Where costs are king scant concern is given to the impact on rural life

The Government’s consultation on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board ends today. Diana Holland, Unite Assistant General Secretary, explains what’s at stake:

What is this government’s problem with the countryside? It tried and failed to sell off the forests and kill off badgers. It’s thrashing around as historic ash trees die.


They don’t like humans much either. In only days’ time, protections for agricultural workers could be swept away. Some 154,000 workers face wage cuts and housing insecurity. The rules that prevent the fields filling with child workers will go.


The Agricultural Wages Board and its attendant protections regarding housing for rural workers have existed since 1947, but their roots go back to 1917 when government understood that the labour force was essential for food security.


For 100 years this consensus has stood. But in a short time this historic consensus will be destroyed. Read More…

Agency legislation hasn’t decreased demand for workers, but needs enforcement

A Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) survey has shown that the introduction of Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) in October 2011 has not fundamentally altered the demand for temporary labour. The survey posed a question that specifically quizzed employers about their assessment of the impact the AWR has had one year on. The results revealed that:


• 44 percent agreed with the statement that “the regulations have had less impact than we feared”
• 47 percent said the regulations have had some impact, but have not fundamentally changed the way they use agency staff
• 3 percent answered that the regulations have had a significant impact on their use of agency staff
• 2 percent said that the regulations have meant they have stopped using agency staff all together
• 4 percent were unsure

Read More…

GMB to join Unite to fight Ford closures

The Times front page: Ford jobs cuts spoil party as economy grows again

GMB, responded to the news that Fords are to close Dagenham Tool and Stamping Operation with 1,000 jobs cuts and van production in Southampton with 500 job cuts.


“This is devastating news for the workforce at Dagenham and Southampton and there will be a feeling of shock and anger and Ford’s commitment on investment will cut little ice”. Read More…

Workplace Occupations and the Remploy Dispute

Seldom is it convincing to say that one single event can transform a wider situation. But in the case of the battle to stop the closure and sell off of the Remploy factories, this is the case. Specifically, if the threatened workers had occupied their factories, there is good reason to believe not only would have this created considerable leverage over the government but it would have also popularised the tactic of the workplace occupation in the battle to save jobs.


Since twenty seven of the 54 factories were earmarked for closure by the government by the end of the year, putting 1,700 disabled workers on the dole, and the remainder faced an uncertain future of either closure or being sold off, there has been an impressive battle fought by the workers and their unions, primarily the GMB and Unite.


It has involved strikes, high-profile demonstrations and one short occupation of the company’s HQ by less than ten workers. But there have been no workplace occupations. It is far from clear that the actions so far have created leverage over the company and, mostly importantly, the government.

Read More…