the continuing assault on the unions

by Bill Butlin

As the general election approaches both the Labour and Conservative parties aren’t saying much about what they plan to do to trade unions. Why is this?

The silence reflects a pro business consensus in the two main parties, that ‘disorderly’ and ‘illegitimate’ collective action by workers is a pathology that harms business, employees and the consumer. And was it not that son of Thatcher Tony Blair himself who boasted loudly that ‘The Labour Party is the party of modern business and industry in Britain’? Continue reading “the continuing assault on the unions”

british airways injunction flies in the face of democracy

by Gregor Gall
professor of industrial relations at the University of Hertfordshire

The High Court decision to grant British Airways an injunction against Unite’s 12-day strike, was as Unite said, “a disgraceful day for democracy”. The will of 92.5% on an 80% turnout of 12,000 workers was struck down in a single moment by a solitary judge.

mass meeting of BA staff: their collective decision was trampled on by the courts

Although employer applications for injunctions are well down on the mid- to late 1980s, in 2009, there were 10 other injunctions applied for by employers, with another 14 in the previous three years to this. Continue reading “british airways injunction flies in the face of democracy”

can the oil refinery strikers beat the industry?

An article by Gregor Gall on The Guardian site.

Click here to read Gregor’s analysis of January’s strike wave, which appeared in issue 3 of The Commune, and here to read his recent debate with Chris Kane on the current state of industrial struggle.


These are days of defiance in the engineering construction industry. The employers won’t give in and neither will the striking workers, even though the ante has been continually upped in the last week.

Total, on behalf of its contractors, refused to engage in any talks to settle the dispute while the unofficial strike at the Lindsey oil refinery continues. Last Friday, it spurned the use of the state conciliation service, Acas. It has also robustly supported its two contractors, IREM and Jacobs, who sacked their strikers (647 in all of them) and has made no play of its other seven on-site contractors who have not sacked their 500-odd strikers. For Total, this is a game of hard hardball. Continue reading “can the oil refinery strikers beat the industry?”