Aberdeen SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branch from Aberdeen

Archive for the 'Trade Unions' Category

Metting Tomorrow (16/03/11) UCU Strike Thursday 17/03/11

Posted by EuanBenzie on 15th March 2011

Hi all,

Just a quick reminder of our meeting tomorrow (16/03/11) at 7.30pm in the Belmont Cinema bar. Primarily discussing plans for the UCU strike on Thursday, organising help for the picket lines and talking about what we can do to support union members.

Hope to see you there,

Aberdeen SSP

Posted in Branch Meetings and Organisation, Democracy, Fighting Public Spending Cuts, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Massive Scottish Anti-Cuts Demo: Here Comes Everyone!

Posted by CelticEwan on 26th October 2010

Mass Demonstration Shows Strength of Anti-Cuts Feeling in Scotland

Last Saturday (23rd) a massive anti-cuts demo took place in Edinburgh as 20,000 people, including SSP members, took to the streets to protest against government spending cuts and demand a fairer alternative that protected public services. Community campaigners and trade union leaders called for resistance as industrial action to defend public services was declared “inevitable” if the cuts outlined by the Con-Dem government last week were implemented. As an elderly Glaswegian community campaigner said to me on the march, “people keep saying to me that “somebody should do something” and “if everybody did something then we could sort this out”, so we need to get “somebody” and “everybody” on the streets with us.”  Saturday’s march represents a first step toward building a mass campaign that can get ‘somebody’ and everybody’ involved in fighting the cuts. For news coverage of the march and SSP analysis of the public spending cuts, what they represent and what is required to successfully resist them, see our main site here.

 Nature of the Cuts, Nature of the Mainstream Political ‘Opposition’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have long argued that the austerity measures taking place across Europe are an attempt to make the mass of the population; workers, students, pensioners, the unemployed, pay for the current crisis in capitalism. It is also an ideological attempt by the Conservatives to do away with many of the social gains made over the 20th century in the form of the welfare state, by attacking universal public services and welfare benefits, including attacks on free/accessible education provision. However, while marginal differences exist across the mainstream political parties on the balance between tax rises and spending cuts in the austerity measures, the SNP and Labour are also fully signed up to the cuts agenda. They will offer only lukewarm criticism of the Con-Dem cuts in opposition, while in power they will implement cuts themselves via the Scottish parliament and local councils, as indicated by recent comments by Alex Salmond  and by Labour’s cuts programme both before and after  the general election. In the absence of mass mobilisation and resistance by the population, they will not attempt to oppose cuts by setting illegal ”anti-cuts budgets” or supporting anything more than symbolic, but ultimately ineffectual resistance. They will not want to “rock the boat”, and thus they are unable to represent the grassroots sentiment among the thousands who took to the streets on Saturday. This is likely to become increasingly clear as the savage force of these cuts begins to bite in communities and workplaces across Scotland and Britain.

A Strategy We Need

What we need is to build a pluralist, grassroots, and mass-based campaign against the public spending cuts, creating a social movement not seen since the successful anti-poll tax campaign twenty years ago, where mass non-payment of the new tax and mobilisation of the population forced the government to retreat and Thatcher to resign from office (for an excellent account of the successful strategies used to defeat the poll tax, read “The Poll Tax Rebellion” by Danny Burns, details here). This is not just rhetoric, but our societal reality. These austerity measures will only be defeated by a mass mobilisation of popular democratic power and direct action, and if an alternative equitable and socially-just solution to addressing Britain’s budget deficit and capitalist crisis is developed, campaigned for, and implemented.  The SSP in Aberdeen and across Scotland is committed to both these tasks, and the need is urgent.

Building Resistance in Aberdeen

The sheer brutality of these cuts in Aberdeen is becoming clear, with one possible cost saving measure considered by the council being to close every public park in the city.

To discuss these issues and the work of the Aberdeen SSP, feel free to come to our branch meeting this Wednesday (27th), in the Belmont cinema cafe at 7.30pm, where those who were at the march on Saturday will report back on the events of the day.

Also, there is a meeting organised by the Aberdeen anti-cuts alliance on this Thursday (26th) 6.15 pm at the Butchart Centre, Aberdeen University, about what can be learned from the French resistance to the cuts being imposed in that country. This will certainly be a useful event for both discussing strategies to oppose the cuts and for people to begin building the kind of campaign described above. Further details of the meeting here.

Posted in Branch Meetings and Organisation, Democracy, Fighting Public Spending Cuts, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Aberdeen SSP Branch Meeting: 27/10/10

Posted by CelticEwan on 22nd October 2010

Our next branch meeting is on Wednesday, 27th October in the bar downstairs at the Belmont Cinema. We will be following a similar agenda to last meeting, with the discussion focusing on our future activities- the day school planned for December; the upcoming Scottish Election campaign; and our involvement in local campaigns such as Tripping Up Trump and Union Terrace Gardens. We are also keen to have a discussion on Osbourne’s spending review and what this means for the people of Scotland. Anyone is welcome, and if you have anything you wish to add to the agenda, please get in touch.
 
Aberdeen SSP will also be represented at the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) demo against the public spending cuts in Edinburgh this weekend. There will be a report back about this on Wednesday, but if anyone wants to join the rally, the bus leaves from Marischal College (Broad St) at 7.30am on Saturday (23rd). For more information on the buses, please see here.  We encourage all of you who can attend to do so – these cuts are going to have a dramatic effect on the poorest in our society. Not only are they completely unfair, they’re also completely unnecessary! So come along and make your voice heard - We’ll be marching with fellow SSP and SSY comrades – and register your discontent with the Con-Dem government.
 
See you on Wednesday!

Also, for SSP coverage and viewpoint of the impact of the cuts and the need to oppose them with a socialist alternative see Colin Fox’s Morning Star article and economist Raphei de Santos’s analysis on the main SSP site here

Posted in Branch Meetings and Organisation, Fighting Public Spending Cuts, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Aberdeen May Day 2010

Posted by CelticEwan on 2nd May 2010

Members of Aberdeen SSP were flying the flag for socialism at the International Worker’s Day event on Saturday. Members of the Scottish Socialist Party also attended similar May Day events taking place in the other major cities of Scotland.

Posted in Democracy, General Election 2010, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Final Week of Campaigning Begins

Posted by CelticEwan on 29th April 2010

The Aberdeen SSP branch begins the final week of campaigning for the general election today for candidate Ewan Robertson in Aberdeen North. Activities include hustings tonight at Aberdeen College and tomorrow (Friday) at the Quaker Meeting House on Crown Street. The hustings on Friday night are being held by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and start from 7.30pm, and everyone is welcome to come along to hear what we have to say.

Aberdeen SSP will have members at the May Day march on Saturday, meeting at 11am in St. Nicholas Graveyard, which we would encourage everyone to come along to.

We are also leafleting the constituency as much as possible over the next week, getting placards up on lamposts and windows, and boosting our online presence as much as possible. For those who have not yet seen it, our campaign video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBDTU2TveOI. Anyone who wants to find out more or help us out, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Posted in Democracy, General Election 2010, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Come strike with me, lets strike, lets strike BA

Posted by CelticEwan on 19th March 2010

Andy Bowden (SSP)
Mar 19 2010

Cancel your weekend jaunt to the Maldives SSY readers, those mindless militants have only gone and ruined everyone’s holiday – British Airways cabin crew are going ahead with strike action after the collapse of talks. The strike by BA workers was originally called last year, and was due to occur during Christmas/New Year. That strike was ruled illegal by a High Court because it was believed ex-BA workers would have been allowed a vote. This was despite the vote being won by a massive margin on a massive turnout, and the fact that no MP, MEP, Councillor or any other elected official is disqualified despite the potential of inaccurate electoral lists, and their mandate being far smaller than for the BA strike. The BA workers union, UNITE the largest union in the UK has rescheduled strikes for this weekend – but has itself also been dragged into a political storm.

After the Tories were exposed for taking money from a Lord who has not been paying tax in the UK, David Cameron believes he can deflect the criticism he has faced by attacking Labour for it’s links with UNITE. As the largest union in the country, UNITE has donated £11 million to the Labour Party, and sponsors hundreds of MP’s as well as providing assistance during election campaigns for Labour. The Tories are playing to their middle England base – the same base that was wooed by Blairism – that New Labour is over, and Labour has returned to its left wng trade union roots.

If only. If UNITE have Labour in its grip, they certainly aren’t squeezing where they should be. The only statements from the Labour government on the dispute have not been ones of support, nor even neutrality. Both Gordon Brown and Lord Adonis have attacked the strike, as bad for UNITE, BA and “the national interest”.

No Labour minister has spoke out on UNITE’s willingness to compromise. UNITE were willing to accept an offer put forward by BA and call off the strikes, but this offer was taken off the table by management. The unions members have already worked for free for a month, and have outlined the sacrifices they are prepared to make for BA. What the union is unprepared to do is to accept an imposed settlement from BA – one that freezes pay for 2 years and will reduce staff on flights. BA are also planning on introducing new terms for fresh staff, which will mean they will earn substantially less than current cabin crew. This will not only attack the wages of BA staff but reduce customer service on flights. BA say these changes are necessary due to the losses BA made last year, of £342 million. The unions desire to strike against this background has raised concerns from media pundits that the strike is suicidal. However a mix of Walshs cuts and union sacrifices means BA is sitting on £2 billion, enough to keep the company afloat despite strikes. Also, both BA management and the anti-union press and politicians did not appear to be very concerned for BA’s future when the company was fined a massive £270 million for price fixing. This criminality did not of course result in Walsh facing any threat to his job, despite the fact that without this fine BA would not have to make such cuts to staff and conditions.

The unions willingness to negotiate means nothing to Willie Walsh however, because it is becoming increasingly clear that the aim of the dispute for BA management is not simply enforcing changes to pay and staff, but to remove the unions influence and power. Willie Walsh himself was a former trade unionist from the Irish Airlines Pilots Association, so is aware of the power an organised workforce has. In a union magazine he is on record saying “A reasonable man gets nowhere in negotiations”. Walsh upheld his motto well during his defection from union rep to managament in Aer Lingus. His management of the company was was disastrous for many of its staff – his lack of “reason” allowed him to go very far indeed.

In management at Aer Lingus Walsh attacked trade unions and slashed thousands of jobs. He was condemned by no other than Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, when he said that Walsh’s running of Aer Lingus was a time “when the management wanted to steal the assets for themselves through a management buy out, shafting staff interests”. When Bertie Ahern accuses you of being a dodgy spiv, he’s probably on to something given his own experience of being one himself.

Walsh’s plans are to maintain BA’s image as a “premium” airline, but without “premium” pay for the staff. His ultimate aim is to smash the UNITE union so he can downgrade pay to the levels present in Ryanair, Easyjet, Virgin etc, where the cabin crew earns substantially less. BA, the Tories and their allies in the press have made a hue and cry of the fact that BA wages for cabin crew are higher than in other airlines – but then again, the fares for BA are higher than these budget airlines. A more important point however is this – so what if BA cabin crew get more than budget airline equivalents? Ultimately, its the cabin crew (along with thousands of other workers) who keep BA going, not its shareholders or its management, with its incompetent criminal attempts to rig prices.

The facts are simple – if you are in a union, on average you will have better pay, better conditions, and increased job security. Those basic facts stand up against propaganda that trade unionism is like flares and disco music – best kept in the 70’s. Any reduction in BA workers conditions won’t improve wages for Ryanair cabin crew or customer service. All it will do is increase the profits for Willie Walsh and BA’s shareholders.

Original source: http://ssy.org.uk/2010/03/1127/

Posted in Democracy, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Court ban on BA strike action is outrageous

Posted by CelticEwan on 19th December 2009

by Kevin McVey – 18th December 2009


The SSP condemns the decision of the High Court to declare the strike ballot of British Airway’s cabin crew illegal, as an undemocratic decision with worrying consequences for the ability of the Trade Union movement to defend the rights and conditions of its members.

This was a ballot where over 80% of the UNITE members involved voted and of those who did, 92% supported strike action. Yet in the face of this overwhelming mandate an individual and unaccountable judge can back up BA’s bullying management and invalidate the result.

It marks a further extension of the interference of the courts into the democratic decision making processes of Trade Unions and loads the dice even further in favour of employers seeking to attack workers like those in BA.

It is the latest twist on what is a sustained assault by BA management on their workforce, seeking to emulate companies like Branson’s Virgin Airways and Ryanair in driving down wages and conditions in the airline industry.

Contrary to the pernicious propaganda being spoon-fed to the mainstream media by BA, this is a workforce that does not luxuriate in a pampered lifestyle and earn inflated wages.

The unprecedented support for industrial action reflects the anger of people who have been consistently undermined in the job they are trying to do and facing a brutal employer who wants to boost its profits through wage cuts and staff reductions.

UNITE is now saying it will re-ballot. It is essential that the solid support for action is maintained and indeed informal, unofficial action may not be ruled out such will be the anger against the court’s unfair decision.

The SSP will continue to support the BA worker’s in their fight. The party believes the court action should mark the point where the Trade Union movement starts to roll back the attacks of employers and the incursion of the state into their legitimate business. It is a fight against the greed of big business and for all our democratic rights.

UNITE might also wish to consider its ongoing support to a Labour Party that after 12 years in power has allowed the anti-union legislation, which Tony Blair boasted as being “the most restrictive in the Western world”, to remain in place as a weapon in the armoury of every bullying boss like Willie Walsh and his minions at BA.

Posted in Democracy, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

BA Strike Suppressed by Court

Posted by CelticEwan on 18th December 2009

Andy McPake

The strike by BA Cabin Crew, a strike that received 92.5% of the vote in a ballot of members, has been declared “illegal”.

The High Court called a halt to the strike as members who had taken redundancy were able to vote. This technicality is a relic of Britain’s draconian anti-Trade Union laws. Designed in the Thatcher era, the laws are intended to prevent a Union from taking quick and decisive action, or, as today’s ruling would seem to indicate, any effective action at all.

This ruling will severely curtail the right of workers to strike.

In a gross understatement, Derek Simpson called the cancellation “a disgraceful day for democracy”. Even if all of the members who had taken redundancy had voted AGAINST the strike, there would still have been an overwhelming majority in favour of it.

The implications of this ruling are terrifying. Every time that a group of managers are facing a dispute in future, they will turn to their reliable friends in the courts to declare the strike illegal.

If they can do this to Unite, they can do it to ANY Union.  Virtually all Union ballots include a few people who have already resigned as the Union receives no automatic notice of this; members need to do it themselves. As a former member of Unite, I was receiving ballot papers for elections three months after I left my job.

If this logic was applied to the rich and powerful we would not have a Parliament! Our electoral register is full of people who are not legally entitled to vote; from foreign students and people who have moved, to those who are dead. However, I do not anticipate the High Court will be declaring our expenses guzzling MPs” illegal” anytime soon.

Any person reading the British press over the past week is likely to regard BA Cabin Crew as a collection of airborne grinches, determined to steal Christmas from Britain’s travellers. Absolutely no consideration is given to the fact that BA management’s job cuts, caused by BA management’s errors, are going to steal every Christmas for the foreseeable future from BA Staff and their dependants.

The vitriol that has been directed against the Union members is awful. These workers are not ‘selfish’, as so many have called them. These are ordinary people like you trying to defend their livelihoods. You may ask if they could not hold their strike after Christmas; but what leverage would they have against management except at the busiest times? Would you rather they disrupted your summer holidays?

Perhaps you are even thinking that they should not strike at all. If you are, I ask you what you would do if your job was at stake? If your wages were to be slashed? Roll over like some supine fool in worship of your boss?  Or fight to defend yourself? The Union used the only option that was left after all other forms of negotiation failed.

Let’s make one thing clear: British Airways Management are responsible for this strike not the workers.

Posted in Democracy, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

Promoted by Kevin McVey on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party, Suite 370, 4th Floor Central Chambers 93 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LD.