Given the recession has financially crippled thousands of small businesses and seen pay freezes and cuts across the public sector, two people didn’t do too badly during the crisis. The outgoing Unite co-General Secretaries Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson will leave their jobs in charge of the super-union very rich men. Derek Simpson was on £196,497 if you add up car, salary, and perks etc. Poor Tony Woodley only managed to squeeze £135,330 a year out of the worker’s membership subs. Since 2007 they have seen a eye-watering 56% and 62% pay-rises respectfully, unheard of in the real world. Given that the average salary in the UK is somewhere around £25,000, the union-fat cat copy writes itself.
The newly elected Len “there is no such thing as an irresponsible strike” McCluskey is a Che loving militant-hardliner, who wears his man of the people credentials on his sleeve. If Ed Miliband wants to distance himself from the union that gave him his job he might have a bit of a challenge with this one, McCluskey was a big player in the BA strikes.
The real question though is will “Red Len” take a massive pay-cut before he mans the barricades and leads the charge?
Portcullis House parliamentary offices are highly prized. They are light, spacious and luxurious. Only twqo floors are currently allocated to the Labour Party and unsurprisingly, all but a small handful are allocated to ex-ministers and very senior backbenchers. But what’s this? Extraordinarily, one or two first time MPs are so highly favoured that they are already ensconced within the hallowed portals that lesser lobby-fodder plot and plead for years to achieve. What possible influence could have been brought to bear that Jack Dromey has been catapulted into the Valhalla of ex-Cabinet Ministers within a mere six weeks of arriving in the House? Answers consistent with trade union & Labour Party values in the comments please…
British Airways have reported a staggering £531 million loss this morning. Grounded by volcanoes and union thugs, things aren’t going too well for the old flag carrier. Add all that to the £400 odd million loss last year. Whelan and co at Unite the Union are still determined to push things further.
Despite being paid way above the industry average, BA cabin crew, fired up by Derek Simpson and Tony Woodly’s egos, are set for a crippling fifteen days of strike action. Though BA apparently have some £1.7 billion in the bank, they are set to be hit by a further £100 million loss from the ash and the industrial dispute looks like it will rattle on. You would be mad to book a BA flight in advance this summer – Will Unite be happy when they bring the company to its knees and end up far from well paid, but in fact at the back of the dole queue?
Charlie Whelan might soon regret his decision to sue the Speccie over Fraser Nelson’s claim that he is an abusive, smearing bully.
In tomorrow’s edition, Fraser details how, while collecting evidence for the magazine’s defence, he was able to get hold of documents previously kept hidden under a gagging clause. The legal papers detailed how Unite has had to buy off and gag former employees in order to settle bullying cases against Gordon’s deeply unpleasant union henchman.
Charlie’s responded on Twitter, saying the Speccie “can’t even copy out newspaper cuts accurately“. However the evidence isn’t from the newspaper, Charlie. It’s from legal statements unearthed by your own libel case.
Fraser’s write-up also builds up a picture of the vicious, shadowy power-base that has kept Gordon and his heir presumptive, Balls, hanging onto power so long. Don’t forget Whelan was also copied in on all those Smeargate emails sent a year ago. With Balls saying only this morning that he’s still in touch with his old mate McPoison “from time to time” (contradicting what he said repeatedly straight after the scandal about “Mr McBride”), it’s clear the bullying, smearing Brownite grip on Labour is as strong as ever. Guido can’t wait for the inevitable post-election bust-up.
George Osborne gave the CCHQ boys and girls a pep-talk yesterday in which he asked them if they could perhaps, maybe, please, “work harder”, and it seems to have paid off. Today’s attack on Unite has played out better than any recent engagements with the Labour.
Clearly done at short notice their ”Charlie Whelan’s New Militant Tendency” dossier on the back of the BA strike is a comprehensive slamming of the choke-hold union money and officials once again have over the Labour Party. It says a lot about how far the Tories have really “changed” given their most proficient act this year has been old fashioned union-bashing.
Like the Ashcroft situation, Labour’s return to reliance on union cash was a ticking bomb. New Labour was built around keeping the unions at arm’s length, yet the leader of the financially stricken Labour Party has to sink to quiet mumbles on Woman’s Hour when he is forced to criticise them. Unite seem to have finally come to the conclusion the rest of the world reached long ago, that Gordon isn’t going to be around and they are willing to kick him while he is down with the timing of this strike. The unions are energised at the prospect of a Tory government and they mean business, with their £25 million war-chest, the only thing Unite will get out of this election is the chance to fill the green benches with their loyal stewards.
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Jeremy Paxman explained the internet to Newsnight viewers last night:
“as we all know one of the main roles of the internet is to facilitate masturbation”.