The Mini jobs cull, Acas, and the rights of working people

Recall the statements by Lord Mandelson after the outbreak of wildcat strikes in the construction industry centred on the Lindsay oil refinery dispute.

Don’t worry, he told us, no laws have been broken by any of the multinational companies concerned

And, no doubt, he was telling the truth.

He told us he was sending Acas, the conciliation service, to investigate. He was sure of their results: the companies would be cleared

Who wasn’t certain of this outcome?

In this upside-down England it is against the law for workers to take strike action without a convoluted process (involving warning the employer!) – even though they have made a decision to down tools – and against the law for others to join them in solidarity.

But it is perfectly legal for big businesses to drive down terms and conditions, to undercut wages, and to exclude local jobseekers from applying for work.

Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, responds:

‘It is hardly surprising that the ACAS enquiry has found that no laws have been broken, as the major union complaint is that the law does not properly protect UK based workers – wherever they were born.

‘The EU’s Posted Workers Directive has been implemented in the UK in a way that fails to guarantee UK agreements, and recent EU court judgements have raised even more worries that the law favours employers that try to undermine existing standards.’

On a similar theme: where are the rights of all workers to receive consultation in advance of redundancy? Why are temporary workers denied the rights that their co-workers enjoy?

I’m sure Lord Mandelson would be willing to instruct Acas to investigate BMW to see if their disgraceful sacking of 850 workers with one hour’s warning was in breach of the law…

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4 Responses to “The Mini jobs cull, Acas, and the rights of working people”

  1. JO Says:

    (The adverts obscure the comment box, by the way).

    So, it’s finally dawning on the people of Britain that – as far as the government AND the Unions are concerned, there is no longer any such person as a ‘British’ worker (or a Polish, or an Italian, or a Portugese worker). Now, we are all ‘European’ workers, God help us.

    The Unions have sold the workers down the river.

  2. Robert Says:

    Unions have always worked for themselves, god as a shop steward I was always in meeting in which employers would speak to us off the record, we would be told they had to slim down, I was instructed to say nothing, my Union boss would then come down private meeting would take place three months down the line 200 people were told they were sacked, the Union would shout it was wrong but do sod all because they had known about it months in advance.

    They play a bit about rights and wrongs and then say nothing, of course somebody in the Union would then get a seat or would be moved into Government, this worked under Labour and under the Tories.

    It’s always the same Union are in it for what they can make or what they can get or how far up the ladder they can move.

  3. charliemarks Says:

    The union movement was sold the EU by way of the “social Europe” model – which would supposedly save us from Thatcherism. Recall that before the late 80s the labour movement and the Labour party was anti-EU. The truth is that the government can do nothing to protect workers, domestic industries, etc, without leaving the EU.

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