Saturday, 13 February 2010

What do you expect?


We all know that trade union repression and intimidation knows no bounds, but the contradictions of state-led inteference in our legitimate role as trade unionists often throws up even greater acts of lunacy.

A colleague at the Korean Federation of Trade Unions drew my attention, via their national campaign against state hampering of union activity in the public sector, of the recent specific case of four teachers, activists with the Korean Teachers' & Education Worker's Union being fined for cooked -up charges of political interference. See the story at:

The judge obviously saw no contradiction in making the statement below and the essential role of teachers to inform pupils of social, economic and political developments in their own country:

“Teachers having political opinions as individuals should be respected, but they are in a special position in society and collectively they must remain neutral, as making political statements to influence society could damage public order and legal peace"

My immediate reaction on reading my colleague's e-mail and seeing the news article was, essentially, what do you expect of teachers, even within the Korean constitutional framework who attempt simply to follow professional guidelines in carrying out their role.

Any examples of similar bureaucratic infringements of the rights and activities of trade unionists is welcome.




Peter said...


If the Tories win the next general election a real concern is their plans to scale back on the rights to facility time. I see the link here with what you are saying in the fact that many employers enjoy the actual benefit of trade union representatives resolving workplace issues that could, in the worst case scenario lead to some form of legal punishment. The amount of times I have helped my employer out on H&S matters is so many I can't remember. Everything from risk assessment to accident reporting. In truth I have on occasion compromnised my trade union role by helping my employer to cover up their obvious H&S faults - but only beacuse it helps members out in the long run. I shudder to think where the company would be without the trade union input that has helped to 'safeguard' jobs in more ways than one.

Let's hope for all our sakes that the Tories don't get in. But let's also hope that New Labour isn't allows to use the financial crisis to continue to run down the HSE.


Ian Manborde said...

Thanks Pete,

Couldn't agree more. In fact, you must send me an e-mail for a copy of a highly detailed analysis of the way in which Tory employment policy has been 'reformed' under Cameron and what, at least as much as we can tell pre-election, their/his plans are for the trade union movement.

It doesn't look good as you say. Clearly, the writing is on the wall in terms of industrial action in the emergency services. This will prompt a battle royal as I can't see these workers ,quite rightly, giving up their right to strike easily.

The Tories also threaten to meddle in the business of recognition balloting. The great tragedy of what they propose is that they suggest a form of 'democracy' in recognition ballots that the Tories have no plans whatsover to adopt for Parliament. Double standards - you bet your life!

Send me the e-mail brother.



ShopSteward85 said...

All very interesting this. Can I have a copy of the article you mentioned please?

Knowing of your interest in trade union education.

Do you know if it mentions

- Public funding for trade union education
- International development project funding


Ian Manborde said...

No Problem, please let me have your e-mail.

Yes, the article does mention the potential future of initiatives like these.

It also refers to the interesting overtures that the TUC have been making to the Tories.

Once you get the article please let me have your assessment of what it says and how far from/close to the mark you think it is.



Jas said...


Looking at the joint statement this week by the TUC and IDS a clear issue will be pay policy, particularly in the public sector.

The difficulty for New Labour, in government or opposition, after the election is that they followed a largely neo-liberal line with pay bargaining and essentially mirrored a lot of Tory policy - particularly in cutting right into the bone of frontline public sector staff just to prove that they too hated 'red tape' and 'inefficiencies'.


ToadBoy said...

The best way forward for us all is to get stuck into a long fight against a government we know we hate. For too long New Labour has overseen an accommodation with organised labour that has not been an honest assessment of the trajectory of either wings of what was once the 'labour movement'.

We are now split, lets be honest, are our needs and interests are different.

Bring on the Tories!

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