Friday, 27 August 2010

UnionBook 2.0 Launched


Our friends at LabourStart have worked hard on improving the glitches and problems in the first version of UnionBook and are proud to announce the launch of UnionBook 2.0.

I have copied and pasted below a text from Eric Lee on Wednesday. Please visit the new site, register, and this this facility, not FaceBook, for all of your online networking, particularly that which is TU related. Thanks. Ian

The current version of UnionBook - the social network for trade unionists established in late 2008 - is costly, clunky and ineffective. It's been buggy and very hard to fix.
At the LabourStart conference in Canada last month we talked about ways to improve it.

Today I'm proud to anounce the launch of
UnionBook 2.0.

The features available are better than what we currently offer. It is much easier to fix, configure and add things to. It also looks a lot better.

But we need to test it in practice, to see if we can get a Facebook-like experience for UnionBook.

Please sign up for an account today
here and then take the new UnionBook out for a test drive:

post your photos, videos and music
join existing groups and create new ones
add comments to other people's content
add events to our online labour calendar
post entries to your blog
update your status
make friends
use the online chat to talk with other trade unionists online
invite friends and fellow union members to sign up too
send us your questions, comments, and suggestions - use the special group called "
UnionBook Help and Support Network" to do so

In joining the new UnionBook, you'll be helping us create a powerful tool, an online global community of trade unionists. And I hope you'll also have fun doing so.

Thanks very much!

Eric Lee

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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Protecting Jobs from 'Flexibility'


I have today submitted, with my colleague Judith Jackson at the GFTU, a proposal to fund a multilateral European project that seeks to encourage trade unions and employers to increase their use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) as a measure to, amongst other elements, safeguard jobs in the context of the global economic downturn.

For those interested in ADR I would strongly encourage you to review the definitive range of resources available at the wed-sites of the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working Lives (Eurofound). You can reach both (as well as the sites monitoring European trends on workplace restructuring and employment conditions) at:

In preparing the submission, and scanning the European industrial relations horizon, its clear that we are in the midst of intense reform of employment and labour market practices that indicate a critical impact on the functioning of trade unionism on all strategic fronts.

In the UK in particular the zeal to dismantle workplace and employment safeguards provides a useful snapshot of wider European policy (not least in the guise of 'flexicurity). Whilst it is clear that trade unions seek to safeguard employment, as in the successful outcome of the BAA talks at ACAS this week, the degree to which bodies like the CBI and IoD seek dislodge employment security, under the guise of employer flexibility, should start to ring alarm bells for workers in all sectors and most workplaces.

In one of many similar demands the CBI is demanding that industrial action ballots and redundancy notification periods are drastically changed in such a way that workers' attempts to respond via industrial action to potentially job losses is reduced to such a degree that it challenges basic notions of social justice:

Clearly the coalition government favours these clamours, not least as a way to bulldozer through mass job loss in the public sector with little real threat of industrial action as an impediment to their neo-liberal agenda.

With even bodies like the CIPD however suggesting that too rapid a scale of reform increasing the likelihood of workplace unrest and industrial action, it is no surprise then that ADR is seen as a way to address European workplace restructuring that is taking place as a direct result of the global economic downturn. The worry however, in the context of the UK at least, is that models of ADR from across the EU rest on relatively neutral state inteference in the employment relationship - not so in the UK.

So, as employer's organisations continue to demand legal reforms that diminish the workplace bargaining status of trade unions on what practical basis can trade unions respond - particularly if the status and legitimacy of trade unionism finds no favour with the current government?

I welcome your contributions.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Won in 60 Seconds


Am now back, and partially refreshed, from a fantastic break in France.

Whilst ploughing my way through the huge pile of e-mails that have stacked up whilst I was away I have found a shameless plug from a UNISON colleague to vote for his region's video entry into this year's TUC 60 second video competition.

Is 60 seconds of video format enough to win over new union members?

You be the judge (literally) and have a look at the entries:

Any thoughts/comments on the quality/impact/etc. of the submissions will be welcome.