Automation And The Workforce

rtx1iu75-1Click here to download ‘Automation and the Workforce’

This is a short paper setting out future developments in Robotics/Cobotics and their application in UK industry and services.

Interesting facts: Germany has 176,000 industrial robots compared to the UK with just 17,000 in use; Japanese robot manufacturer FANUC uses production lines that can operate without human assistance for ‘several weeks’; Adidas is planning to open its first automated factory in Germany in 2016; Ocado is trialling a warehouse where robots pack and move good autonomously; SEW-Eurodrive who build power transmission systems with the assiatance of robotic arms that help load machines and pick up componants.

A survey of ‘experts’ found that only 50% beilved this technology would create employment at a similar or faster rate than it displaces them. A study by Frey and Osborne estimated that 35% of UK jobs had a greater than 66% chance of of being automated – the Bank Of England similarly warned that 15 million jobs could be automated over a similar period – but both come with a “health warning” – these figures maybe over estimated as this depsneds on what jobs could actually be automated technoloically rather than economically.

Jobs with the following requirements which it is anticpated will be difficult to automate: social skills; artistic and intellectual; digital skills; perception.

Jobs in transport; sales; logisitcs; and adminsistration were particularly likely to be effected by automation.

A follow up study in changes of employment between 2001 and 2015 shows 800,000 jobs displaced but 3.5 million new jobs created over the same period.

Certainly worth reading in more detail.

Thanks to Joseph Ennis who interviewed me as part of the prepartion of the document.

More reading: Trade Unions And The Coming Digital Revolution

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Posted in Economics, The Digital Economy and Unions, Trade Unions, Unite The Union | Leave a comment

The Future Of Trade Unions – September 3rd

eabf1d405e232a73aa6ea5b16bcf9082Notwithstanding a truce during the EU Referendum campaign, the Government’s relationship with trade unions has reached rock bottom with more restrictions aimed against them through the new Trade Union Bill 2016.  Trade union membership has remained fairly static over recent years and the changing face of work presents new challenges.

With this in mind, History & Policy’s Trade Union Forum will be hosting a half-day conference The Future of Trade Unions, where eminent speakers from both academia and trade unions will take stock of how trade unions’ relationship with government has evolved over time, and hypothesise as to where unions should go from here.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dave Ward, General Secretary of the Communication Worker’s Union – on the his union’s future in the now-privatised sector.
  • Dr. Alastair Reid, Life Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge & author of United We Stand: A History of Britain’s Trade Unions – on how out of favour traditional union policies might fare in future union thinking
  • Siobhan Endean, National Officer for Equalities at Unite the Union – on what effect mergers and the role of “mega unions” can have in best promoting equalities in the entire trade union movement
When
Where
Unite The Union – 128 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8TN – View Map
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Brexit is a warning shot: time to abandon ‘business as usual’ in trade talks and we should start with CETA

JS35920755-1By Jude Kirton Darling

26 August 2016

After the intensity of the EU referendum campaign with all its highs and lows, and a proper summer break to recharge empty batteries, the UK’s MEPs will be heading back into the European Parliament next week. Many questions remain over how the vote to leave the EU will be dealt with by the UK government and Westminster, as the vote on the 23 June was only the start of a long process not the end.

In the meantime, the world around us keeps turning and our work representing the UK’s interests within the EU continues. For me, as a member of the International Trade committee, this autumn will be particularly challenging as key decisions will be taken on a series of concluded EU free trade and investment deals (e.g. with Canada, Vietnam and several African regions).

Parliamentary recesses are useful times to catch up and reflect. Talking with constituents over recent years about their views on the EU, and inevitably their perceptions of what is wrong and right with it, is a key means of gauging public opinion. My home region is an export region, with a trade surplus and proud manufacturing and services base. Trade is part of our DNA. However, in my personal experience of discussions on thousands of North East English doorsteps, for many people the referendum offered a means to address a deep malaise about the impact of globalisation locally, and resentment that its benefits are unevenly shared.

Others abroad cannot watch complacently. The UK’s Brexit vote is not as a unique phenomenon but a symptom. This social unease is finding voice in political populism across Europe and around the world, most clearly in the rise of politicians calling for the brakes to be applied to economic and social change, and EU cooperation. All politicians should be reflecting on what this means for global economic relations, and I believe that ‘business as usual’ is impossible in the current circumstances particularly in the case of EU trade policy.

We potentially face an impasse if trade negotiators do not change tack. Global trade urgently needs effective rules. Balanced and fair trade agreements at multilateral and bilateral levels are a means to reregulate globalisation. Rules can make the difference between competition and cooperation globally which supports good jobs, innovation and quality, or supply chains that increase human and environmental exploitation. Rules matter. However, public trust is rock bottom levels making this necessary rule-making politically very difficult.

Greater democratic scrutiny of trade negotiations is now a necessity. Trust will only be gained through a change in substance and transparency. Ultimately, today MEPs have a rather blunt power to accept or reject EU trade deals, but this has been used effectively to create greater leverage during recent trade negotiations. Greater parliamentary scrutiny at EU and national level may make life difficult for negotiators, but is the only means of guaranteeing their efforts are not futile and opposed by public opinion.

Reform of trade policy is possible. Concerns about negative economic competition motivated the inclusion of social cooperation both in intra-EU treaties and through social clauses in EU external trade deals from the 1990s onwards. The latter were set out as a ‘red-line’ for EU external trade negotiators in 2006 by the ‘Global Europe’ strategy. Sustainable development (through labour rights and environmental protection) was set to be made enforceable not just aspirational, with efficient monitoring and credible deterrents. However, this concrete commitment has gradually been downgraded to an aspiration with few binding conditions nor adequate monitoring and enforcement in EU trade deals.

There is a striking difference between the lack of enforcement of minimum binding labour standards in recent EU trade deals, notably with Canada, and the inclusion of controversial and opaque legal systems to privilege and protect corporate investors.

In the case of the Canadian Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), following MEP criticism and public opposition to the controversial system of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the European Commission asked the Canadians to reopen closed negotiations to amend these provisions. The renegotiated CETA text is better than the original CETA but still proposes a reformed ISDS system which still offers greater rights for multinational companies over domestic players. Meanwhile, MEPs have also consistently called for binding and enforceable labour rights but even in a supposed ‘gold standard’ agreement with a progressive country and advanced economy, this is lacking with no appetite for revision. What signal is sent to other partner countries? If the EU and Canadians are not willing to offer gold standard protections for their own workforces, how can such commitments be leveraged from those who violate these basic rights. Nothing shows the inequity of our current trade deals as clearly as the rights bestowed to workers versus those granted to international capital.

This autumn’s political decisions pose a particular vantage point for UK MEPs, as an ‘insider-outsider’ perspective creeps into the mix. UK MEPs are deeply conscious that other countries MEPs will scrutinise and have a final say over a future UK-EU trade agreement, while at the same time we must undertake the parliamentary scrutiny of ongoing EU trade negotiations for which we are elected. However, it is also important opportunity to send political signals about what a future UK trade policy should look like.

The public will remain distrustful of trade policy whether negotiated in Brussels or Westminster until fairness and transparency is engrained. This must now be the priority for all negotiators and parliamentarians alike.

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

 

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Why the British labour movement should care about the coup in Brazil

UntitledPreviously published in the Morning Star August 9th

As world attention turns to Brazil for the Olympic Games, we need to shine a light on that country’s dismantling of democracy

A coup is taking place in Brazil. On first glance, a president impeached for “fiscal irregularities” in a country experiencing large-scale political corruption would seem like progress. But the wider picture is a lot darker.

The shady circumstances surrounding the impeachment; the mountain of evidence of corruption by the coup-plotters and the regressive measures taken by interim President Michel Temer mean the labour movement in Britain and around the world must stand behind impeached president Dilma Rousseff and support democracy at this critical time for the people of Brazil.

When the “car-wash” corruption scandal — a money laundering investigation expanded to include allegations of corruption in the state-owned oil company Petrobras — escalated last year, seemingly leaving no element of government untouched, anger at the government was at an all-time high.

Stories of funds being siphoned out of Petrobras and into the pockets and campaign funds of state officials appeared, followed by allegations of embezzlement, money-laundering and bribery.

As this anger at the political elite surfaced, members of Brazil’s right-wing opposition in parliament put into place a political manoeuvre that would turn Brazil’s president into a scapegoat and remove the Brazilian Workers’ Party from office for the first time since former President Lula was elected in 2002.

President Rousseff was impeached on terms of budgetary manipulation and removed from office, replaced by Temer of the PMDB party.

The lower house that first voted to impeach Rousseff contains 513 members. Of these, 303 are being investigated for serious corruption charges, while Rousseff herself has never been implicated in the Petrobras scandal and has now been cleared of budget manipulation in a recent senate report.

The leader of the house and one of key instigators of the impeachment, Eduardo Cunha, faces investigations over alleged perjury, money-laundering and bribery. The national anger at corruption had been severely misplaced.

Rousseff received 52 million votes at the last election — a huge mandate for progressive change.

But Temer’s coup government has shown its complete disregard for democracy — initiating large-scale privatisations and effectively rolling back many of the progressive reforms of workers’, women’s and indigenous rights the Workers’ Party carried out in the previous decade.

As Temer himself is barred from running in the 2018 election due to previous electoral violations, he is dismantling democracy and imposing austerity and privatisation without fear of electoral repercussions.

From the outset, Temer’s coup government has been visibly reactionary. With the initial appointment of an all-white, all-male cabinet in one of the most diverse countries in the world, Temer set the tone for his interim presidency, presenting a cabinet that seriously under-represents women, LGBT people and the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

Within a month of being appointed, three of Temer’s new ministers had to step down after allegations that they were attempting to obstruct the “operation car-wash” corruption investigation.

One minister, Romero Juca, was caught in a secret recording implying that the removal of president Rousseff was the only way to combat the expanding corruption probe.

Senate leader Renan Calheiros is facing seven investigations, including allegations he was paid $600,000 to stop a senate probe of corruption in Petrobras.

Even the anti-corruption minister Fabiano Silveira had to resign in response to allegations he was trying to weaken the “car-wash” probe.

Temer himself is also facing allegations of political corruption. A plea-bargain testimony claims that in 2012 he asked the then head of the transport unit of Petroleo Brasileiro to arrange illegal campaign contributions to his party. The very extent of these allegations against the political current trying to overthrow Rousseff explains their desperation in trying to hold on to power and prevent Rousseff from carrying out her mandate.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed in Brazil and we cannot let it go unnoticed here in Britain.

As Temer’s illegitimate term started and his reactionary cabinet, policies and cutbacks were implemented, the Brazilian trade union movement was quick to back Rousseff and the Workers’ Party because of their record in tackling exploitation and promoting workers’ rights.

In fact, both the main Trade Union Confederation of Brazil and the British TUC have come together in condemning Temer’s reign as illegitimate.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The British trade union movement has pledged to our sisters and brothers in Brazil that we will not stay silent as their rights are attacked, their democracy dismantled, their social advances rolled back.”

In this time of crisis, with a corruption scandal sweeping the country and a dangerous austerity agenda on the cards, the people of Brazil, making up half the population of Latin America, are facing a serious reversal in their living standards as a result of the cuts.

And the enormous gains in social progress and democracy in Latin America are now under threat from an undemocratic, conservative cabal in charge of by far the largest and most powerful country in the region.

The British trade union movement has backed Rousseff against this coup. It is now time for the labour movement to get on board.

Whether a member, supporter, councillor or MP, the Labour Party needs to speak out against corruption, stand up for democracy and demand the reinstatement of President Rousseff.

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Posted in International Trade Unions, Labour Party, Media, Politics, Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress, Unite The Union, Workers Uniting | 1 Comment

North Sea: 48 Hours Strike Begins

offshorebanner11-23531A 48-hour strike by North Sea offshore oil and gas workers starts today (Thursday 4 August), after company managers rejected an offer from trade unions.

Workers in the trade unions Unite and RMT will go ahead with the planned stoppage as part of an ongoing dispute with employers Wood Group. The workers are facing a massive cut in pay and allowances of up to 30 per cent.

In last-minute meetings this week, unions had offered to suspend the strike if the company agreed to remove their current proposal in full to allow for further consultation and negotiation. The company refused.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “We are extremely disappointed that Wood Group has decided to continue its attack on the pay and allowances of offshore workers. We repeat our call for proper consultation and negotiation.
 
“Industrial action is always a last resort and throughout this dispute we have constructively sought to find a resolution. We need to look forward and work towards a sustainable solution.
 
“Offshore workers do a difficult, dangerous job and we all rely on the energy they produce. We need Wood Group and other energy companies to stop constantly attacking these workers, and move on to a more positive agenda, working with the unions to address the challenges facing the industry.”
 
As part of the dispute, Unite organised a 24-hour stoppage on Tuesday 26th July, followed by a series of three-hour stoppages on platforms owned by multi-national oil company Shell. The Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Nelson, Gannet, Shearwater and Curlew platforms were all affected.

During the dispute the striking workers have received declarations of support from trade unionists across the globe, including those working in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. There have also been demonstrations at Wood Group’s Aberdeen headquarters.

Please send messages of support to our members who will be off-shore and on-shore during the strike.

You can do this by emailing a message of support to offshoreunite@gmail.com

Messages will be posted on the Unite Offshore Facebook site facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015

– and on Twitter @uniteoffshore and you will be able to keep up with developments through social media.

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Manufacturing Figures Reveal Brexit Uncertainty

By Hajera Blagg

The latest manufacturing figures released yesterday (August 1st) have shown that the uncertainty unleashed by a Brexit vote is no passing phase.

The closely-watched Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to levels last seen in February 2013 as it hit 48.2 in July, down from 52.4 in June and below economists’ expectation of 49.1.

A reading above 50 indicates growth. The survey also found that the rate of job losses across the sector was its second sharpest for almost three and a half years.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke argued that now is the time for immediate action.

“At a time of increasing economic uncertainty, these figures should serve as a wake-up call to the government and underline the need for ministers to start pursuing an active industrial strategy,” he said.

“Ministers now need to urgently deliver on Theresa May’s promise of an industrial strategy and should be looking to fast forward major infrastructure projects and ensure they are built with the maximum amount of British-made materials, such as steel.”

Burke said that the long-term health of UK manufacturing should be a top priority in any forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

And within manufacturing, automotive and aerospace will be particularly crucial to the overall success of the UK economy as it treads through the uncertain world that the Brexit vote has created.

“The car industry is so crucial to the wellbeing of the manufacturing economy and has been for the past 8 years,” Burke said. “In fact, if you take away the production figures for the auto and aerospace industry from manufacturing, we really are largely back to where we were in 2008. It’s these two industries that have been driving us forward.”

While there aren’t yet any signs that any of the main car companies are considering leaving the UK, Burke argued that “exports into Europe of UK manufactured vehicles are crucial”.

“So anything that disturbs that relationship will make the main car manufacturers consider their options.”

Just last week, new figures showed that car manufacturing hit a 16-year high in the first half of 2016, with 900,000 cars coming off production lines at UK factories in the first six months of the year, a 13 per cent increase over the same time period in 2015.

Nearly 80 per cent of cars built in UK factories during the first half of the year were exported to other countries, with the EU being the single biggest market.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of car industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said that the latest figures had not taken into account post-referendum uncertainty.

“The latest increase in production output is the result of investment decisions made over a number of years, well before the referendum was even a prospect,” he explained.

“These decisions were based on many factors but primarily on tariff-free access to the single market, economic stability and record levels of productivity from a highly skilled workforce,” he added. “To ensure the sector’s continued growth, and with it the thousands of jobs it supports, these must be priorities in future negotiations.”

And this is precisely what Unite has been calling for.

Unite manufacturing strategy on Brexit

A Unite combine of senior shop stewards from the key manufacturing industries, including automotive, aerospace, engineering, chemicals, science, graphical and steel, among others, are now working to put together a strategy that examines the potential effects of Brexit on manufacturing, Burke explained.

The combine will issue a report in the coming months.

“What we’re saying is not very different from what all the industry associations are saying,” he said.

Like the SMMT and others argue, Unite believes the key to continued success in automotive and other manufacturing sectors is maintaining membership of the single European market, one that’s free of tariffs.

“If we’re faced with tariffs, exporting goods will be more expensive,” Burke noted. “And let’s remember also that tariffs work both ways. For example, although we’ve been calling for more automotive components to be sourced locally from the UK — and we’ve had some success in that endeavour — at this moment in time 60 per cent of component parts are still imported from elsewhere.

“So if we lose tariff-free access to the single market, we’d be doubly hit – cars would be more expensive both to make and to export.”

The Unite manufacturing shop stewards are also calling for careful consideration of precisely what the UK’s trading landscape will look like well before article 50 is triggered, a process which begins the UK’s formal exit from the EU.

“We need to understand what the alternatives are,” Burke said. “We have to have a clear understanding of what other trade deals will look like – and within any new trade deal we will need strong trade defence mechanisms to stop dumping of goods as we currently are facing with steel, tyres, ceramics and paper.”

A Seat At The Table

Unite is looking to hold discussions with European manufacturing unions about the impact of Brexit, with the future of European employment rights for British workers at the centre of those discussions.

Standards that have been adopted across the European Union, which govern various different areas such as car emissions and health and safety will likewise be a top priority.

Crucially, Unite is calling for a seat at the table over any future Brexit negotiations.

“Not only are we the biggest manufacturing union in the UK, we have representatives on European Works Councils throughout manufacturing so reps have a clear understanding of how Europe works and how business works,” Burke noted.

“We are also part of a global union with Workers Uniting, in partnership with the North American trade union United Steelworkers. They have significant experience dealing with trade issues to pass on to us.

“Not least, as the UK’s biggest union with more than 500,000 members in manufacturing alone, we have to defend our members and look after their interests. That’s why it’s crucial in any negotiations that we have a significant say.”

 

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Industrial Strategy – What Is To Be Done?

Professor David Bailey - Aston University

Professor David Bailey – Aston University

By David Bailey, Professor of Industrial Strategy at the Aston Business School

The new government under Theresa May has brought with it a marked change of tone on industrial strategy.

Whereas the last Business Secretary Sajid Javid couldn’t even bring himself to utter the words ‘industrial strategy’, the new Prime Minister Theresa May has emphasised its role.

But what might it mean?

A quick re-cap of where we are may be useful. The last coalition government’s record in relation to industrial strategy was mixed at best. The previous Chancellor George Osborne made promising noises about rebalancing the economy and a “march of the makers”, but much was empty rhetoric.

Some support was made available to rebuilding the UKs fractured supply chains and to encouraging ‘rebalancing’ but the sums on offer were small and failed to match the scale of George Osborne’s hot air.

Indeed, the manufacturing recovery since the financial crisis has been weak, characterised by concerns over its durability centred on fragility in key export markets, low levels of investment spending, concerns over the impact of high energy costs across the sector, and issues of skills and access to finance down the supply chain.

The last government did away with the old Regional Development Agencies and replaced them with the local enterprise partnerships (LEPs). The intention of devolving more power to ground level was laudable, but in practice many powers were initially recentralised and LEPs anyway had insufficient funding.

Their performance has been very mixed. While LEPs in Birmingham and the Black Country have received praise, further afield there is a question mark as to how much LEPs are really doing. In particular, they lack the regional scale to support wider development.

And the coalition government was slow to address the problems that small businesses face in raising finance, largely because the banks are now much more risk-averse. These companies are crucial in  our industrial supply chains. The latter are often fractured leading to final output sucking in components as imports.

Recent governments have also made no attempt to address the UK’s lax takeover rules, which unlike in other countries do very little to protect strategically important businesses from foreign predators.

On the positive side, the last government did introduce a series of so-called Catapults. These are centres where businesses, engineers and scientists work together on late-stage research and development.

The different catapults are each dedicated to different priority areas such as high-value manufacturing, transport systems and offshore renewables. They are about long-term sector development, so it is still too early to judge them, but they look like the right sort of intervention.

Equally encouraging has been the work of the Automotive Council, which started under Labour and which developed under Vince Cable into an effective body in fostering public – private cooperation and discovering knowledge in terms of challenges and opportunities.

The Council’s work has, for example, set out clear priorities for key technologies that need to be developed (such as on powertrains, lightweighting and intelligent mobility) which has both aligned government support and has underpinned business confidence and investment.

More recently, though, Sajid Javid’s tenure over the last year at BIS has been disappointing.  His immediate decision to sell off a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank was an indication of this free-market stance and raised questions about the government’s commitment to the low carbon economy.

The Automotive Council has continued. Critically, though, its work was previously backed up by a range of (modest) interventions to boost skills, rebuild supply chains, and encourage investment in the industry, such as through the Regional Growth Fund, the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, MAS itself, and MAS’ Tooling up Fund to support investment in tools in the Supply Chain. All were scrapped by Javid.

The UK didn’t ‘do’ industrial strategy for many years. It finally got things right in a few sectors on a modest scale and much of this has been tossed aside over the last year through the combined pressures of Osborne’s overblown austerity and Javid’s liberation instincts.

This was a shame as where policy was reasonably well developed, as in the automotive industry, it really did make a difference. For example, interventions like the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and Tooling Up Fund cost small amounts of money in the big scheme of things (£245m and £12m respectively).

Enter, centre stage, the new Business Secretary, Greg Clark. What’s to be done?

Firstly, let’s hope that the government looks again at the LEPs and returns to development bodies that can intervene more widely and strategically at a regional level, and do ‘smart specialisation’ through regional level industrial policies.

Combined Authorities may be one way to do that, and are an area where Clark has much expertise. Beefing up the local growth hubs to fill the vacuum left by the abolition of MAS could be part of this ‘Combined Authority Plus’ model, as would complete devolution of skills funding to the regional level.

Secondly, there’s much more that the government could be doing in really trying to ‘rebalance’ the economy, for example by stimulating investment in manufacturing such as through enhanced capital allowances, by resurrecting something like the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (preferably on a much wider scale), and by plugging funding gaps for small firms in the supply chain.

Thirdly, it should also do something about UK takeover rules to put the country on a level playing field with many of its main competitors.

More broadly, there is a strong case for UK industrial strategy to be afforded an institutional status similar to both UK monetary and fiscal policies. At the very least, it should be the subject of regular strategic long-term reviews. By giving it that sort of priority, the new government would send out the kind of powerful message that British industry badly needs to hear.

On a positive note, the new Business Secretary is perhaps unique in government in bringing with him a welcome devolving instinct that offers the possibility to join up sectoral policy at the national level with place based policy at the regional level.

But let’s hope the new government really is more serious about the need to rebalance the economy than the last one. More rhetoric about the ‘March of the Makers’ won’t be enough.

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Please Support Unite & RMT Members Taking Action On The North Sea

oilplatformUnite and RMT members employed by Woodgroup on Shell oil platforms in the Brent Field on the North Sea are to take strike action on July 26th – the first strike in a generation on the North Sea.

They will also be taking action short of strike action in response to attempts by Woodgroup to cut pay and allowances by 30%.

99.1% of those members voting in the ballot backed strike action, with 99.5% supporting action short of a strike. The turnout was 86.6%. This is a resounding endorsement and support of the action.

The result follows a breakdown in talks at ACAS after Woodgroup showed little willingness to resolve the dispute.

This is the third time that Woodgroup have brought forward proposals on cuts. The ballot result shows quite clearly that Unite members are no longer willing to accept such attacks.

The strike action will be taken across the Shell assets in the Brent Field at the following platforms: Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie.

Unite remains committed to achieving a negotiated settlement in this dispute and will leave the door open for Woodgroup to enter into meaningful negotiations.

Please send messages of support to our members who will be off-shore and on-shore during the strike.

You can do this by emailing a message of support to offshoreunite@gmail.com

Messages will be posted on the Unite Offshore Facebook site facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015

– and on Twitter @offshoreunite and you will be able to keep up with developments through social media.

All messages of support are welcome by our members.

Could you also put the information here on your own Facebook pages.

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Tribute’s to Durham Miners leader Davey Hopper

_90167379_mediaitem90167378Trade union officials and MPs have paid tribute to Davey Hopper of the Durham Miners who died yesterday July 16th and took to the social media to pay tribute to Davey including TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady; Prison officers General Secretary Steve Gilliam; Matt Wrack of the FBU; Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis and former Unison General Secretary Rodney Bickestaffe and Jeremy Corby said that Davey was “a pillar of strength for the working class”

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck and former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, tweeted: “Sad news I’m afraid. My very good friend the legendary Durham Miners general secretary Davey Hopper died this afternoon. RIP comrade & friend”.

Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington, tweeted: “Dave Hopper a colossus of the trade union and labour movement who supported the oppressed & fought for social justice all of his life R.I.P.”

Unite’s Len McCluskey said: “On behalf of Unite the union I offer our deepest, most sincere condolences to Davey’s family, and to all members of the Durham Miners’ Association.

“Hearts will be heavy today as we reflect upon the loss of this brilliant and determined man, a giant of our movement, a man dedicated to justice, equality and the betterment of his community.

“I have lost a great friend but I won’t be alone in remembering Davey with huge affection and admiration. He was a true friend to working people and a proud son of the north east who brought passion and grit to the fight to improve the lives of working people.

“His legacy will, of course, live on in the Gala, the most vibrant union gathering in the world, which thrives because Davey never, ever let us forget that we must celebrate our traditions, we must not lose our history and we must bring our values to all that we seek to achieve today.”

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Statement On Coup In Turkey From Turkish Metal and Manufacturing Workers Union

103407214_turkey-5-news-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAThe following statement has been issued by our comrades in Birlesik Metal IS Turkey.

By Eyup Ozer of Birlesik Metal IS

Secular, Democratic, Independent,  Social State of Law cannot be created by Dictators, it will be creation of workers!

We are going through extraordinary days.

Our country once again came to the verge of a coup d’etat. Starting with yesterday evenning, discussion about a military coup came up. Our country many times has encountered military coups and coup attempts in the past and our country couldn’t recover from the pain and sufferings of these attempts for many years.

Our country paid  very heavy prices for these.

Current anti-democratic governance which ignores rule of law, ignores public opinion and attack worker rights and governs the country for many years has brought our country to the current situation.

Since past, workers and people of the country are the those who gets most damages and paid the heaviest price because of coup d’etats which suspends most basic human rights, destructs freedoms and attacks workers’ rights.

Suspension of Constitution, dismantling of rule of law, suspension of freedoms cannot be acceptable regardless of which kind of juntaist and authoritarian mindset they are coming from.

Working class in Turkey will rebuild secular, democratic, independent, social state of law with determination and common sense.

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