating them even more. The entire situation is ridiculous and of course the international community needs to do more to force Israel to come to its senses.

I am also amazed that Israeli strategists could not see that making an enemy of Turkey, a military super power in the region, is not very clever at all. Turkey has the second largest standing army after the USA within NATO which makes me think that someone in Israel in command of this disgraceful operation should not be given control of actions that can lead to policy disasters. This is a major PR blunder by the Israelis who have now created more enemies as if they needed more?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ken Livingstone

Delighted that Ken Livingstone announced his decision to stand for Mayor of London and started his tour in Croydon. I shall be supporting Ken on the basis that he is the most capable of any of a selection of candidates. There is no doubt that when he was Mayor for London he did a lot of things and he was proactive and did the walk not just the talk. He will need, however, to concentrate on getting votes from those who don't live in the inner city if he is to win so good that he started his campaign in Croydon.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Are traditional relationships out of date?

Interesting surveys conducted by both the Sun and the Mirror, using a sample of 3000 randomly selected couples. Those who took part were asked if they were happy in their relationships and the result showed that 60% were not and of those who were ok most were just putting up with the situation they were in.
These findings are of course no surprise to me at all. I have always said that the traditional relationship model has been out of date in the West for many years and that most people were now more liberated and economically independent enough to do their own thing. So it would appear that statistically at least you will be better off having some really close friends and change your relationship every 4 to 5 years in other words it could be like moving house you could buy and sell a house and although the actual process won't ever be easy it will be possible. Which means that the new government can tax that and make some more money plus achieve more regulation. The argument on the other side of the coin is that humans are emotionally needy and they have to be with someone (arguing all the bloody time) to make them feel that they have some stability in their life??