UK trade unions

Union news in Brief

• Unison Conference: Good news, the left at Unison conference mangaged to beat the leadership in vote after vote. But there were not many big debates as Standing Orders had ruled anything controversial (and 47% of motions) out of order. However we won a lot of symbolic victories. Perhaps the most significant victory on conference floor was at the Local Government Service Group Conference with resolution to open up pay consultation in the autumn, submit a pay claim by January and, if unsuccessful, ballot for strike action in April 2009. This is a massive improvement on dithering in previous...

The 1984-5 Miners' Strike, the Miners Who Scabbed, and the Fate of the Pet Pig

In Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure, there is a strange, affecting scene, in which the butchering of a hand-raised pig is described. It is told with great sympathy and empathy from the pig’s point of view. (Parables for Socialists-5) Reared close to the family, as was common in nineteen century England, the pig is well-treated, mothered like a pet and fed on tit-bits — all the better to fatten it up so that it could at the right moment be turned into as much pork and bacon as possible. The pig is happy and contented, not knowing his place in the human scheme of things. Then one day the...

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