Posts Tagged ‘Unions’

He’s at it again: Lansley has form on pauses that aren’t anything of the sort

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Remember the Health and Social Care Bill listening exercise, anyone? When former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley ran into difficulties with his Dick Dastardly NHS plans, he called a reflective pause, just long enough to do bugger all, whilst the media conveniently forgot what he was up to in privatising our NHS. Jeremy Hunt may have finished the job, but Lansley’s listening exercise masterstroke was enough to buy off the fretting ranks of Lib Dems, and get the job done without too great a rebellion, and without any significant concessions.

Fast forward to 2013 and Lansley is mired once again in a dog’s dinner of a Bill, this time one ostensibly designed to deal with the lobbying sleaze crisis in Parliament, but which seems to actually do very little to upset the interests of the big money corrupting our politics. Business lobbyists have unsurprisingly avoided any significant changes, whilst 38 Degrees and Hope Not Hate are being thumped for daring to think about the government’s failings. And unions have been included too, mainly because it seems they haven’t been punished much of late.

Unionmade Goods hipster clothing not actually union made. Whodathunk?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Unionmade Goods: unionbusters?

Via a rather pissed off AFL-CIOnow today, I came across a Gawker article about Californian clothing company Unionmade Goods. They sell upmarket priced downmarket looking clothing to the good hipster folk of the Bay Area.

All quite pleasant looking, if rather on the pricey side, and topped off with a woolly commitment to ethical sourcing, which is some way better than nowt for the fashion industry. But what’s this? Apparently the fact they’re called “Unionmade” and have a rip off US union logo,  is not to be taken as any kind of inference that unions have been involved at any point in the process. (more…)

Facebook union bans: Three strikes and you’re out

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The union Faceban saga took a new and depressing turn this week, after many people found they were prohibited from sharing a link to the activist site supporting unions’ industrial action on the 30th June – – We’re now contending with Facebook pre-bans!

When they tried to post the link (and later also short link site redirects to the site, and even posts discussing the site), they got a popup message saying the site had been reported and they weren’t able to share it. This persisted for some time before Facebook relented and let the site be shared by users.

This isn’t a new development – vexatious complaints to Facebook (or indeed pretty much any other commercial social network) can be ludicrously powerful. Facebook’s revenue per user is pretty minuscule, so their legions of users can only be serviced on the cheap. A few years back they only had around 100 customer service operatives to moderate tens of millions of active users’ content, and I imagine if the situation’s changed, it’s for the worse. (more…)

Iraq’s Arab Spring at risk from a political storm over union rights

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

With the world’s eyes on the problems facing an Arab Spring for Libya, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain, a fast moving crisis brewing in Iraq is in danger of slipping off the radar. As one of the region’s elected democracies, recent protests in Iraq have been about the pace of reform within the political system rather than a challenge to the legitimacy of the government, but with a recent dramatic crackdown on trade unions in the county, the country seems to be moving very much in the wrong direction.

The cabinet in Iraq is something of a carve up, with the governing coalition’s important minority faction the Sadrist party (the followers of the Islamist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr) holding sway over a number of departments, including the Ministry of Labour. It seems the Sadrists are keen to use their position to exert influence wherever possible, and to that end have staged something of a civil society coup by taking over the country’s independent labour movement.


Now is our winter of discontent made glorious dumber by this son of Dork

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The government are plotting another round of regulations on unions’ industrial action rights, if today’s Daily Mail article “Tories plot to curb unions to prevent second winter of discontent over spending cuts” is anything to be believed.

Winter of discontent? That sounds pretty serious – apocalyptic even. We haven’t had one of those since the 70’s – no wonder the Government are spooked.

But what’s this? Consulting the Daily Mail’s own search engine, we seem to have already experienced a ‘spring of discontent’ this year, oh, and a ‘summer of discontent’. And they confidently predict an ‘autumn of discontent’ to match the currently threatened ‘winter of discontent’. (more…)

For The Win: Cory Doctorow and The RJ-45 Trousered Philanthropists

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

For The Win - UK hardback coverCory Doctorow has a new young-adult novel out, and it’s something that union organisers and communicators very much need to read.

For The Win meshes together the lives of people working in and around MMORPGS, the massively multiplayer online role-playing games which grow in size and value every year. Set about ten minutes into the future, it shows how these virtual worlds have developed virtual economies, with people who work in them, legally and illegally. (more…)

On unions and Open Source

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I was thinking today about why trade unions don’t make a bigger deal of Open Source software – not just to use themselves more often, but as a model for the businesses their members work in. We like co-ops well enough, for example, or social enterprises.

I guess there could be an element in some quarters of resistance to the intially strange idea of amateurs voluntarily taking on work that’s been traditionally done by paid staff in formal companies – the same issues we see wherever the internet is perceived to be pitting people’s leisure interests up against the work of professionals. More likey though is that it’s all a bit new to us. I don’t know many unionised coders myself, let alone union Open Source coders. (more…)

When the union’s inspiration through its Twitter feed shall run…

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

People sometimes ask me “John, why should trades unions get involved with Twitter?” No, honest, they really do, my life is *that* exciting at times…

My standard response is that it all depends. The microblogging service Twitter is potentially attractive to unions as it’s something of a liberal and Labour ghetto, and it gets a lot of column inches for being flavour of the moment and making people look modern. However, Twitter is almost a platform in search of a utility, and different people/unions might get very different things out of it, or of course nothing at all, depending on how they naturally want to communicate. (more…)

Unions that borrow blogs

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

We’ve seen a whole bunch more union related blogs over the last year, at all levels of the movement (check out the lists at for many of them). But one thing I’ve noticed has impressed me in particular, and that’s the first attempts at cleverly using other people’s blogs to talk to members. I’m not talking about the Gen Sec posts that pop up on Comment Is Free every now and then, or the more mainstream political blogs, but something much closer to unions’ membership – the online trade press. (more…)

Unions and web aggregators

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Another day, another aggregator. I’m getting quite into union aggregator sites of late, and think there could be something in this cheap and cheerful technology that could really be powerful for unions.

The latest experiment is Union Newswire. It collates and republishes links to union press releases from 19 UK organisations. The idea is to make a one-stop shop for journalists, bloggers or students following developments in unions. Rather than remember to check 19 sites, it gives you a choice of ways to stay up to date with the news you need from each of them, depending on how you want to work – web, email, RSS or Twitter. (more…)