Janine's blog

Picket This Bigot!

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 14:52

Comrades up in Manchester are organising a picket and counter-rally when David Coleman speaks at an event in the city on May 17 2007. Coleman - a professor at Oxford University - is a nasty piece of work, founder of the odious MigrationWatch, which poses as some kind of academic research think-tank, but is in reality simply a purveyor of hatred against immigrants and foreigners generally.

Hat tip to Bruce for these Coleman quotes:

New Union's First Member = Scab Ken

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 05/03/2007 - 17:33

On Tuesday - May Day - the T&G and Amicus formally joined together to form a new union, Unite.

As part of the launch, the new union issued membership card no.1 for its London region to ... erm ... let's think ... a worker? a lifelong trade unionist? a shop steward? a member at the forefront of fighting their employer?

No. Ken Livingstone. A scab. The man who urged RMT members to cross their own union's picket line in 2004.

CWU's Dave Ward Leaves Labour's Executive

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 05/02/2007 - 15:56

Copied below is a report from the Observer. Ward claims that there is a "conflict of interest" between fighting government policy and sitting on Labour's NEC. Is there?! Back in the 1970s, the Labour Party NEC called a national demonstration against the then Labour government's policy, so presumably the entire body was acting out a conflict of interest! No, it wasn't - it was representing the interests of the labour movement against a government that was betraying those interests.

Sign to Stop Ticket Office Closures

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 05/01/2007 - 11:50

Click here to sign the petition I have set up on the 10 Downing Street website, objecting to Tube ticket office closures.

And just to reassure you that I don't actually think that a petition alone will stop these closures, here is a set of campaign proposals that I and a couple of other activists are circulating in the RMT:

TICKET OFFICE JOB CUTS - PROPOSALS FOR ACTION
Janine Booth (Bank group rep), Alex Parkinson (Finsbury Park group rep), Rick Grogan (SS Upminster Bridge)

Hackney: Estate Plus?

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 04/28/2007 - 08:59

Hackney Council has apparently rebranded its estate regeneration policy. It is now called 'Estate Plus'. Plus what, though?

... plus privatisation ... plus overcrowding ... plus community fragmentation ...

There are a few minuses as well though ...

... minus council housing ... minus green space ... minus blue skies ... minus democracy.

RMT and TUC to part company?

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 04/24/2007 - 18:46

There has been some talk in the RMT about parting company with the TUC, which seems to be based on three main factors:

  • A looming dispute over RMT's forthcoming merger with OILC;
  • Fear that the new merged T&G/Amicus super-union will dominate the TUC;
  • The fact that the TUC is generally crap.

I want to argue here against those who have been advocating splitting from the TUC.

Diane Abbott and the Labour leadership election

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 04/18/2007 - 21:18

Yesterday it seemed that any remaining hope that Diane Abbott MP might support John McDonnell's campaign for the Labour leadership had been extinguished. In the '60 Second Interview' in the 18 April edition of the Metro, she was asked who she supports for Labour leader and replied "Gordon without a second's hesitation".

Note to Trade Unions: You Can't Trust Nationalists

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 04/17/2007 - 15:32

Below is a press release from RMT revealing that the Scottish National Party (SNP) has dropped its previous policy in support of rail renationalisation after ... getting big bucks from private rail owners.

Stagecoach owner Brian souter is also a notorious homophobe, having bankrolled the unsuccessful campaign to keep Section 28 in Scotland. Does that mean we can look forward to the SNP dropping any pretence of supporting LGBT rights?

20 Years of the NUS Women's Officer post

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 04/14/2007 - 21:09

The National Union of Students Women's Campaign is celebrating 20 years since the establishment of the full-time elected Women's Officer post. One way it has marked the occasion is to ask all former NUS Women's Officers a couple of questions. As a former holder of that esteemed office (1990/2), here are my replies ...

1) The achievement I'm most proud of from my Women's Officer days

Women's TUC: Sweatshop Labour policy

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 11:06

The TUC has still not deemed to post on its website the resolutions passed at Women's Conference over a month ago. Instead, we get a decidedly unhelpful "no documents available".

I'm not going to do their job for them and post the whole lot, but I am posting the resolution on sweatshop labour, that was proposed by RMT, seconded by CWU, and passed unanimously.

=====

Sleep Deprivation

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 04/09/2007 - 19:58

Here at Jblog HQ, we are suffering from sleep deprivation, due to the announcements from our neighbouring railway station. Loud and lengthy announcements to the zero people on the platform would be comical if it weren't actually a breach of my peace.

Fortunately(?), one of our councillors is the Cabinet Member with responsibility for noise. So I've written to him - copied below. Mind you, I wrote to him about the same issue several months ago and nothing has changed. But if some mysterious person cuts the loudspeakers' wires in the middle of the night, it's not me, honest.

Catherine Tate Makes Kids Mistreat Teachers? Yeah, Whatever.

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 04/07/2007 - 19:55

A story has been doing the rounds over the last week that unruly kids are using quips from TV comedy shows to 'answer back' at teachers. "Am I bovvered?", "Whatev-ah!"

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers conducted a survey of teachers which gave media pundits the cue to blame TV comedy for 'bad behaviour' amongst school kids.

Nurseries Make Children Feral - Allegedly Janine Wed, 04/04/2007 - 15:48

Gender Equality Duty

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 16:01

Under new legislation, the Gender Equality Duty comes into force on 6th April (this Friday). It compels all public authorities to promote gender equality and eliminate sex discrimination. The theory goes that instead of depending on individuals making complaints about sex discrimination, the duty places the legal responsibility on public authorities to demonstrate that they treat men and women fairly.

Railworkers 4 McDonnell

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 03/25/2007 - 17:29

If you think it's been a bit quiet here on JBlog for the last few days, it's not just because of jetlag following my conference binge of the last few weeks.

It's also because my blogging attentions have been preoccupied elsewhere, namely at the Rail4John blog. Check it out for news, reports, publicity materials etc for railworkers (in any and all rail unions) supporting Mr. McDonnell's bid for the Labour leadership.

And if you have anything you think we should add, e-mail me.

Israel: Strike On, Strike Off

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 19:40

There I was, about to post the report (copied at the end) of a forthcoming general strike in Israel. But before I managed to do so, it's been called off.

Shame, cos I thought letting the England team in but not its fans was one of the most imaginative ways I've come across of giving yourself an unfair advantage in a football match.

=====

Israel gripped by general strike

Women's TUC: Lone Working, Single Parents, TUC Women's Committee election

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 03/17/2007 - 16:12

On the final morning, Community moved a resolution about single staffing in betting shops, concerned at threats and assaults against women working alone, and about employers not allowing women to leave work if a domestic emergency arose as the shop would have to close. Several supporting speakers outlined the dangers and stresses of lone working in their industries, including RMT delegate Ruth Strong (pictured).

International Women's Day: Past, Present, Future

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 17:53

March 8th each year is International Women’s Day. It is celebrated across the globe, and is a day for campaigners to draw attention to women’s continued second-class citizenship and need for equality. However, it is also celebrated by the very same governments and corporations that contribute to women’s unequal rights.

Here, I look at the roots of the Day in socialist and trade union action, and call for a revival of a Day of protest rather than complacency.

Trident: Taking The TUC Tops To Task

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 16:50

This morning, we were treated to an address by TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. There are various little things he said that I could pick on and slag off, but I won't, because it was the overall message that bugged me. Basically, after listing the Labour government's bountiful gifts to workers, Brendan told us at length about how oppressed and badly treated women workers are. The thing is, brother, we know that. What we want to know is: what are you doing about it?!

Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 16:45

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my efforts to get the TUC to organise an annual march for working-class women's rights around the time of International Women's Day each year. These efforts have proceeded along a road full of pitfalls, with the TUC bureaucracy taking an agreed policy for a national demonstration and smothering it into a small-scale rally held at this very conference. On Thursday afternoon I got up and had a go about the TUC's sabotage of the event.

Women's TUC: John McDonnell, Sexual Harassment, Sweatshops, Women's Representation and More

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 12:45

Thursday morning, down to the conference fresh and early, giving out John McDonnell's new women's manifesto and leaflets for the Labour Representation Committee fringe meeting at lunchtime. First business in conference was the NUT's resolution on Sexist Language, Sexist Bullying and Sexual Harassment. It was very ably seconded by RMT's Jackie Darby, who spelt out the range of sexist abuse that railway workers are subjected to in the course of duty.

Women Fight Back Against TUC Childcare Sell-Out

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 03/15/2007 - 20:38

The TUC General Council has sabotaged childcare provision at TUC events by two appalling decisions - one, to refuse a proposal to provide childcare outside formal conference hours to enable parents to attend fringe meetings, social events etc; two, to change its own previous practice and bar school-age kids from creches at TUC events during term time.

(Pic: TUC pamphlet, 'Who's Looking After the Children?'. Good question.)

Women's Conference was united in its condemnation of the first of these, but the second provided conference with its first big controversy.