Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bread & Milk at the Commonwealth Games


As the preparations for the start of the Commonwealth Games in India continue to unravel what is exposed is the truly shocking exploitation of children as part of construction projects.

The image on the left is evidence of the children of labourers on the construction projects working to clear rubble etc., and thereafter being 'paid' with bread, milk and possibly lunch from the the project's contractor. The Indian government wanted to exploit the games as a showcase for Indian's increasing modernity, it reveals instead a casual, wholesale, alternative form of exploitation altogether.

You can see other images from the construction of the infrastructure for the Games at:

A boycott of the games is being called, but is being opposed in many quarters, the issue of child labour being one of the issues.

Your view?



Saturday, 11 September 2010

There is Power in A Union


Any self-respecting trade unionist knows at least of one song, poem, picture or general image that personifies the will and spirit of trade unionism.

For many, as for me, the song is The Ballad of Joe Hill. I've just recently been sorting/updating my collection of labour movement songs and was reminded of a great archive of labour songs that is maintained under the website of Labor Notes:

Whilst on the issue of cultural aspects of labour history, can I also suggest that you sign up for e-mail alerts from the Working Class Movement Library? Apart from being a world class labour movement resource, the WCML host a monthly series of talks, exhibitions, musicians etc. Although I can't always make the events I like to at least follow the range of artists that they are profiling:



Friday, 3 September 2010

Lies, Damned Lies & The Taxpayers' Alliance


On Sunday (5th Sep) the right-wing, Conservative-party linked Tax Payers' Alliance, will push further on their assault of the UK trade union movement with a claim that trade union facility time in the public waste is contributing to the 'waste' that has led to the government's public sector spending deficit.

Whilst we know that the vital work of trade unions is pivotal in driving up standards, reducing costs, saving lives etc., the TPA continue to get a favourable press, not least in the right-wing media

This bunch of malcontents and zealots do not represent the interests of UK taxpayers (and certainly not the 6 million+ trade union member tax payers) but have already set out their anti-trade union stall with a recent 'research note' attacking the pay of general secretaries:

Whilst the salary and benefits of some general secretaries are indefensible the TPA are engaging in a targeted, strategic campaign that trade unions will need to rebut in a systematic, rigorous manner.

Plenty of research exists which definitively establishes the 'business case' for trade unionism, the difficulty will be turning this into something that the public will listen to in the same way they do the distortion and dissembling of the TPA.

I'd welcome feedback on how trade unions can demonstrate their workplace 'value' and also how this can be translated into a message that will appeal to the public.