Fair Pay!

Fair Pay!

The press are full of stories about Google looking to reduce the pay of those who continue to work from home as the public health restrictions are lifted. This is unjust; if there’s one lesson learnt during the pandemic it’s that essential workers are under paid, but the idea of the world’s most profitable companies trying to restore/boost their profitability by reducing the wages of their workers is, while not unexpected, pretty appalling. In the UK, this may open an employer to equal pay suits.

Google claims to be a global talent company and it would surprise me if they don’t pay the market rate for the job wherever! I know that Sun Microsystems, in its last few years came to the view that the talent market was global and set up HQ offices around the world with Labs in Grenoble and St. Petersburg and a location in India. It bit them the arse when they came to close the offices, French redundancy consultation laws are a bitch … we could do with some laws like that. (In fact a game I played with my US managers and peers, was asking which country in Europe is it hardest to fire people in, and they all thought it was Germany. The answer was in fact Italy, where the comrades went on unofficial strike. Germany was 4th, after Italy, France and the Netherlands.)

Marxists argue that employers will seek to pay the minimum wage with crudely speaking a floor of the replacement cost of the labour; they also argue that all the value is created by the labour and that it’s the appropriation of surplus value is the driver of the class struggle. Classicists argue that now that labour has transformed from animal effort, there is a supply and demand for skills and experience and there is an equilibrium grate of wages. I suppose the cost to commute vs the born cost of provisioning the workplace are factors in determining replacement cost and/or the supply curve, but they are also part of a 21st century trend of dumping cost elsewhere. Let’s note that when employees work from home, Management save the cost of office space.  Here the employer is seeking to reduce wages by clawing back the employee’s travel to work costs and also make savings by reducing its office costs.

You need a Union, see also Less money for working from home? at GMB London General X58 Branch …

Employee self-defence

Employee self-defence

I have been meaning to write an “employee self defence” manual for a while now, and something came across my desk today to remind me of this ambition. Here’s mine off the top of my head.

  • Always reply to management in writing and in good time.
  • Know where your contract is, make a good .pdf copy of it and keep a copy of any variations particularly if you work for a business unit that has been subject to a TUPE agreement, you’d be surprised how careless some managements can be in keeping good records. If you opt out of the working time directive or refuse to, keep a record. If seconded, or asked to cover other duties get the instruction in writing together with the commitment to end the change in duties.
  • While contracts can be varied unilaterally i.e. imposed, it depends on the wording of the original contract, if you object to the changes, let management know in writing, it can’t stop it but it may be relevant for future grievances or disciplinary processes.
  • Keep a contemporaneous diary and keep it off your employer’s IT; they can deny it to you when you need it or worse, amend the record.
  • See your Doctor when needed and take their advice, don’t make them look a fool. If signed off sick, make sure your appropriate management know and they have the appropriate documentation.
  • Tell your management if you are disabled or chronically sick, they won’t make reasonable adjustments unless they do.
  • If you want flexible working arrangements, you have a legal right for this to be considered, understand the management process, they may mandate a specific form and make sure your application and their reply is in writing.
  • Know your grievance and whistle blowing policy so you know who to talk to when you need it.
  • If you think it’s a grievance, lodge it, the least that will happen is that your case is in writing, actually shit managements might retaliate but your case is in writing and if they’re bad, it’ll only get worse anyway.
  • Know the IT use and record management policy of your employer; don’t break them and complain if others try and get you to do so too, by for instance, using personal phones or emails and whatsapp or twitter to discuss work matters. If an employee, don’t use your own phone for any work business; they have a duty to provide one if you need it for work.

That’s it for the moment but I know there’s more. …

Which Union

Which Union

A number of people are becoming active in politics and are asking which Union should they join because if a LP member, you must join a Union if eligible and must pay the political levy if the Union has a political fund. Anyway, if at work, it’s a good thing to do, for yourself and for others.

People join Unions because of where they work and who they work for; the principle is that as socialists and trade union militants, we should/must defend industrial unionism. In much of Europe, the Unions are even closer adjuncts of the political parties than in the UK and this is not a good thing.

I describe my rules and offer a web site URL below/overleaf. …

Trade Unionists oppose Brexit

YouGov have run a poll, on behalf of the People’s Vote Campaign asking Trade Unionists some questions about their opinions on the EU & Brexit, this was done on 20th-23rd June and it reports on the GMB, Unite & Unison, the top three by size. It makes sobering reading for Labour’s “Lexiters”, as all three samples would vote to Remain by significant margins and that ~35% would be more likely to vote Labour if it supported a 2nd referendum, with Remain on the ballot.

69% stated that they would vote remain in a referendum held tomorrow.

Other articles my focus on the General Election implications but I am glad that the GMB adopted this position at their Conference earlier this month. …  …

Delete all … insert

I was asked where the “rule” that an amendment cannot be destructive came from. I have to say, that I don’t know but I haven’t read Citrine, so I googled it and came across, “The vest pocket Chairman” by Heathwood and Horseman hosted by libcom.org. They quote Citrine as saying,

Amendment. An amendment should be a proposal seeking to improve a motion—not merely to improve the wording but to propose a better course of action. Amendments should not be negative nor merely destructive.

Lord Citrine, in his A B C of Chairmanship,* divides amendments into five categories. These are :-

(a) Those adding words to the original motion.
(b) Those deleting words from the motion.
(c) Those deleting words and substituting others.
(d) Those deleting most of the motion and substituting a counter-proposal.
(e) Those which amend an earlier amendment.

The rules for moving and discussing an amendment are the same as those for moving and discussing a motion, except that, as a rule, the mover of an amendment has no right of reply to the discussion.

An amendment must be relevant to the terms of the original motion, and must not be frivolous. An amendment should offer a concrete alternative proposal to that contained in the motion.

An amendment should not negative the motion. Anyone wishing to do that can do so simply by voting against the motion.

I have also found the following words,

Direct Negative. An amendment which proposes the direct opposite of a motion is a “Direct Negative” and should not be accepted. The proper course for movers of a direct negative is to oppose the motion.

and

Negative Motion. A motion in the negative cannot be accepted. All motions must be positive.

This article permits omnibus motions.

ooOOOoo

I have uploaded the document here … as my blog seems more long lived that many other web resources. …

Keep a diary

Just looking at my Union diary for next week and considering the documentation arms race between managers and workers. If you think you are in trouble or getting into trouble at work, write down what happened and how you feel. It’s no good several months later relying on memory; there is little doubt that management will have a written copy of what happened. …

The right to strike

The right to strike

Last November, my Union branch invited Gemma Short of the Right to Strike campaign to talk about the need to change the Trade Union Laws. I have reported the speech and discussion on the branch’s web site, and shall précis it here.

The Thatcher Government’s changed the law significantly and non of the Government’s since have repealed those changes. The key changes have been the mandatory need for individual balloting for strike decisions and the prohibition of solidarity action. The full details have been documented in a House of Commons Research Paper,

Labour’s 2017 Manifesto promised to repeal the 2016 Trade Union act, which further limited picketing, introduced turnout thresholds for ballots, gave employers the right to refuse to deduct union fees from the payroll and that,

A Labour government will ensure Britain abides by the global Labour standards of the ILO conventions.

This is more radical than it sounds since most of Thatcher’s laws are in breach of the ILO standards.

We concluded that the effective right to organise is the workers defence against discrimination and exploitation and today’s Laws have a chilling effect on that right to organise and to take effective action. …

Academies of Justice

Academies of Justice

Will Hutton in the Guardian states that the Greens propose to extend the rights to belong to Trade Unions and to prohibit discrimination against TU members. It’s true see, check out their policy statement http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/wr.html, they also plan for a a right of Union recognition. Where’s the Labour Party on this? Actually, where’s the TUC and unions? I know it’s a long way from manifesto, to government policy, as a long term labour party member, boy do I know, but if the party policy ain’t right, then the parliamentary party’s policy and government policy is unlikely to be. …