Buzzfeed Newsroom Split as Axed Staff Lobby Former Colleagues to Unionise

Last week MediaGuido brought you the news that Buzzfeed bosses had failed in their legal bid to prevent their workforce from unionising. Here’s the latest…

Buzzfeed’s Oxford Circus office (one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in London and a bonkers extravagance given recent layoffs) has always been deeply divided on unionisation. Around half opposed proposals for a union chapel from the start. These are the managers, editors, grown ups and proper hacks who realise that Buzzfeed employees get a much cushier deal than if they were churning at MailOnline or the Indy. The pro-union half are more ideological, more millennial and more likely to come from the quiz and cat gifs section of the office. They thought collective bargaining would improve their (already generous) pay and hours and help them avoid the sack. How did that work out…

In the latest round of redundancies, many of those pushing for unionisation left the company. Guido is assured there was no conspiracy by bosses to axe the union troublemakers. Yet far from healing a newsroom that has been torn apart, their departures have caused fresh problems…

When the Central Arbitration Committee ruled last week that Buzzfeed staff could proceed with unionisation plans, only for key agitators like Kelly Oakes and Francis Whittaker to have moved on, it left a phantom chapel. A ballot of remaining staff is now likely to decide whether unionisation will go ahead. Here’s the kicker: an aggressive lobbying operation is underway to try to convince Buzzfeed staff to back the union – remarkably it is being carried out by axed employees who no longer work there. Are they interfering out of comradely spirit, or because they want to screw over their former employer? None of them want to explain to MediaGuido why they have been trying to get their former colleagues to man the barricades and fight the boss class.

It is going down like a cup of sick with those on the other side, who see it as a hostile external attempt to undermine newsroom democracy. After a year of dealing with divisiveness which undermined their work, many remaining Buzzfeed staff are just glad to have jobs and want this to go away. Buzzfeed bosses are learning the hard way the perils of hiring a load of millennial Corbynistas…

Corbynista Union Sock Puppet Who Compared May to Hitler Hijacks BBC Taylor Report Coverage

Corbynista trade union activists are still hijacking media coverage of the so-called gig economy months after Guido first highlighted the issue. Deliveroo rider Sergio Ramos appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme yesterday to talk about the Taylor Report and was captioned as a ‘Deliveroo worker’. Ramos was part of the far-left Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) case against Deliveroo, which the union lost. The driver is a member of Corbynista fan groups and has compared Theresa May to Hitler on social media, as well as posting pics of her in a straight-jacket. 

He has also previously been given quotes to BuzzFeed and the Guardianneither of which mentioned his union links. The union approvingly tweeted out his appearance on the show. This isn’t the first time this has happened over the Beeb’s coverage of the Taylor Report…

UPDATE: Victoria Derbyshire gets in touch to point out that a reference was made on air to the individual being a “union member.”

Buzzfeed Fails In Legal Bid to Prevent Employees From Unionising

Breaking media news from the Central Arbitration Committee: Buzzfeed has failed in its bid to prevent its employees from forming a union chapel. Buzzfeed management hired pricey lawyers from Matrix Chambers to essentially argue that they had laid off so many staff that the number supporting collective bargaining had fallen below the 50% threshold. Buzzfeed staff reading today’s judgement will be left wondering if bosses fired pro-unionisation employees to prevent them from forming a chapel…

The Employer stated that the restructuring process was completed today and as of the close of business a total of 22 people within the company had left BuzzFeed. The Employer believed that a number of those who left the business after requesting voluntary redundancy, were members of the Union. The Employer further stating that “this fundamental change to the proposed bargaining unit may have a significant impact on the density of union members and support within the proposed bargaining unit for recognition.”

Two Buzzfeed journalists – Kelly Oakes and Francis Whittaker – gave evidence on behalf of the union. Both were then let go…

The committee came to a decision today that the threshold favouring recognition had been met and so the application for collective bargaining to be recognised should proceed. Buzzfeed spent big bucks trying to stop this from happening, and failed…

Red Robbo Dead

Infamous trade unionist Derek ‘Red Robbo’ Robinson died yesterday, aged 90. Red Robbo was one of the best-known trade unionists of the 70s, and was involved in around 500 disputes at British Leyland’s Longbridge works. Guido would have said that after Thatcher we’d never see his like again. If Corbyn gets in however…

Police Consider Action Against Scandal-Hit Lavery

Police are poised to investigate scandal-hit Labour chairman Ian Lavery after he received £165,000 from a 10 member trade union which he ran before becoming an MP. A Newsnight investigation broadcast earlier this month found the socialist hardliner enriched himself via mortgage transactions over the 18 year period when he was General Secretary of the NUM Northumberland Area. The revelations followed an earlier investigation by the Sunday Times’ James Lyons who exposed how Lavery benefited from a miners’ benevolent fund. A report by trade unions regulator the Certification Office raised questions over a string of mortgage transactions and a “severance payment” of nearly £90,000…

A Northumbria Police spokesman said:

 “Northumbria Police had previously received a complaint which was recorded and put on hold to allow an investigation by the Certification Office. Following the outcome of this investigation Northumbria will review the findings of the Certification Office’s report, which has now been received to establish if any further action is required by the force.”

A spokesman for Ian Lavery said he was “unaware of any police investigation”. Another Labour MP to lose the whip? Or will Jez keep his mate on…

Corbyn Stands By Disgraced Lavery

Labour Party chairman and top Corbynista Ian Lavery is one of the biggest wrong ‘uns in Westminster. If there was any natural justice in Labour they would have sacked him when the Sunday Times’ James Lyons exposed how he shamelessly benefited from a miners’ benevolent fund. Last night Newsnight’s John Sweeney had more: Lavery received £165,000 from a 10 member trade union which he ran before becoming an MP. Their investigation finds the disgraced socialist hardliner enriched himself via mortgage transactions over the 18 year period when he was General Secretary of the NUM Northumberland Area. He also took a huge redundancy package before his election in 2010. Trade unions regulator the Certification Office found:

  • 1994: The Northumberland Provident and Benevolent fund lends Lavery £72,500 to buy a house. In 2007 the union forgave the loan, leaving Lavery £72,500 richer…
  • Lavery also kept £18,000 from an endowment fund associated with the mortgage;
  • 2005: Lavery sells 15% of his house to the union for £36,000. By 2014 the value of the house had fallen. He bought the stake back from the union for £27,500. A notional profit of £8,500…
  • 2010: On stepping down from the NUM Northumberland Area, Lavery receives “termination payments” totalling £89,887.83. Quite some termination package…

As Sweeney reports:

“The regulator says that neither Mr Lavery nor the union could provide documentary evidence of the process or the decision by which Mr Lavery was made redundant – or why, given he was leaving for a job as an MP, he needed any redundancy payments at all.”

In total Lavery stands accused of creaming off £165,000 from the union. Lavery is inside Corbyn’s inner circle. It makes a mockery of everything Jez claims to stand for that he has kept his broacialist brother in the tent despite a scandal which should have ended his career several times over. Indeed the Leader’s Office has given him a raft of promotions along the way. Is there anything Ian Lavery could do that would convince Corbyn to sack him?

Corbyn Suggests He Backs Illegal Strikes

Think that was 10 times Corbyn refuses to answer if he supports illegal strikes. A frustrated Marr responds: “What’s happened to Jeremy Corbyn that you can’t answer my questions?”

UPDATE: If anything Corbyn suggested he does back illegal strikes:

Khan Chooses Union Backers Over 3.5 Million Londoners

Faced with the choice between 3.5 million Londoners and his taxi union backers, Sadiq chose the unions. Khan promised he would not be a mayor for vested interests, well he has just hit Londoners in the pocket to please his GMB union backers who have been running the campaign against Uber. And he has delighted his militant LTDA union chum Steve Macnamara:

Londoners seeing first hand what a Labour mayor in hoc to the unions does for them…

Unite Hired Vicki ‘Hitler is Zionist God’ Kirby

A former Labour parliamentary candidate who was twice suspended from the party for anti-Semitic comments is now working for Unite as a regional officer. Guido can reveal that Vicki Kirby has been hired by Len McCluskey’s trade union despite her notorious history of anti-Semitic statements. In 2014 Kirby was ditched as a Labour PPC after a string of disturbing tweets where she suggested Hitler is the “Zionist God”:

Kirby was Vice Chair of Woking Labour Party, and refused to step down even as she was reported to the police by a fellow party official. She was suspended for a second time following another Guido story

Now Kirby is understood to be working for Unite, based in the union’s South East regional office. Kirby was contacted multiple times and put the phone down on Guido when we attempted to speak to her.  A Unite spokesman said: “We do not comment on staffing matters.” Remarkable that Unite won’t comment on this woman being on their payroll…

UPDATE: Guido understands Kirby has now left Unite. A Unite spokesman said: “While do not comment on staffing matters as a matter of course, Vicki Kirby is not employed by Unite.”

Unite Advertising “Self-Employed” Branch Manager Job

Given Jeremy Corbyn’s proclamations on workers’ rights at PMQs, Guido is intrigued by this new job advert from his Unite paymasters. The union are hiring branch organisers to work out of their offices in North London. Though rather than giving their employees contracts, Unite are offering the jobs only on “self-employed” terms. That means no national insurance contributions, pension, sick pay or holiday pay. Isn’t this the sort of “bogus self-employment” Corbyn and Unite campaign against? So much for looking after their union brothers…

Gun-Wielding RMT Union Boss Backs “Militants” to Take Out Blairite “C***s”

Readers will remember RMT union boss Steve Hedley, a Corbynista who ignored the kinder, gentler mantra to call fellow Labour members “careerist little sh*ts” and “right wing traitors”. Hedley had to serve a suspension from the Labour Party, though they let him back in earlier this year. Seems he has not learned his lesson. Agreeing with a Facebook friend’s complaint that the Scottish Labour Party is full of “Brownite and Blairite c***s who can’t wait to drive the knife in JC’s back”, Hedley called for “working class militants” to “clean house”.

The RMT is set to re-affiliate to the Labour Party since they love Jezza so much. Steve Hedley is the RMT’s assistant general secretary and a Labour Party member. Keeping the compliance unit busy…

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Interesting picture of Steve Hedley on today’s blog. He might think he’s holding a Russian AK 47, to go with his Red Army hat – when in fact he’s holding a WW2 STG 44 ’Sturmgewehr’ – a (Nazi) German assault rifle. Do you think he knows, or is he really trying to tell us something?

Taylor Report Coverage Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets

Coverage of this morning’s Taylor review of the gig economy was hijacked by Corbynista trade union activists, Guido can reveal. Sky News and the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme interviewed two Deliveroo riders, each of whom were presented as representative of ordinary workers, but are in fact hard-left organisers for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). Meanwhile, Wired ran a piece headlined “a courier’s view” written by another IWGB organiser. The union supported Corbyn’s leadership bid, and both Corbyn and McDonnell has spoken on IWGB demos. Like the wheel of a Deliveroo bicycle, all the contributors did was spin…

The rider featured in Wired, Guy McClenahan, refers to himself on social media as a “communist“. He branded Conservative voters “c****” and suggested Theresa May wants to hunt poor people with dogs. Wired neglect to provide this context…

Ben Geraghty, captioned on Sky as a “Deliveroo driver“, has been referred to by the IWGB as “one of our key activists“. He has been supported by the highly controversial anarchist Class War group who smashed up a Shoreditch cafe in response to the “gentrification” of the area. No mention of that in the Sky interview…

Megan Brown, captioned on Victoria Derbyshire as “courier for food delivery company” is in fact the IWGB courier branch chair. Buzzfeed reported that she took Deliveroo to court. She’s also given quotes about her work with the union to the Telegraph. The only thing these couriers deliver is their union’s lines…

Coyne Investigation Led by Corbyn’s Commie Chum

Gerard Coyne, who challenged Len McCluskey for the leadership of Unite, has been sacked from his job as a regional organiser for the union. A kangaroo court led by McCluskey and Corbyn’s communist ally Andrew Murray – who now works for Jez – dismissed Coyne on trumped up charges. The election returning officer from Electoral Reform Services – the independent organisation which conducted the poll – had already ruled that there was no breach of the rules. Coyne said in a statement:

“The disciplinary hearing was nothing more than a show trial and the irony not lost on me that Mr McCluskey’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray – a self-confessed admirer of Joseph Stalin – was the investigator and decision maker on the charge I was dismissed for. It is beyond parody that I, as a 30-year member of the Labour Party, should be accused of harming Unite-Labour relations by Mr Murray, a member of the Communist Party for 40 years. It is a public warning to any member of Unite’s staff who is thinking of challenging the way the McCluskey gang run the union: ‘step out of line, and you will be out of a job’. Political dissent is not tolerated inside Unite.”

Coyne says he will appeal. He should complain to his union…

Len’s Aide Handed Safe Labour Seat

Len McCluskey’s bag-carrier Dan Carden has been selected as the Labour Party candidate in Liverpool Walton. You’re either in front of Guido… as we reported two weeks ago, Len had been trying to stitch the seat up for his aide…

Len Tries to Stitch Up Liverpool Walton For His Bag-Carrier

A Labour HQ source says Len McCuskey’s bag-carrier Dan Carden is trying to secure the selection in Steve Rotheram’s soon to be vacated seat of Liverpool Walton. Unite are trying to use their sway on Labour’s NEC to have Carden imposed as the candidate – remember all Labour selections are dictated centrally by the NEC. Other Labour candidates battling Carden for the seat include Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and Angela Eagle’s former aide Dan Hughes, who somewhat bizarrely also worked on Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Carden is a true believer, on the loony wing of the loony left…

Len and Seumas’ Champagne Celebration

Allies of Len McCluskey mocked Gerard Coyne and Labour Blairites earlier by claiming they would be drowning their sorrows with “Peroni and chablis”. Well, tonight Red Len is drinking champagne at a victory party with Seumas Milne and a who’s who of lefties at Boot and Flogger by London Bridge. A bar in the heart of the City, famous for serving champagne in tankards…

UPDATE: The cheapest bottle of champagne at Len’s victory party is £51. The group have got through 20+ bottles of bubbly as of 8:52pm.

Pro-Len Unite Insider Sending Anti-Semitic Tweets to Coyne

Well this is certainly a curious one. An anonymous Twitter account going by the name “Union bloke” has been sending Red Len’s rival Gerard Coyne a slew of anti-Semitic tweets. You might think anonymous anti-Semitic abuse is part and parcel of hard-left politics, yet there is something different about “Union bloke”. Other tweets from the account include internal union documents which Unite sources say would only be available to serving, high-ranking officials in the union. A Unite source tells Guido:

@1UnionBloke is internally believed to be a senior official in the Unite union. He has also tweeted details of the location of Gerard’s home, including a picture, which is particularly sinister.

Screenshots taken before the account was deleted also reveal it was followed by senior Unite officials and activists including Len McCluskey’s baby momma Jennie Formby. It would appear that someone relatively senior in Unite is sending racist abuse to opponents of Red Len…

You Pay £15 Million For Local Trade Union Pilgrims

Millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded subsidies are still being dished out to trade union ‘Pilgrims’ across the country, a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance has found. Despite promises by the government to clamp down on so-called ‘facility time’, there remain 371 local authority staff members who spend more than half their time working for trade unions, while being paid by the taxpayer. The cost of facility time (paid time-off taken by trade union representatives to carry out union duties) was at least £14,648,030 since 2012. Nearly a third of those local authorities analysed did not publish the data on their involvement with unions, thereby breaking the law.

The map of local authority Pilgrims waste extends across Britain:

  • The worst offenders nationally are Birmingham City Council with £1,124,924 and Leeds City Council with £502,095;
  • In the North East, Sunderland – £258,697;
  • In the North West, Bolton – £390,481;
  • In Scotland, City of Edinburgh – £244,576;
  • In the East Midlands, Leicester City Council – £494,544;
  • In the South West, Bristol City Council – £134,931;
  • In the East of England, Suffolk County Council – £189,741;
  • In London, Lambeth Borough Council – £281,000;
  • In the South East, Brighton and Hove City Council – £262,016.

Alex Wild, Research Director of the TPA, said:

“Trade unions are voluntary bodies of members and so should only receive the support of those members, not taxpayers. A huge amount continues to fund union duties, often without the express knowledge or consent of taxpayers, which simply isn’t right.”
David Cameron’s government began the process of dealing with Pilgrims, time for Theresa May to see it through…

Corbyn Spent Two Hours on By-Election Day Addressing Small Crowd in Islington

The Sun‘s pics of Jeremy Corbyn having a snooze on Friday and his non-appearance at PLP yesterday have got Labour types talking about their leader’s work ethic. The rumour that Jez takes Monday off in lieu when he appears on Sunday morning TV persists. The photos above add to the narrative that the 67 year-old has been taking it easy.

On Thursday morning last week, by-election day, rather than travel up to Stoke or Copeland, he prioritised a small crowd of trade unionists at a Unison branch event in Islington. Guido’s source in the room says Corbyn was there for around two hours between 10 a.m. and midday, and there were only about 30 people present. While his colleagues made gruelling cross-country trips to get out the vote…

Corbyn Campaign Manager Flies Red Flag on Tube Strike Picket

Guido spies Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign director Sam Tarry flying the red flag on the Tube strike picket line at London Bridge station this morning. Tarry, who ran Corbyn’s re-election campaign in the summer, is the national officer of the militant TSSA union.[…] Read the rest

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