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Friday, 30 July 2010

Sparky

video

Working in the UK: Your rights at work (Spanish version

SPANISH leaflet for people coming to work in the UK from the eight new member countries of the European Union. It gives information about your legal rights while you work here.http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-18272-f0.cfm

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Catalonia bans 'outdated and cruel' sport of bullfighting

Catalonia bans 'outdated and cruel' sport of bullfighting this followed a well organised campaign which managed to collect 180,000 in the space pf just a few months. The Canary islands have previously banned the cruel 'sport' and it is now hoped that the rest of Spain will follow. This is a major victory for animal lovers all over the world but more needs to be done to ensure that animals are treated with more respect!!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Turkey and the EU

The British pres was flooded yesterday with negative comments about the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. Most of these comments were racist in nature and the majority opinion appeared to suggest that the only reason Turkey should not be in the European club was to do with the fear of increased immigration. This to me isn't right or correct. The first argument against these negative views is that Turkey would not be able to join until their economy was normalised and was on the same level as other European states which would mean, in theory that the volume of immigration would not be as high as it would be right now, on the other hand the British economy needs younger skilled workers to pay for our aging populations pensions!
The only two obstacles come from Turkey's problem with being in control without the military dictating what the politicians do and of course the illegal occupation of EU territory. Turkey is still occupying 37% of the Republic of Cyprus a full member state of the EU. It will be inconceivable for a new country to join if they are in clear violation of international law and until that issue is resolved the application should be frozen.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

David Cameron in Turkey

David Cameron flew in a hurry to visit Turkey after spending a few days with his mates in Washington. The visit to Ankara makes sense as he was instructed by Washington to do all he can to ensure Turkey's entry into the EU. So Cameron goes to Turkey and publicly declares his anger about the delay with the accession talks. He is not at all angry with the fact that the Turkish military is occupying (at great expense to the Turkish people) 37% of Cyprus in other words a country so desperate to join the EU is occupying part of EU territory?? Is this some kind of a joke? Shouldn't Cameron (who was so anti EU and wanted us to have a referendum on whether we stay in the EU) be looking into how to resolve one of the fundamental problems that will surely mean that the Turkish state is not complying with the rules and therefore not eligible for full membership? What happened to the sacred principle of the rule of law? Or does the rule of law not apply if you are a small country and can't offer any oil deals to bigger ones?
There is also the theory that both Blair and Cameron want enlargement to ensure that the EU project collapses so it could be that neither Blair or Cameron are at all interested in the welfare of Turkey they simply want to see Europe go down to ensure that the USA continuous to be the big daddy for at least another century!
I support Turkey's quest to join the EU but the Turkish state needs to comply with the rules and the rule of law in particular. Its like saying that you want to join a cricket club but you want the cricket club to play football and judge you by your football skills! What next?

David Miliband

A lot has been said about the virtues of following Ed Miliband in the leadership elections for the Labour party and I have a lot of respect for the 3 major unions who have decided to follow Ed. But the fact remains that like David, Ed will follow the same policies and have the same approach if or when elected so the argument for supporting Ed as opposed to David falls. It is far more intelligent and prudent to accept the fact that David will appeal to middle England and it is realistic and right to understand that if the Labour party do not get the vote from the centre we will never form a government again. David can be irritating and appears arrogant but he is more straight forward than Ed. The others in the race do not of course figure as they have no chance of making it so its not worth making a comment on them. So I disagree with my second favorite blogger of all times, John of the Gray, and definitely don't agree with leftie boy Jon of the Rogers who is supporting Diane I love private education Abbot! Lets hope that Labour party voters have more sense and they vote for David!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Pictures from the Estern Med




More pictures of the mountain village of Kakopetria with the 600 year old church...




TUC

Stop Iraqi Ministry attack on electricity sector unions!In one of the worst acts of union repression since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi police raided and shut down trade unions across the electricity sector on Wednesday. Please sign the urgent LabourStart appeal.http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-18246-f0.cfm

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Madona

There was a somewhat silly article in the Sunday Mail today criticising Madone for going out clubbing until 3.00 a.m. (horror and shock!!) So here is my letter to the editor in response to that!
'What is it with people and age? Age is just a number. I know many 25 year olds who never go out and look like a bag of chips left out in the rain when they do, most of them collapse after 12.30 when out for the night. Madona is a diva and a superstar and she looks great. The fact she is over 50 means absolutely nothing. She has the energy, the talent and the looks and those who criticise her just because she is older than Bambi are doing so because they are jealous! Leave her alone (am sure she doesn't care anyway) '

Saturday, 24 July 2010

CBI and strikes

The CBI, Britain's biggest business lobby group, is set to outrage unions with the release of a report demanding sweeping new curbs on the right to strike. The report – Making Britain the Place to Work – calls for new laws on strike votes to force unions to secure the support of 40 per cent of a balloted workplace for strike action, in addition to a majority of those who actually vote. Employers have long complained that ballots in favour of strikes that secure low turnouts are not truly legitimate. But the report's proposal would make it significantly harder for unions to secure the required support for action to be taken. The CBI will say: "Strikes damage economic growth and inconvenience the public. At a time of fragile recovery, strikes should require a higher bar of support."

Thursday, 22 July 2010

On the mountains...


A trip to the mountains..


End bull fighting

Every year, hundreds of thousands of bulls die in the name of entertainment. But this may change because the Catalonian government is on the verge of voting for a ban on bullfighting. Urge the Catalonian Parliament to end the blood sport of bullfighting »After a huge anti-cruelty campaign by the Catalonian public, the regional parliament will vote on July 28th whether to ban bullfight for good. We want every Catalonian MP to know there are thousands of people around the world who want to end this cruel 'sport'. Speak up » This is an historic moment to ban bullfighting in one of Spain's largest regions. Sign this petition to ban the 'sport' of bullfighting in Catalonia -- we only have until July 28th »

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

British Airways at the Employment Tribunal

British Airways is being taken to employment tribunal by cabin crew claiming racial discrimination.
The group of BA flight attendants claim that the removal of a discounted travel perk from staff involved in strike action discriminates indirectly against employees based in Scotland, Ireland and mainland Europe who use the scheme to commute to and from Heathrow airport, I understand that Unite is supporting the claim.

Age discrimination claims rise

According to stats recently released the number of tribunal claims has soared by 56% as the recession and an era of multiple claimant cases rises. Figures released by the Tribunals Service on Wednesday revealed a sharp rise in the number of claims brought against employers in England, Scotland and Wales. A total of 236,100 cases were lodged in the 12 months to the end of March 2010, up from 151,000 claims in the preceding 12 months. The figures also show a steep rise in the number of age discrimination claims, climbing from 3,800 cases to 5,200 claims over the same period.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Redundancy rights

Knowing your legal rights is important when you are about to be made redundant. Check your contract: You are entitled to work out your notice period or be offered pay in lieu. In addition, you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay, employees aged 22 to 41 are entitled to at least one week's pay for every full year of employment; older workers get 1.5 weeks' pay. However, many employees get far better terms, for example one month's pay for every year worked; some public sector employees are even entitled to three months' pay per year. These should be in your contract and are known as your "contractual rights".

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Back from the Med..




Just got back from the Eastern Mediterranean sea where I spend a week with friends. I was intending to do a bit of blogging whilst there but was prevented by those around me (very wise) who preferred to be out in the sun all day and under a table at different bars at night time! Had a great time and surprised that Deidrie Rashid, Langton, Barlow (and nearly Baldwin) did not marry again whilst I was away, its obvious that the old cow is losing her touch! Back to normal life by tomorrow then..

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Contradictions on the left of the left...

I was amazed to see Jon of the Rogers's declaration on his blog urging the left of the left (or was it just the left?) to support Diane Abbot. This is the same person who was highly critical (and correctly so at the time) when the dispute over DA's support for private education blew up. Does this profound shift in policy mean that the Leader of the Left ( and not so left of the left but nearly there) is telling us that the true Leader of the Left is to be found in a person who 'actively' supports private education? Would that mean more privatisation of schools and other services when and if AB becomes the Leader of the party?
I remain shocked but not surprised at all! Contradictions have their time and place and this is neither the time or the place. I can just about live win Ed Miliband winning the election but this is getting ridiculous! This is another tactic that will seem childish by the majority of members and it discredits the left at a time when we can do with building bridges. Or is JR just the leader of the difficult brigade?

Friday, 9 July 2010

Why must the Euro project work?

I am often asked by the thousands who never read my blog, like Doris and Sid Rogerite blogger, why I insist on supporting the Euro project? In fact I am often reminded that I could be in a minority position. There was a time when even the Greeks and the Spanish were enthusiastic followers of 'Euro Armani' but I noticed lately that there are whispers in the corridors of Neo Parthenon about that and questions as to how valid the Euro project is? There are even suggestions on resurecting the Peseta or the drachma apparently both countries will be saved if they could devalue their own currencies! Yes is the answer in the short term but a def no in the long terms it will simply amplify a major disaster and the debt will be there for ever.
My position on this new phenomenon is that people are being short sighted and they need to see beyond what is in front of them. The Federalist idea is based on the need for us Europeans to stop fighting each other so the question around security is more fundamental than any other subsidiary considerations.
There are of course the usual little Englanders or those who think that Streatham is better off without the Euro but the fact remains that if we do not come together in a union the alternative is to end up doing what we have been doing for centuries which each invade each other. So we could be back following the footsteps of our ancestors and commence bombing each other. That isn't a good idea and if the Americans managed to keep a union together since 1866 then so can we.
My position is clear. We must not be asking whether Federalism is a possibility instead we must be making our governments do more genuine work to ensure that a real union of states takes place. So no more double dealing by British governments who are instinctively anti Europe. More needs to be done to make sure it bloody works because the alternative is to go back to having the Luftvaha (don't know how to spell that) revisiting her Britannic majesty's shores....

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Making the Playfair links

Making the Playfair links – from Britain to Brazil Every four years, a bit like the Olympics and the World Cup, trade unionists from around the world gather for the global congress of the International Trade Union Confederation. This June, over a thousand trade unionists met in Vancouver, Canada, where the 2010 Winter Olympics had taken place just months before. And the Playfair campaign went too.http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-18179-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Public sector cuts and negative accounting methods

A lot is being said about the LibCon approach to reducing the public deficit and the method used is an obvious one. You tell people that all is lost and that at least 40% is to go. You then announce that you very 'competently' found a way to save the country and reduce the cuts to 25% that way people will be grateful. But I don't think that the general public are that stupid and they know that its all a big con!
The major difficulty I have with the way they want to do things is that they are ignoring the huge impact their approach is going to have on growth and it is obvious that we will be moving back into a deeper recession soon. The people they are going to be making redundant soon will have to go on benefits (as there are no jobs to have) and that will place an extra burden on public finances. They are, in other words, shifting costs from one public sector cost centre to another. In some cases, given the low wages a lot of public sector workers receive, the cost to the tax payer of someone going on benefits will be higher. Its all creative (or in this cases negative) accounting!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

TU Reps and facilities

Many trade union reps have sacrificed their own careers and spend most of their working lives not progressing and fighting to defend others. Their input and intervention keeps the balance and often saves the employer time and expense. An employer would have to consult with say 300 members of staff on an individual basis where there is no elected rep during a reorganisation. There is no way that elected tu officers are not worth their while. Section 188 of the TULRC Act 1992 on its own confers a statutory power and rights onto elected reps. The alliance should worry more about the cost to taxpayers in areas where there are no reps! I know this from doing a tu job for 22 years!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Unemployment concerns

Unemployment concerns remain high. In Spain for example there are areas where the rate of unemployment, like in some parts of Andalusia, is 40%.
In the U.K June's labour market figures, show that overall unemployment increased by 23,000 between January and April, suggesting that the jobs outlook was still bleak. Ahead of the latest official figures being released, dole claimants outnumbered job vacancies by five to one, with London, the North East and Scotland the worst hit.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

No more street lights..

Looks like the new government will be switching the street lights off after midnight in an attempt to save money so that they can create more positions for their Lib collaborators. This is daft and it will without any doubt increase crime. Didn't someone tell us that the Tory party has always been tough on crime? Apparently not. There is a better way to reduce spending and that is by abolishing the post of deputy PM it's not needed and it will save money!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

TUC on the budget

Earlier in June, the TUC published a report outlining how further cuts would damage Britain's chances of economic recovery and leave an even deeper deficit. All Pain, No Gain: The Case Against Cuts analyses economies that made severe spending cuts in the past, including Canada in the 1990s and Ireland more recently.
Summary details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-18088-f0.cfm
Read full report @
www.tuc.org.uk/all_pain_no_gain

Friday, 2 July 2010

David Miliband for Labour Leader and future PM

More than half of town hall leaders and five of eight GLA members are supporting the former foreign secretary's attempt to become Leader of the Labour party. Glad to see that my own friend Steve Reed has also declared his support. There is a sense of realism in the air and the romantics supporting Ed or anyone else are beginning to understand that the time to be practical has arrived. We don't have time for no hoppers or those who think that all or any publicity is good publicity. Was amazed the other day to hear a good friend of mine saying he will be supporting Diane Abbot! That tells me a lot. David Miliband is the only one who can win, you don't have to love the guy but he is the best pilot to drive the Labour plane to the next stage the others are pretenders and some are in it to get a ministerial position! How very pathetic!

The England team and the world cup

A lot has been said about the failure by the national team to make it in the world cup and people in general have been critical about losing by 4 goals which is of course much higher than expected. There has also been debate as to whether the second England goal, which wasn't admitted because the referee was doing his nails at the time and didn't see it, would have made a difference psychologically. In other words would Rooney have stopped worrying about his hair going all over the place and would he have concentrated his mind on scoring another goal? We will never know the answer to this very hypothetical question I am afraid.
The one thing that annoyed me about the game on the day was comments made by one of the commentators. He referred twice to the fact that one of the German players was of Turkish origin and thought it was relevant for us to know that the player, although German born, had a Turkish father? I have no idea what he meant by that but he should certainly be supported by the BBC and would benefit from attending a course on how to be relevant? Why did he not, for example, state that Rooney who is born in England is from Irish parents? What is the difference? Why would either of these two facts have any relevance? Are we now into genetic football?
All that aside England deserve a better team. I am also critical of the fact that David Beckham is always protected by the press mainly because he has the money to have a publicist everywhere and anywhere. He obviously took the decision to keep out of the world cup but then sat around looking involved and making sure that the television cameras didn't miss his reactions. He should have made an effort to be in the game and his role with the team meant nothing. Do I sound bitter? Call me old fashioned but I think I do! I blame Bob Crow who apparently is on a salary (according to the BBC) of 120,000? He should get a better publicist and maybe David Beckham can give him the details of his?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The cuts and the Libs

There is a lot of talk about resisting the severe cuts proposed by the current coalition government and this is the right thing to do. The timing of the reductions is wrong and it will led to the Creation of a longer lasting recession which will of course not affect Cameron or Clegg themselves but will hit everyone else.
I know of some Liberal Democrat activists who are very uncomfortable with the so called coalition and the decision particularly to raise vat which is of course a regressive tax. There is no doubt that these increases will affect those on much lower incomes. I had a huge argument last night with a friend who is a member of the Liberal party who was trying to defend Nick Clegg. Nick has betrayed the principles of the Liberal party and has sold them down the river (or recycled canal in his case). The Liberal party will no doubt pay for this betrayal at the next election. The Tories have been very good at using them and they are having a good laugh at their expense behind the scenes. Let 1000 Liberals bloom (if there are any left) and let there be a rebellion against this idiotic marriage between them and the Cons!