John McDonnell’s Letter To The Guardian Re: RMT Ballot

The media treatment of RMT and Bob Crow over the last 48 hours over the Network Rail strike ballot has been the worst example of a concerted campaign of media bias against a trade union that we have seen since the 1980s miners’ strike. John Humphrys’s interview of Bob Crow, with his references to ballot-rigging, and the BBC’s subsequent headline of “RMT’s Bob Crow denies ballot rigging”, was that disgusting classic of the old hack lawyer’s tactic of asking the defendant: “When did you stop beating your wife?”

Even the Guardian’s editorial (2 March) ignorantly weighed in with “No union that conducts its ballots properly according to the reasonable requirements of the law … would be in danger of being injuncted.” This reference to “reasonable requirements of the law” is patent rubbish. To hold a ballot the union must construct and supply the employer with a detailed and complex matrix of information setting out which members it is balloting, their job titles, grades, departments and work locations. The employer is under no obligation to co-operate with the union to ensure this is accurate. If there is the slightest inaccuracy, even where it did not affect the result, the ballot is open to being challenged by the employer and quashed by the courts.

There can be no question of the union ballot-rigging or interfering in the balloting process because it is undertaken by an independent scrutineer, usually the Electoral Reform Society, and all ballot papers are sent by post to the homes of the members being balloted, and returned to the ERS for counting. The union at no time handles the ballot papers.

On at least four occasions in the last three years I have tried in parliament on behalf of RMT and other TUC-affiliated unions to amend employment law to require employers to co-operate with unions in the balloting process so these problems can be overcome. Employers’ organisations, the Conservatives and the government have all opposed this reform.

The result is not fewer strikes but a deteriorating industrial relations climate as people become increasingly angry that their democratic wishes are frustrated by one-sided anti-trade-union laws.

John McDonnell MP

Also see SU

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CWU Picket Lines For Thursday

Listed here (ht2 Harpy).

Vestas Needs You!

An eviction notice has been served on the occupation at Vestas IoW. The eviction is due to take place tomorrow, Friday 7 August, at 12 noon.

Please get to the Island if you can. The workers want support tomorrow. There is a minibus leaving London tonight. Email us if you want to be on it and we will forward your number to the driver. If anyone else can drive or offer transport, please let us know. We can post details on the blog or put you in touch with people seeking transport.

If you can’t go, please organise a protest in your town or join one of those already planned. Protests we know about are
– tonight, 6pm outside Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London
– tonight Bristol: demonstrate 5.30pm Bristol fountain
– tonight Manchester/ tomorrow Warrington: demonstrate 5pm in Piccadilly Gardens and protest at 8am tomorrow morning at Vestas HQ in Warrington, tel Hugh 07769 611320

Let us know if you are organising something and we can advertise it.

Please contact Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband now. ps.ed.miliband@decc.gsi.gov.uk and tell him to step in to save wind turbine blade production at Vestas, IoW, for the sake of renewable energy, green jobs and his credibility as a politician. His phone number in his Doncaster constituency is 01302 875 462, and at Westminster, 020 7219 4778. And on Twitter http://twitter.com/edmilibandMP

More @ savevestas.wordpress.com

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Save Vestas

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Vestas!!! Stand For Their Jobs & Earth

As many others are reporting the UK’s only wind turbine factory was going to close, yep that’s right even as NL release their Green strategy they were allowing the only place that makes wind turbines to be closed by profit before all else capitalists. So the workers on the Isle of Wight (really!) have done the right thing and occupied the factory!

Send messages of support to:Savevestas@googlemail.com

The Vestas Fighting Fund: Cheques Payable to ‘Ryde and East Wight Trades Union’

Send Cheques to:
22 Church Lane
Ryde
Isle of Wight
PO33 2NB

And via Harpymarx

Martin Empson via Derek Wall:- Save Vestas – Defend Jobs, Save the Planet – Support the Occupation

Workers at the Vestas Wind Turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have JUST NOW occupied their factory. They are fighting for 600 jobs and the future of the planet. They need help now.

PLEASE TEXT AND CALL EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

There is a large picket of support starting outside the factory. This will be crucial in giving people confidence inside. We want hundreds of people by morning.
If you are not working, come now, by car, bus or train.
If you are on the South Coast and working, come for the night and go to work exhausted and proud.

If you can’t come, call up friends and offer to pay the fare or petrol money for someone else to come down. Or part of the fare.
Don’t just call the environmental and union activists you know. Call your friends and ask them who they know. Call your brother’s friends or your children’s friends. Text everyone. Get your friends calling and texting.

WE WANT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE NOW.
SAVE THE JOBS – SAVE THE PLANET.

The workers want Gordon Brown to step in as if it was a troubled bank and save the jobs and keep making wind turbine blades. They gave the bankers trillions. They say they care about climate change. He has talked about creating 40,000 “Green Jobs”, the first step should be protecting these 600.

The workers will need solidarity – donations of money, food and other assistance. In the first instance please send messages of solidarity to savevestas@gmail.com

We will suggest other forms of solidarity soon. Do this now. Reach for your phone


Want Something To Do Tuesday Afternoon In London Town?

EMERGENCY PICKET AGAINST COUP IN HONDURAS! TUESDAY 30 JUNE, 5PM, HONDURAS EMBASSY, 115 GLOUCESTER PLACE1) EMERGENCY PICKET AGAINST COUP IN HONDURAS! – PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELYTuesday 30 June, 5pmat the Honduras Embassy, 115 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 6JT.An emergency picket has been called outside the Honduran Embassy in response to yesterday’s coup against Honduras’ progressive elected president (see VSC statement and further information below.) Please come and show your support for social progress and democracy in Latin America.· For more information contact info@venezuelasolidarity.co.uk. Called by Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (formerly VIC), and supported by Unite London and Eastern Region.

And/or-

Lobby the Home Office, Tuesday 30th June, 5.30-6.30pm
2 marsham st, millbank, Sw1

Staff and students at SOAS are calling for Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office, to grant leave to remain with permission to work for Marina Silva and Rosa dePerez, two of the SOAS cleaners picked up in a brutal immigration raid on 12th June. Marina, who is 63 and has applied for asylum, following het brutal honour killing of her husband and threats to her own life, and Rosa, who has four children to support in Nicaragua, remain in detention following the raid. Their colleagues, including six months pregnant Luzia, were deported within 48 hours of the raid.

Cleaners at SOAS had demanded and organised for dignity at work with many joining a union. They had succeeded in winning union recognition from the privatised cleaning firm ISS and raising their pay to the London Living Wage—higher than other colleges in the area. It is of grave concern that the raid, organised by ISS, took place shortly after this campaign and on the very day on which UNISON was due to protest in support of an activist who had played a leading role in organising the cleaners at SOAS.

Please support our campaign:

Lobby the Home Office, Tuesday 30th June, 5.30-6.30pm
2 marsham st, millbank, Sw1

Bring banners and props.

Sign the letter requesting leave to remain is granted to Marina and Rosa
http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/2009/06/send-this-letter-to-home-office-now.html

For more information go to: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/

Stop the Deportation of SOAS University Cleaners!

Supported by SOAS SU, UNISON and UCU

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SOAS 9 Cleaners

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