Help Labour win!

We have a General Election coming, here’s what you need or can do to get involved. Help Labour return Vicky Foxcroft as a Labour MP in Lewisham Deptford. The timetable of events is here, on Lewisham Council’s Web site.

  1. If not on the electoral roll, register to vote before the 27th November i.e , here…I didn’t know you could vote if homeless, but it seems you can, If you can’t provide an address, you are advised to contact your local Electoral Registration Office i.e. Lewisham Council for advice before the 27th Nov.
  2. Register for a postal vote here …, before 17:00 pm the 26th Nov; you’ll need a printer
  3. You may apply for a proxy vote until 4th Dec.
  4. Join us, in Lewisham Deptford on the doorstep, find out where & when here …,, we also run phone banks for those who can’t or don’t want to knock on doors, contact us via this web form.
  5. Put a poster, or posters up in your window, or garden, tell us here …, you’ll need to say that you want a poster and tell us where to deliver it.
  6. Donate to Labour’s campaign in Deptford here …
  7. Join the Party here …
  8. Donate to the national party here…
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Labour supports the result of the referendum?

Labour supports the result of the referendum?

We hear some Lexiter’s bleating that Labour’s 2017 Manifesto stated that Labour agreed to support the result of the referendum;  here’s Andrew Fisher, the manifesto author, on the qualifications that were made with that statement. They are massive.

I don’t have time to research this more fully today, but those words came from a Clause V meeting; I don’t think Conference has ever agreed those words. Labour has always taken a position that it will oppose Brexit on unacceptable terms as does the 2017 manifesto. …

Workers rights for Maternity and the EU

Workers rights for Maternity and the EU

This article is a quote from the TUC’s “UK employment rights and the EU“, it relates to maternity rights and the EU acquis.

The EU Pregnant Workers Directive 1992 led to substantial improvements in the health and safety protections for expectant and new mothers in the workplace. It gave women paid time off for ante-natal appointments and placed duties on employers to assess risks and to adjust working conditions, transfer a pregnant or breastfeeding worker to alternative work or suspend them on paid leave where harm is identified.

While the maternity leave entitlement in the UK already exceeded the EU minimum of 14 weeks when the Directive was implemented, case law from the ECJ has had a positive impact in tackling the disadvantage and discrimination that many women face in the workplace when they become mothers. For example, it made clear that treating a women unfavourably because of pregnancy or maternity leave was direct sex discrimination and that it was not necessary to identify a non-pregnant comparator in similar circumstances to prove discrimination. This ended years of women potentially being defeated in discrimination claims because the employer argued that they would have treated a man who had to take a substantial period out of the workplace in a similar way.

Sex discrimination law in the UK was amended to create a separate category of pregnancy discrimination, which is now defined as unfavourable treatment because of pregnancy or maternity leave in the Equality Act 2010 with no need for any comparison with a non-pregnant employee. This change in UK law was achieved following a case taken against the UK government by the old Equal Opportunities Commission relying on EU law.

ECJ case law has also extended protection from dismissal on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave to fixed-term workers. And, since 2008, women on additional maternity leave have had access to the same contractual rights as women on ordinary maternity leave as a result of ECJ case law. This means, for example, that employers are obliged to make contributions into occupational pension schemes for longer than the first 26 weeks of leave.

ooOOOoo …

Brexit and workers rights

Brexit and workers rights

Is EU employment protection laws better than the UK’s? Here’s the TUC, and here’s the Institute of employment rights.

The IER says,

Brexit is forever, and an honest appreciation of history should alert us to the dangers, just as optimism about a Labour government should temper our concerns. It is worth noting that UK labour standards tend to be more robust – and more or less on a par with European standards – in those areas presided by EU labour law instruments (e.g. working time, equality law, business restructuring). Whereas they tend to fall below European standards in areas such as unfair dismissal where, as noted in 2011 by the Beecroft report ‘[t]here is no EU concept of “unfair” non-discriminatory dismissal, so there are no other EU constraints on what the UK can do in this area’

i.e. so much for the power of the organised working class, and interested in what they say about unfair dismissal as it’s underwritten by an article in the Charter of Fundamental Rights yet protection seems weaker, primarily because the UK requires workers to have two years longevity but this is important evidence that the employee rights are stronger where there’s EU Law as is the case for working hours, equalities and health & safety.

They conclude,

… we provide an account of the constitutional foundations of European labour rights in the United Kingdom, as well as the extent to which British labour law is informed by mandatory European standards. It is unquestionably the case that without the EU influence, British labour law textbooks would be very much thinner, lighter and cheaper.

The IER concludes by pointing out that the Govt. proposals now avoid the commitment to keep a level playing field on worker’s rights and that the need to sign an FTA with the USA will be a driving force to weakening these rights.

The TUC document says,

“There has been some recent concern that the European Commission’s social policy agenda has become increasingly restricted. For example, recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) cases have limited the ability of unions to organise industrial action in cross-border disputes, and in some Eurozone countries the Commission has actively undermined sector-wide collective bargaining agreements.

However, set against these concerns are the significant employment rights gains that continue to accrue to UK workers as a result of our EU membership. These are wide ranging in scope, including access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety protection, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, and rights for workers’ representatives to receive information and be consulted, particularly in the context of restructuring.

They conclude

“While recent EU-led improvements in employment protection have been more limited than in the past, and some EU activities have served to reduce the existing settlement, the overall contribution of EU employment rights to the UK workforce is substantial. The gains UK workers achieve as a result of our membership of the EU include improved access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety provision, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, information and consultation and significant health and safety protection. Given these benefits we conclude that EU membership continues to deliver wide-ranging protections to UK workers. Furthermore, evidence also suggests that in the years ahead, remaining in the European Union may provide significant opportunities to extend employment protections for working people.

The conclusion is obvious. …

Final say!

Yesterday, I went up to London to take part in the March for a people’s vote.

 

Just down the road, Parliament, at it’s extraordinary meeting decided not to approve Johnson’s new deal with its customs border in the Irish Sea and it’s adverse aspirations for partial single market compliance. i.e. we get to keep the restrictions on state aid but not the benefits of free movement and workers rights. This was done by an alliance of views, perhaps most importantly those who felt the deal needed parliamentary scrutiny. As noted by others, he has achieved the rare feat of uniting all forces in Northern Ireland. This meant that Johnson had to send a letter to the European Union asking for an extension, an act he had promised the Scottish Courts that he would do. He said he wouldn’t but then he did, unsigned with a covering letter and a second (or third letter) saying he didn’t want one. I say,

It’s like making a promise with your fingers crossed behind your back.

The government say, they’ll bring the deal back for a vote on Monday, but Parliament can’t vote on the same thing twice in a session; looks like they prorogued too early. Classic Dom. …

Employment protection & Johnson’s deal

On Johnson’s deal with respect to workers rights, the current withdrawal agreement unlike previous one’s makes no commitment to maintain those rights, i.e. those commitments have been removed. The TUC opposes the agreement, particularly on Worker’s Rights but also on its general crapness.

The current fear from some, is that Johnson will get his deal approved by parliament, thus negating/satisfying the Benn Act and then fail to bring the implementation legislation, written but secret, as are the legal text and impact analyses to Parliament and thus crash out on 31st with no deal. Much of the social protection legislation is implemented by SI and would be jeopardised by this manoeuvre i.e. the Law that mandates these rights is EU law.

Lexiters should also note that the withdrawal agreement maintains the state aid restrictions and there will be no Article 50 escape clause. Even Costas Lapavitsas is pointing at these flaws. Any agreement will be a treaty which to exit, would be under WTO treaty terms or the Treaty of Vienna. So much for bringing back control and freeing the country to pursue a socialist programme. …

Where’d the votes go?

Where’d the votes go?

Within the Labour Party, there is a debate about the position to be taken with respect to Brexit due to electoral considerations.

Here is a chart showing the polling results; what interests me is the change of fortune on the 9th May. On the 1st of May, Labour’s NEC refused to change it’s policy of an election before a referendum on remain. At the time, Labour were first in the Polls, two months later, we lost half our MEPs and slipped to 2nd losing between 10 – 15% of our predicted vote share.

 

How accurate are the polls?

Here are three links which talk about the methodologies used by the polling companies, the “House Effects” even tries to quantify the statistical bias in these methods. Fact is some polls favour Labour, some favour the Tories, but non have recently said that Labour is ahead. Sadly my favourite seat predictor at flavible is currently offline, but provided we stay above 25% and the Brexig Party & LibDems overperform, the most liklely result is a Labour minority govenment.

Others have argued that the methodology biases put the polling houses into two classes, neither are owned by the Tories but the bias is clear. Lets hope that those who say that we can still out campaign the Tories are right, but they won’t be as shit as May and we won’t take them by surprise on social media.

We need to remember how most polls got it wrong in 2017 and ‘House Effects’ examines that.

It’s going to be hard.

ooOOOoo

  1. ‘House effects’ and how to read the polling tea leaves…, at Southampton Politics
  2. Latest voting intention and the difference between the polls, at UK Polling Report
  3. A Journalist’s Guide To Opinion Polls at the British Polling Council.

  …

Brexit Ground Rush

Brexit Ground Rush

It’s an exciting day about Brexit, Johnson’s announced a deal, and thumbscrews are out in the House of Commons. Jüncker has declared that if the deal is accepted by the UK Parliament, then we move to a transition on 1st Nov. Farage has kicked off, since it’s not Jüncker, nor the Commission’s call. The EU Council, who’s call it is starts meeting today.

We’re on a demo on Saturday to show that we the people still support remaining in the EU, although we need a government to write the next referendum rules to include all citizens impacted inc. those between 16-18. I also have to repeat that while much heat and noise has been focused on the Irish border, the Citizenship clauses of the withdrawal agreement are unacceptable and have not changed. …

A short rough guide to the world

A short rough guide to the world

It’s a terrible world, the forces of repression are growing and act with impunity and as with Spain in the 30’s a Tory Govt fails to act with honour for human rights and democracy. It does not strongly advocate the weak; it does the opposite.

Solidarity with the Uighers in China, the citizens of Jammu/Kashmir, the citizens of the West Bank & Gaza, the Kurds in North Syria, the independence movement in Catalunya, and the protesters in Hong Kong.

And the United Nations show’s its weakness, my list could be longer, perhaps it’s time to refresh my membership of Amnesty International. …