Tag Archives: Trade unions

VENTURERS TARGET LOW PAID COVID HEROES

st monica
St Monica: Bristol’s new patron saint of class warfare

The St Monica Trust, one of the city’s most notorious “providers of retirement accommodation and care in a range of different settings” has started an all-out assault on their low paid care workers who worked throughout covid for the wealthy charity in appalling conditions.

The Trust is pretty much a front for the racist slave trade cult, The Society of Merchant Venturers, who manage a “substantial endowment on behalf of the charity” as well as providing six trustees to the charity. Among these trustees are some of the cult’s most notorious scumbags, including former Masters such as Ross “Arsehole” Ancell and Tim “Dross” Ross as well as former chair of Green Capital Andrew “The Pie Man” Garrard.

These institutional racists’ are using the despicable practice of ‘fire and rehire’ on their hard-working low paid care workers. Their plans include substantial cuts to pay by reducing night and weekend enhancements; slashing weekly hours and removing paid breaks.

The wealthy toerags also propose targeting other terms and conditions including sick pay and are looking to change shift patterns, which will play havoc with childcare arrangements by making long days almost impossible.

Finally, different jobs will be merged into a generic “customer service” role with people expected to do work they never signed up for and perform tasks they aren’t trained to do.

The Venturers, who proudly list Cullum “Cunt” McAlpine, a notorious trade union buster as a member, have also been highly resistant to recognising and working with trade unions over their scurrilous plan. They have been especially keen to identify any workers who may be members of a union.

Rest assured, unions are planning a robust and public response to this right wing anti-worker, anti-union pile on from the racist scum Venturers and any of their revolting little helpers at St Monica’s Trust.

Stay tuned

NUTS CUTS

The £20m of cuts announced by the Reverend Rees for next year mainly seem to confirm that he has now gone totally insane. Among the highlights we’ve spotted so far:

  • An inexplicable £4m cut to the Adult Care budget will appear if HomeChoice prioritise people with adult social care needs on the housing register.
  • A proposal from a Labour administration to cut trade union facility time by 75 per cent. That means union reps will have no time to represent staff directly affected by cuts from a Labour administration.
  • Lots more cuts are proposed by HRH Helen of Holland overseeing Adult Care. This is despite her failure to deliver £4m of the £6m cuts she proposed last year.
  • Transport guru, “Tweedle” Don Alexander, will attempt to increase council revenue by about £2.5m from Residents Parking Zones (RPZ) and car parking. Tweedle Don has lost about £5.4m in income from these so far this year.
  • Asher “The Slasher” Craig proposes charging a fee to parents who are contacted by her Education Welfare Service about their child’s school attendance. Will she discover parents are suddenly uncontactable?
  • Finance kingpin, Craig Cheney, officially the stupidest man in Bristol, is opening a rooftop bar at the M Shed to make £85k a year.
  • Asher the Slasher is supporting young people by slashing youth services budgets by £400k.
  • Government money for Public Health will be spent on wages for the Reverend’s evangelical pals in his City Office instead. He will also pass a begging bowl around ‘external partners’ to see if they’re up for funding an office full of evangelical loonies at the Counts Louse.
  • Cabinet Pied Piper Nicola “La La” Beech is to deliver pest control in “different ways”.

We’ll let you know as we find more of these inanities over the coming months.

LETTER TO ALL COUNCILLORS FROM UNISON

From: Bristol Unison
Sent: 14 February 2022 07:58
To: All councillors
Cc: Bristol Unison; Branch Secretary; Branch Secretary, Unite
Subject: full council and collective disputes

Good Morning Councillor

I am emailing you regarding the budget proposals for Full Council on February 15th.

I am unsure if we are allowed to speak, but even if we are if will only a minute.  Hardly sufficient.

I have to inform you that we have raised two collective disputes.  One regarding museums, is by UNISON, the other one is unsurprisingly regarding the cut to trade union facility time.  With the latter, we are joined by UNITE.

The collective dispute regarding museums relates to the paperwork that was submitted to Cabinet and scrutiny prior to the full council.  The equalities impact assessment ( EQIA) was wrong and out of date.  Full details of this, is within out statements.  Furthermore, on meeting with Senior officers they confirmed this and apologised.

The EQIA should not be a paper exercise, but a robust evaluation.  I would suggest that this is especially important within culture and particularly in relation to museums and archives.  This remains the last free event that a low waged family can undertake on a rainy day.  With the cost of living increases and the low wage economy this is essential to many of your citizens.

The cuts in the papers suggested only £85k, when the true figure of nearer £420k has now arisen.  This will decimate the staff group. 

There are other issues, but with the speed of the consultative process prior to budget setting and inaccuracies within the paperwork, we are unable to engage properly.  We are asking for this report to be withdrawn, so it can be written properly and we can engage with our ideas on raising revenue to offset damage  to this service.  Furthermore, has Cabinet been misled?

Our other collective dispute with UNITE, involves the intention to cut trade union facility time.  We expect that the intention is to hamper us being able to represent member’s views in situations like this, and allow budgets and similar to pass through unmolested by democracy. 

I have spent days trying to get to the bottom of this, unsuccessfully.  I was first directed to the office of Kevin Slocombe, after a few days.  He engaged for a bit, and then handed me and our collective queries to John Walsh.  I have only received platitudes, not concrete assurances that this cut will not decimate trade union’s ability to function.  I have been told that this not a cut, but a realignment of funds.  If that is the case, then why is it in the budget proposals dealing specifically with cuts? 

We ask you to vote against this and withdraw it for proper consultation.  If it is not a cut, then it can be dealt with at the HR committee.  We will be discussing these collective disputes at this afternoon’s CJCC, with a view to them being heard at the next HR committee.

We have also been informed from other sources that Councillors have been told to vote this budget through, or fall foul of the Code of Conduct.  There is a letter circulating on social media, showing this. We believe that this undermines democracy in our city further.  We would support any councillor who votes with their conscience on the 15th.  The press would be interested in such a threat, as would the citizens of Bristol.  Who voted you in, to represent their wards and constituencies.

Lastly, I need to make a point about waste of finances.  We are told about Central Government reducing funding and putting us in such a position, that we need to cut services and outsource.  However, it is our opinion that BCC has not been entirely prudent with the budget.  For example the recent giving away of land at Temple Island to L and G, with a further £34m in improvement works.  To our knowledge, there was not a procurement process or open market tendering.  We are unclear what benefits there are for BCC or Bristol citizens.  City Leap has cost £7.4m, with a further £3m in reserves.  Bristol Energy lost £43m.  Colston Hall has now cost the council tax payer £54.4m.  I could go on, with salary increases for senior officers being one example.  We are in the process of collating evidence of this type of possible financial mismanagement.  If you are interested, then please get back to me and I can provide the list.

We firmly believe that our City should not be subjected to cut after cut and revenue should be more carefully managed, and utilised to deliver services.

Thank you for taking time to read this email and we hope you join us in defending our city.  It deserves much better.

Best wishes

Area Organiser, Unison Office, The Create Centre

PRITI USELESS UNION BOSSES

Kaye
Priti awful

Just what is up with Unison South West Regional boss Joanne “Priti” Kaye, Bristol’s answer to Priti Patel ? Why does she seem to dedicate her life to wrecking trade unionism at Bristol City Council where lots of her members work under appalling pressure for little money and less thanks.

The Reverend’s PA, “Slo” Kev Slocombe – completing a predictable trade union bureaucrat journey from Militant Tendency to right wing cunt – now wants to cut trade union facility time at the council. A move that effectively destroys trade union representation at the council by ensuring there’s no full time professional union workers around to represent members to bosses. 

Slocombe
Prolier than thou geezer actor

“We’re cutting the head off the snake” is how Slo Kev likes to tell it in front of the crowd of simpering senior council officers he tries to impress at the Counts Louse with a ridiculous prolier than thou geezer act that trousers him over £90k a year.

Some of the many people unimpressed with Slo Kev’s right wing antics over the unions are members of Labour’s South Bristol Constituency Party. Some even approached the chair of the constituency party and demanded a debate on these blatant anti-union attacks disguised as cuts cooked up by Labour. Only to be refused by the party chair. 

And who might this chair, backing Slo Kev to the hilt and not fighting for trade union rights at Bristol City Council, be? Please step forward,er, Unison’s Joanne Kaye.

Who needs bosses screwing you over when we’ve got trade unionists like Joanne and Slo Kev doing their job for them?.

COP26 CLIMATE MARCH: GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES?

ClimateMarchjfifjpgest

Yesterday saw another poorly attended march around Broadmead as part of a “global day of action for climate justice.”

The usual liberal suspects bearing ‘witty’ homemade placards were joined by unions, the Labour Party and the Green Party, all touting a version of “the Green New Deal”. Where large sums of commercially confidential public money will be handed over to struggling corporations with no questions allowed to provide profitable market solutions to the climate crisis.

Under the ubiquitous straplines “net zero” and “just transition”, some of the most unjust organisations and institutions on the planet – that created climate change in the first place – are now going to solve it for us (for a fee)!

The BRISTOLIAN’s position on this hasn’t altered on this since 2014 when there was also a “a global day of climate change action” during a UN conference in New York City to organise a climate conference. We said then:

Any response to climate change requires a new mass social movement and the dismantling of existing elites and their interests, not some crude rearrangement betweeen these elites (who have already trashed the planet) backed up with a novelty global PR campaign aimed at GUILT TRIPPING US.

If we want to protect humanity from climate change, we have to TAKE CONTROL of business and industry ourselves, not leave it to profit-hungry corporations or a bunch of rich hippy clowns. We don’t want a nicer shinier ‘green capitalism’, we want to DESTROY it, their class system and protect our future in one shot. You know it makes sense 

History Wars: Sanitising the history of protest in Bristol

Riot policing

From our Violent Disorder Correspondent

The violence which surrounded the ‘Kill the Bill’ protest on Sunday 21 March catapulted Bristol into national headlines. The predictable outrage and condemnation by politicians and business leaders was magnified by gruesome statements (now unmasked as lies) coming from Avon & Somerset Police of officers with ‘punctured lungs’ and ‘compound fractures’. Meanwhile, the reason for the demonstration, a Tory Bill to repress protests, and the numbers of protestors injured by police in full public order kit, armed with shields, clubs and pepper spray was usefully obscured

After the initial ‘outrage’ news items, journalists began focusing on feature articles which attempted to contextualise the ‘Bridewell riot’. One well-read article ‘A city of protest: Bristol’s history of resistance’ on the BBC website began with the questionable premise that the city was somehow historically exceptional. It claimed that “The city’s counter-culture identity reaches back through the centuries”. This somewhat ludicrous claim was followed by some of the worst historical analysis we have seen for a while. Claiming dubious validity by referencing Mayor Marvin Rees’s controversial History Commission, the article continued by quoting a University of Bristol academic who was “investigating the city’s heritage of protest”. They stated:

There is a long history of protest in Bristol and a radical self-identify is more prevalent here, but why Bristol and not other cities is a difficult point. Bristol has always been a city of protest with an alternative identity that pushes back on those mainstream or established narratives. Protest is very richly woven into the city’s history and I think the people of Bristol today are influenced by that narrative of protest.

Apart from not making much sense (radical self-identify?), failing to explain what period they were referring to and vaguely talking about ‘narratives’ they also claimed that Bristol had “always been a city of protest with an alternative identity”. This begged some questions. What is this so-called alternative identity that Bristol has had for centuries? And isn’t protest woven into the fabric of many cities?  Ok…give them a break you might say…let them get into some detail. They did and it got worse.

Centres of protest like Stokes Croft or St Paul’s are a stone’s throw away from more affluent areas like Clifton, where you also have a high student population where people are very interested in a different way of living.

This statement tells us more about the bubble where this academic hangs out than making much sense. Bristol’s centuries long ‘alternative identity’ is reduced temporally and spatially to the last 15 years and to Stokes Croft (which most Bristolians regard as a street rather than an area) with the added bonus of ‘edgy’ St Pauls. A different way of living? Bristol University? Yes, maybe a route to top jobs and wealth for public school and middle-class kids, but hardly a hotbed of counterculture.

Rounding off their contribution, the ‘expert on protest’ jumped to the late eighteenth century claiming “the Bristol Bridge riots in 1793 as the first notable clash with the establishment in the city”. Writing off almost all the 1700s in Bristol suggests social peace in the supposed ‘deferent century’. In reality, as most local historians know, Bristol was riddled with confrontations between crowds and the ‘establishment’ in the ‘riotous century’. From ‘moral economy’ food riots led by women who reduced prices by force, to turnpike riots and wage riots led by the Kingswood colliers and East Bristol Weavers, ‘collective bargaining by riot’ was a fairly normal method of direct action in a deeply undemocratic society.

At this point the article began to really lose its way, Exposing more about the current politics of the BBC and some of the contributing historians than teaching us any coherent history. The following timeline was offered as a guideline to the exceptionalism of protests in Bristol:

(BBC) Timeline of protests in Bristol

1793: The Bristol Bridge riots

1831: Queens Square Reform riots

1963: The Bristol bus boycotts

1980: St Paul’s riots

2011: Stokes Croft Tesco protests and riots

2019: Extinction Rebellion protests

February 2020: Greta Thunberg climate change rally

June 2020: Black Lives Matter protests

As anyone knows who has looked at the history of protest in any city, anywhere in the world, deciding what to include and exclude in a timeline is very difficult as there is so much protest, in so many different forms. Even if we concentrated on one form, say riots, the list would fill several pages and that would be unfinished. Looking at the above timeline, there are huge glaring gaps and massive omissions. So nothing happened over the 132 years between the 1831 ‘reform riots’ and the Bristol Bus boycotts of the 1960s? Really? The number of struggles connected to protest wiped out by the timeline in this period alone is truly remarkable: labour history, women’s history, enfranchisement, education, housing, healthcare, socialism, poor laws, anti-fascism, LGBT history, unemployed marches, communists, soldiers strikes, anti-war demonstrations, prisons etc etc.

As for riots, clearly only those that ‘count’ are to be counted. If the one-day event in St Pauls in April 1980 is alright, why not the two nights of rioting in Southmead that followed immediately after? Or the three nights of rioting in Hartcliffe in 1992 in response to the killing of two residents by police? Or perhaps the Sidney Cooke paedophile riot at Broadbury Road police station in 1998 led by local women? And the Poll tax riots of 1990? If the so-called Tesco’s riot of 2011 gets a tick, why not the massive wave of rioting and looting that occurred a few months later in August 2011 across England?

Is the history of protest being sanitised on the basis of social class and to some extent ethnicity? When St Pauls rioted in 1980 it is justified, when Hartcliffe did, it must be condemned, ignored or belittled. After all, what have working class people got to get angry about? This stinks of liberal politicos and academics with a social-democratic narrative trying to control the historical agenda of what is acceptable protest and what isn’t. This becomes clearer later in the article when we are informed:

Protests like the Bristol Bus Boycott were organised with clear aims and strategies which minimises demonstrations turning into something different.

I guess the ‘something different’ was a reference to the Bridewell ‘riot’ on the previous Sunday. A pattern is beginning to emerge, sensible, peaceful, organised, Bus Boycott campaign good….Anti-police bill demonstration bad. This assumes, of course, that peaceful protest works? Does anyone remember the massive CND demonstrations of the 1970s and 80s when millions marched legally, sensibly and peacefully to try and stop the introduction of first-strike nuclear weapons and the potential for mass destruction? Failure. Or the Stop the War marches of 2003 when millions marched legally, sensibly and peacefully to stop the invasion of Iraq? Failure. Compare that with hundreds of thousands breaking the law by refusing to pay the Poll Tax, storming city councils and famously rioting in London in 1990 which finished off the ‘Community Charge’ and led to the fall of the Thatcher cabal of right-wing nutters. Or thousands of miners going on strike, shutting power stations down and physically confronting the police in the 1970s which brought the anti-Union Tory government down. Or the Black Lives Matter protestors solving a century-long festering sore by pulling down the Colston statue after years of failed petitioning and peaceful protests.

If you think the historical debate is irrelevant to the protests around the Police Bill then fair enough. However, Bristol’s elected Mayor disagrees with you. In a Facebook video addressed to the city the day after the first protest at Bridewell Marvin Rees stated:

I absolutely condemn the violence we saw in Bristol last night. It was a display of selfish, self-indulgent, self-centred violence by a group of people who were looking for any opportunity to enter into physical confrontation….We have a history of politically significant protest, like Chartists and Suffragettes protesting for emancipation, trade unions striking and campaigning for jobs and rights at work. This was not that. Last night’s action was politically illiterate and increases the likelihood of the policing bill passing. The riot is not worthy of being mentioned alongside the very legitimate debate about the bill…..We won’t allow these people to hijack our city’s story.

Despite the obvious fact that the violence outside Bridewell meant that the ‘legitimate debate’ about the ‘Policing Bill’, which had been hardly publicised, was suddenly all over the media and forced politicians to start commenting on it, there were some more worrying signs in Rees’s statement. Odd as it seems, Rees appears to have appointed himself judge of what is ‘acceptable’ protest both now and in the past, and guardian of the ‘city’s story’ (whatever that is). Several commentators have noticed this Orwellian turn from the present to the past (and we suppose to mapping out the future) and the contradictions inherent in his statement. My advice is if you are going to set yourself up as the judge of ‘acceptable protest’ then at least read some history.

If the Suffragettes are ‘good’ then is Rees suggesting that mass campaigns of criminal damage, arson and bombing are the way forward for the Anti-Policing Bill protesters? If the Chartists are ‘good’ then would planning for an armed Republican insurrection and forming your own organised and armed force to deal with the Police on demonstrations be useful strategy and tactics for the protestors? If Trade Unions are good then would Rees support mass strikes over Bristol City Council redundancies due to austerity measures?…. Like fuck he would. It looks to me like Rees has either swallowed a sanitised, social-democratic historical narrative or that he really doesn’t know what he is talking about.

There may be an explanation to Rees’ turn to the historical and that is his flagship committee. The ‘We are Bristol (University)’ History Commission set up in the wake of the pulling down of the statue of Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in June last year. Perhaps this has spurred him to learn about some ‘radical history’. The irony, of course, is that it was a ‘bad protest’ that forced the Mayor to take the issue of the city’s contested history seriously after years of ignoring it. Will the ‘We are Bristol (University)’ History Commission try to become the arbiter of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protest history whilst itself being the product of what it would call a ‘bad’ protest?

For many of us who spent years challenging the sanitisation of the history of Edward Colston by City elites the move by Rees and his ‘academics in tow’ to now sanitise and ring-fence the history of protest in Bristol when faced by a real and vital protest movement is both ironic and dumb, but also boringly predictable.

Ends—–

Green party Mayoral candidate re-writing history! See his tweet – some hilarious comments

The Bristol 24/7 article demonstrates how desperate the bosses, state & middle class are to de-escalate the situation so we’re all peaceful –

https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/news/peaceful-scenes-throughout-fourth-kill-the-bill-protest-in-bristol/

– quote “Teams of officers with riot gear were poised well out of the way…”. Yeah like 75m away hiding in the NCP carpark next to Bridewell (with spotters on the roof), also 6 vanloads nearby in Deep St.

HAMPSHIRE NAG KILLING STAFF TO IMPROVE THEIR WELLBEING

virus

Have you heard the one about the appalling new ‘WELLBEING’ MANAGER at Bristol City Council who has triggered multiple complaints by council staff to HR for bullying? Please step forward ISLE OF WIGHT RESIDENT Christina “The Nag” Czarkowski Crouch, who didn’t rock up at the Counts Louse six months ago to start work as the council’s new  Safety, Health and Wellbeing Manager. 

Covid has proved a boon for this former Head of Risk and Safety at Hampshire County Council – who retired from there “UNDER A CLOUD” – as she’s only had to come to Bristol ONCE IN SIX MONTHS. Leaving this ridiculous Tory bint plenty of time to indulge in her expensive hobby running a riding school and poncing about at dressage events.

Less happy are trade unions at the council who tell us that there’s “a plan to get everyone back to work at the council based on an IDEOLOGICAL HR PLAN“. A plan enthusiastically fronted by a Hampshire resident safely tucked away in a home office 130 miles away who doesn’t see any need to come near one of her ‘safe’ workplaces in Bristol any time soon. Unions also tell us The Nag got paid a generous MOVING ALLOWANCE by us when she got the job but obviously hasn’t bothered moving to Bristol. What’s she done with our money?

The Nag’s current job at the council is to sign off – from a safe long distance – UNSAFE WORKPLACES and offices at the council as, er, safe. This corporate ‘wellbeing’ expert has done this by BULLYING staff into signing off her dodgy risk assessments and telling them that if they don’t do what she says, SHE WILL MAKE THEM LEAVE! Unions sources say The Nag is anti-union too and has refused to speak with them, let alone account for her efforts to kill council staff.

Multiple complaints regarding The Nag have now landed in Bristol City Council’s HR inbox. Although so far her bosses, the council’s mentally unstable Head of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, A NOTORIOUS BULLY himself, and his hopelessly thick and useless yes-man sidekick, Director of HR Mark “Bashar” Williams, have done FUCK ALL. Mainly on the basis that this pair of turds view bullying as top quality management practice that needs to be encouraged. Unless any bullying is aimed at them of course.

Why can’t city council staff just man up a bit and be prepared to die of Covid for a bunch of management cowards and bullies hiding in expensive homes around the UK?

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

by CITIZENS ROBESPIERRE & MURAT ably assisted by Dr J.I Guillotin

November’s Full Council meeting saw an outbreak of ‘MARIE ANTOINETTE SYNDROME’ among entitled councillors in official foppery pitted against a SEETHING MASS of unwashed sans-culottes in the public gallery. Controversy began when Lord Mayor Jos Clark decided (without historical precedence in Bristol or nationally) to SUSPEND PUBLIC QUESTIONS to the Mayor due to “lack of time, because of the national election”.

The Lord Mayor had informed public questioners by email that they could NOT ASK QUESTIONS in the Council Chamber and that the Mayor would not offer any verbal answers. Instead, questioners would receive a written response within 10 working days. The BRISTOLIAN, analysed these questions and – lo and behold – many were POTENTIALLY EMBARRASSING to the Reverend Rees. Raising issues such as the gentrification of Cumberland Basin, jobs for Marvin’s evangelical pals and the contra-BCC policy of hiring trade unionist BLACKLISTING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS.

Chaos reigned in the public gallery as, first, questioners were told that THEY COULDN’T SPEAK OR GET ANSWERS. Then they were told that, maybe, they COULD ASK QUESTIONS BUT NOT RECEIVE ANSWERS and then, finally, they were told that the original ruling would stand. Breathless council flunkies dashed around the chamber with leaflets and ‘clarifications’ as each modification was made up on the spur in council back offices. Adding to the confusion, it also turned out that some questioners were unaware of this ARBITRARY DECISION until they arrived.

Next, onlookers in the public gallery were confronted by BRISTOL’S COUNCILLORS SWANNING IN to pose in Hawaiian shirts for a photographer. Why was this? It was supposed to be a tribute to Hawaiian shirt fan Cllr Mike Langley, who had recently died. Shirt-clad councillors posed with arms around each other before going off to their benches and delivering 40 MINUTES OF SPEECHES in memoriam to their deceased colleague.

Those who knew Mike – A GENUINE SOCIALIST – were confronted with the unedifying spectacle of Tory, Blairite Labour, Lib Dem and the rest competing to see who could deliver the most NAUSEOUS HYPOCRISY while shedding CROCODILE TEARS as most of them had hated Mike. One councillor even announced … ‘In the words of Mike Langley, Vive la Revolution!’ The whole SORRY SPECTACLE resembled one of French Queen Marie Antoinette’s ‘soirees’ where she and her courtiers would dress up to play peasant shepherds and shepherdesses while real peasants starved outside the gates.

After their PRIVATE FANCY DRESS PARTY, the public presence in the gallery was finally acknowledged by the Versailles Court and farce descended into ABSURDITY. When ‘no-question’ time was announced, ONE PLUCKY PROLE stood up and asked why procedure had changed from what was in the council constitution?

Lord Mayor Clark tried to shut down this unseemly interruption to her travesty in motion while security goons twitched in anticipation on the gallery stairwell. Their services were unnecessary, however, as the prole sat down after shouting – to thunderous applause from angry sans-culottes in the gallery – ‘YOU’RE A DISGRACE – YOU SHOULD RESIGN!

Rumours of scythes and pitchforks being sharpened in Bristol’s outlying suburbs cannot be confirmed.

Rotten Comrades: Unfair Dismissal Appeals and Other Problems For Our Class


By The Dwarf

It is commonly recognised that appeals to government bodies very often help. As a rule of thumb I would say appealing loss of benefit or a parking ticket should give you around a fifty-fifty chance (should you have some sort of excuse), so you may as well have a punt. I say usually, that is if you appeal anywhere else but at Bristol City Council where properly mandated, democratically elected bodies no longer seem to be able to action their decisions. We’ve seen this recently with the special education needs appeals but we also see it in both Councillor and Mayoral inability to control council officers.

Controlling council officers is a political problem because, for reasons of national policy, council officers have the right to (effectively) water down possibly loony council decision-making. Sort of. Essentially. So it is quite hard for the Mayor to sack someone if there is a democratic decision to do something and nobody puts that into action properly. This decentralised style of administration trickles down further to organisations such as local authority controlled schools who have the right to do whatever they damn well please while being funded by us.

So, when a struggling single mother with a handful of a child (perhaps with profound learning difficulties) wins her appeal to have a better specialist education for her child, the school refuses to obey the decision, making the whole process a hopeless waste of time. What then happens, the appeals team try and gauge what the school will accept before giving up and making some sort of feeble, virtue-signalling non-decision.

“So, Brother D,” you might ask – “what has this got to do with the unions?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First off, this is about class, both for struggling mums and dads in an uncaring society, but also about having a functioning, municipal democracy. And secondly, this trickle down of irresponsibility and intransigence is affecting the staff too.

The appeals committee which hears dismissal appeals from our staff, has for some time given up trying to reinstate staff who are innocent or who are naughty but don’t quite deserve sacking; but do deserve to be given a kick up the backside before being told to get back to work. I’m not saying the odd one or two haven’t charmed their way out of the ‘long walk’, but the majority haven’t, in my and the other comrades’ experience. I used to be quite happy, back in the day, making the usual ritual protest while the member got the dressing down of their lives, taking comfort in the fact that we’ve managed to avoid another walk of shame to the dole office (or worse). But HR (you know the weaponised, smiling assassins I wrote about last time) now make it clear such actions are impossible.

Since then, the kindly old gentleman chairman, firebrand eco-warrior and old class warrior we normally get invited to address, offer the staff member a nice cup of tea, a bit of sympathy and a biscuit, before tapping the member on the shoulder and showing him the door. I preferred the kick up the arse and reinstatement.

More recently, the tea and biscuits have also gone.

Which makes the whole process a complete, bollocking, waste of time, because we then go off and win a tribunal. The point of the appeal is to set right unfair dismissals: they should consider the matter with open minds and bravely overrule, if that is the just decision, regardless of the pressure from HR. It does beg the question what sort of feedback auditing there is to the committee so that it can review how well it has done.

There is more to say about HR and its militant strategy of getting people out the door regardless of the settlement cost, and just how motivated they are in doing this, but I’ll leave it to next time.

Solidarity,
Brother D

ROTTEN COMRADES: ‘REDUNDANCY PAY CUT SHOCKER’

by Less-Than-Pragmatic Dwarf

Another month, another shambles as Bristol City Council’s dodgy unions bend over backwards to help the employer. This time it’s redundancy pay that’s at risk but, instead of telling the employer to go “do one”, our comrades have, er, bravely thrown in the towel.

Citing the obvious line that if unions don’t go along with the cut, the employer will change their contracts anyway, our reps have come up with a piss-poor, face-saving formula that they will add “checks and balances” to the proposals.

Management would threaten unilateral changes to contracts, wouldn’t they? It’s the first – and oldest – trick in the book. Instead of saying “nice try sunshine!”, our not-so-bright colleagues scratched the top of their heads, fell over their clown shoes and surrendered.

One of the “checks and balances” reported to our Industrial Correspondent is an increase to voluntary severance payments. A windfall that, for ordinary workers, is as rare as hen’s teeth. Besides, what manager proposing a restructure will choose the more expensive, but more equitable, voluntary route to redundancy when it’s cheaper just to choose who to fire?

Back when they had experienced reps, the unions argued that it was better to let volunteers go than to fire people who are desperate to keep their jobs. This will strike a death knell for such an idea. Unions agreeing to this proposal will change the contracts of thousands of staff, even non-union members, which is actually worse than doing nothing.

If nothing is agreed and the proposals are imposed, at least one or two brave members of staff could challenge it. Perhaps with the help of an ambulance chasing lawyer or a union that has somehow managed not to compromise itself? Because, of course, redundancy pay is part of your contract and enforceable in law. “Checks and balances”, even placed in a policy, won’t be.

However, it’s not a done deal yet. Although the reps are agreeing it in principle, the unions will need to consult with their members (watch out for some frighteningly Orwellian fact distortion in your inbox). They want the effects of this not to kick in for a couple of years. But they intend to agree it now and tie it down in such a way that nobody can claim, in say three years’ time, that it was a surprise.

It’s not just Unison this time, the blame lies with Unite and GMB as well. They’re all complicit in this. If you catch anyone from the unions defending or promoting these proposals, in the Counts Louse or elsewhere, do yourself a favour: make them a dunce’s cap to wear and ask them to resign.