The corporate ‘cartels’ of Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Media, Big Insurance and Big Banking rule your world through their hirelings, otherwise known as politicians.
The direction of your world is a deregulatory one. Your Big Ultimate Masters (BUM’s) are ideologically opposed to public services, the welfare state, and social housing, and seek to Christmas-wrap these as presents to multinational corporations.
A major part of their ‘reform’ onslaught is the abolition of unions in the workplace.
So far, in the UK, ‘reform’ of unions as resulted in a salami-slice diminuition of their power to call for strikes and to co-ordinate with other unions; a death by degree.
What is the endgame? It is to introduce a law which will have the same effect as the ‘Felony’ Act of 1797, under which six agricultural labourers’leaders, George Loveless, his brother James, their brother-in-law Thomas Standfield, their nephew Thomas Standfield, James Hammett and James Brine, were found guilty at the Dorchester Assizes in March 1834 of forming a union whch bound their members by ‘unlawful oaths’, and sentenced to transportation for seven years to the Australian colonies.
These ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ sought to resist to work for 6 shillings a day, a reduction from 7 shillings, as threatened by their employers, the local farmers. Six shillings would have the buying power today of £15. Some agricultural workers of this time were paid 10 shillings (£25) a day.
How will the BUM’s deliver their version of Tolpuddle?
This is easy. Every piece of recent legislation introduced in the UK, in the areas of education fees, care home fees, NHS and benefits ‘reform’, has been a thinly plagarised version of American neoconservative legislation. Every attempt to sell these policies has been couched in the same propaganda terminology, predicated on the need for ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost reduction’, that only the private sector can deliver, of course, and which is so necessary in these times of (phoney) austerity. (95% of ‘money’ exists as computer digits that can be made to be any amount by the BUM’s).
What will the latest BUM’s ‘letter from America’ contain?
It will be a blueprint for establishing a ‘National Labor Relations Board’ (NLRB), ‘which is an independent agency of the United States government charged with conducting elections for labor union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. The NLRB is governed by a five-person board and a General Counsel, all of whom are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Board members are appointed to five-year terms and the General Counsel is appointed to a four-year term. The General Counsel acts as a prosecutor and the Board acts as an appellate judicial body from decisions of administrative law judges’ (See Morris, Charles J. (2005). The Blue Eagle at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace).
Essentially, this agency is a conduit for the decertification of unions in the workplace. The NLRB reports that an average of 600 decertification attempts are filed each year, which follows a vote of over half of the employees voting in a particular ‘unit’ (be that hospitals, or schools, etc.), for that action. About 190 local unions are decertified/abolished each year.
The American legislation guarantees employee secret ballots on unionization, expands the employee’s right to refuse their dues being used for political activity, and hold unions accountable for threats and violence while they pursue union business. The last mandate is a red herring, and is used to sell the overall package to the public, rather like selling a lousy bag of sweets on the promise that there will be one in it that is universally liked.
The votes to decertification could be made an annual, automatic process. National polling in America indicates that 80% of union members support adding an automatic revote provision to employment laws. They have been sold this idea on the insinuation that unions could order their members to physically attack those that do not comply with the ‘union view’.
These are the easily intimidated, those who would work for £15 a day, and say, “thank you, sir” for the privilege. They will always be among you, and more so in this debt-ridden world.
The big question for such unions as UNITE is this: What will you do when you are faced with a slow death by decertification?
Will you organise marches of the faithful?, in the false hope that you can change legislation by demonstrating your displeasure; that you can engage in debate with neoconservative ideologues, whose ‘religion’ is sacrosanct to them.
This has been the recent response of the RCN and RCM to the ending of nursing bursaries, with almost sobbing declarations of disappointment that the government has not ‘sat around a table with them’. As if they would. As if they need to.
I say to such unions as Unite and Unison, do not fall into this pathetic category of aspiring sychophants. I once told Tony Benn that his notion of effecting change through demonstrations was over. I tell you the same, and ask you what you will do beyond this?
lenin nightingale 2016