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Saturday 21 January 2012

The Union Wonder Of Woolies

While the right leaning Astroturf lobby groups carry on their thus far futile attempts to change the law on Trade Union reps’ facility time – the lack of honesty and one particular group’s lack of credibility isn’t helping – those same unions have scored a notable success in their efforts to salvage something for their members from the wreckage of the collapse of Woolworths.

Dear old Woolies went down the chute at the wrong end of 2008 – the end of the year – leaving around 25,000 workers without redundancy compensation. Shop workers’ union USDAW has now won 60 days’ pay for most of the workers affected, although those that worked in stores where less than 20 were made redundant have lost out.

It’s a textbook example of what trade unions are there for: had those workers had to fight this case alone, the possibility of any of them receiving compensation would have been not unadjacent to zero. Not surprisingly, this is lost on those on the right slavering at the prospect of kicking the unions over facility time, and where the latest Astroturf group finally gets round to launching itself next week.

The Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), whose Chairman is under investigation by his own party, while its CEO has been kicked off the Tory Party candidates’ list and its Press Officer had to resign his post with Windsor and Maidenhead Council after being caught plotting and smearing, has marked the event by having one of its tame new intake MP supporters put down an Early Day Motion (EDM).

EDM 2609, with its superbly dishonest wording provided for main sponsor David Morris by the TURC and its “Social media advisor”, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, has managed to trick veteran Labour MP Jim Dobbin. However, as Cole, in an act of routine stupidity, then smeared Dobbin as “dodderyon the Guido Fawkes blog, this victory is likely to be short lived.

How can I be so sure as to the provenance of EDM 2609’s wording? This ends with “the Prime Minister’s pledge to ban all full-time trade union officials in the public sector”. Only someone as ignorant and dishonest as Cole could have written that: Young Dave has made no such pledge, a workplace rep isn’t a union official, and the “ban” as worded would not reduce facility time at all.

All of which goes to show that TURC remains very much a comedy turn, with its attempts to smear Trade Unions in stark contrast to the sterling work done by USDAW for the former Woolies’ workers, the last mentioned being more of those hard working ordinary taxpayers whom the Astroturfers claim to support.

People aren’t stupid. They’ll have no problem knowing the difference.

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