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. …

And back home

And back home

I have been told of resignations over this in my own CLP. Our delegation voted in accordance with the mandate issued, in favour of the NEC statement, against the Remain & Transform (C13) motion and for the Stop Tory Brexit (C14) motion. I accept that this is a reasonable interpretation of the mandate as those of us arguing for Remain & Transform lost the vote by 4 votes at a barely quorate General Committee meeting. I am sure that the timing of the meeting, i.e. a week before we undertook our trigger ballot meetings and the state of exhaustion from the faction fighting were part of the problem.

If you are a member of Lewisham Deptford Labour Party and not a member of the General Committee, ask your delegates why they weren’t there and let them know what you think, attend your branch AGMs coming in Oct. and elect pro-remain delegates who will turn up. This is critically important as should we win the coming General Election, Labour will call a special conference to determine its position between its new deal and a remain position. I will be seeking, with allies to establish a remain position and nsure we elect a delegation that will support the mandate.

My experience from canvassing is that many Labour voters are deeply concerned about, by which I mean vehemently opposed to, Labour’s ambiguous position despite our local MP‘s vigorous & courageous pursuit of a remain.

 …

Not yet decided!

Not yet decided!

Labour Conference failed yesterday to take the opportunity to declare itself a remain party. I am of course deeply disappointed. I am told of resignations already.

The debate was conducted in the best traditions of the Labour Party which means lots of games were played. The quality of the debate was not good but one or two speeches shone out.

The Party Leadership, which does not want to declare for remain, at least not for now had been so frightened of the result that it sought to agree a statement; this would and did allow them to insert new words onto the Agenda, although the fear that they would repeat the 2016 trick of ensuring that an NEC statement supplanted member’s motions was not repeated. Otherwise only the words proposed by member organisations can be debated. They had great difficulty getting their statement carried, convening two meetings, cancelling one and eventually agreeing by email.

Jon Lansman documented his dissatisfaction with the means, at least, if not the content of the decision but strangely Momentum changed their mind, and I believe asked their supporters with “listen & decide” mandates to oppose the Remain position (Composite 13) Composite 13 Brexit lab19 and support the NEC Statement NEC Statement Brexit( basically the Harold Wilson position) and Composite 14 Composite 14 Brexit lab19 which is basically, No Tory Brexit. This advice was obviously not meant to be taken by CLPs with strong mandates although I am not sure everyone that got the memo understood that!

The Composite meeting was long, although not as long as the meeting on the Green New Deal; the Leadership firstly tried their tactic from last year arguing the only one motion should be put and that the Composite should be agreed by consensus, which since they were in a minority again, wasn’t going to happen this time. The huge problem the platform had is that the large majority of the members of the composite meeting had mandates to support the words that ended up in the “Remain Now” motion. The other problem that Remainers have is that much of the Leader loyalists are actually Lexiters influenced by the Communist Party and economistic Trotskyists, places from which their leadership came. WRT to the composite meeting, the lesson from 2018 had been learnt,

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

The debate can be seen on Youtube; the Party have published the whole afternoon session.

It was not a high quality debate as there is little meeting of minds, but to give you a taste, here’s Simon Hannah moving Composite 13.

The bulk of the pro-leadership arguments were straight forward personal loyalism; there was a bit about losing our already lost heartlands, but not so much and some arguing we are the party of the 99% we need to bring the country together. To my mind the argument that we have more remain votes to lose was not made powerfully enough but there is more than sufficient idealism in Urte Mackene’s speech.

There can be “no socialism in one country;I wonder when that became true?

Kier Starmer summed up the debate, you can see his speech here and then in the best traditions of the Labour movement the vote was stitched up and a card vote denied! It interests me that Jennie Formby arrived on the platform 10 minutes before the end of the debate and played a critical role in guiding the Chair, who first called Composite 13 carried, on advice seemed to change her mind, and then denied a Card Vote.

Card votes are more accurate than one person’s judgement, and a show of hands overestimates the power of small CLPs and underestimates the power of the Unions. It was wrong  to deny it to conference and the membership and reminds me of the bad old days of 2016. In my mind this was done to demoralise those who had campaigned to see Composite 13 carried, to prove that they’re in charge but as others have said, the effort exhausted them.

But we’ve come so far … is it one more push. …