“Tories have been prevented from hitting British workers’ rights”

alan-johnson-pic-dm-7323465681Alan Johnson MP, Chair of Labour In For Britain, commenting on the publication of Donald Tusk’s letter outlining a draft plan for the UK’s membership of the EU, said:

 “Britain’s membership of the EU is much bigger than any changes David Cameron hopes to make.

 “The sooner these reforms are agreed, the sooner we can we can step up the campaign to keep Britain in Europe and end the uncertainty around our EU membership.

 “At the outset of this process, Labour were clear that David Cameron must not use these reforms to damage protections at work guaranteed through our EU membership.

“The Tories have been prevented from hitting British workers’ rights to minimum paid leave, rights for agency workers, guaranteed paid maternity and paternity leave and protection from discrimination.

 “Labour is campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union because our membership brings jobs, prosperity and Britain’s influence in the world as well as protecting British workers and keeping us safe.”

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Trade Unions And The Coming Digital Revolution

Humanoid robots work side by side with employees in the assembly line at a factory in Japan.

Humanoid robots work with employees on the assembly line at a factory in Japan.

Phrases such as ‘Industry 4.0’, ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Internet Of Things’ are now common currency as the predictions of a new digital world and a new world of work.

The coming digital revolution is a hot topic with employers, the media, academics and unions. All are now looking at how the UK will handle the coming challenges that the new digital age will bring and what the world of work will look like in the next ten years.

In November 2015 Andy Haldane the chief economist at the Bank of England told the TUC that 15 million jobs could be ‘hollowed out’ as digitization and robotics are introduced to the UK’s workforce. He told a TUC conference: “Technology appears to be resulting in faster, wider and deeper degrees of hollowing-out than in the past. Why? Because 20th century machines have substituted not just for manual human tasks, but cognitive ones too. The set of human skills machines could reproduce, at lower cost, has both widened and deepened.”

Click to read Andy Haldene’s speech here.

One well publicised statistic is that iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, employing 1.2 million workers, says that robots will replace 30% of workers on their production lines in five years.

The fact is that nobody can accurately predict what the coming digital revolution will bring, or the speed of developments, or what sectors of the economy, jobs and world of work in will be affected.

Haldene did point out that the Bank of England studies show that those jobs with a “high creative and technical content,” and those that heavily draw upon “emotional intelligence,” are “the two classes of employment that are most impervious to the rise of robots.”

These predictions of course are not new. In 2013 Oxford Martin School’s report on the impact of future technology attempted to assess the extent of the threat to employment through technological change. It concluded that 45% of jobs in the UK were at ‘high risk’ of being taken over by computers within the next twenty years – in two stages.

First, computers will start replacing people in areas such as transport, logistics, manufacturing production and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be affected in this first stage.

The report goes onto say that there will be slow down due to bottlenecks in technical areas such engineering. But the prediction is that this will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent on artificial intelligence putting jobs in management, science and engineering and the arts at risk.

However, in manufacturing the use of industrial robots in sectors such as automotive manufacturing is well established, digitally connected production is common place and manufacturing companies are already using 3D printing and remote controlled maintenance.

The development inter-connected vehicles is underway with many companies investing millions in R&D in developing autonomous vehicles – Apple are working on a driverless vehicle as are Ford and others.

 So what made Andy Haldene’s prediction such big news?

 First off – the speed of the growth of the digital and connected world is accelerating. The digital world is already having significant effects on the economy and jobs.

 eFiYVJzA recent presentation by IBM illustrated the current impact of the digital world – called “The Digital Disruption Has Already Happened” – pointing out that the worlds largest taxi company owns no taxis (Uber); the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate (Airbandb); the largest phone companies own no telco infrastructure (Skye, WeChat); the world’s largest valuable retailer owns no inventory (Alibaba); the world’s most popular media owner creates no content (Facebook); the fastest growing banks have no actual money (Society One); the world’s largest movie house owns no cinema’s (Netflix); the world’s largest software vendor’s don’t write the apps (Apple and Google). Add to that other emerging platforms and you can see what they are getting at.

We could argue we have seen it all before. Remember the dot.com bubble when internet companies were worth billions as investors poured money into them – only to see many of them crash and burn and or get taken over – anyone remember My Space, Boo.Com, Broadcast.com, anyone ever remember their Compuserve number?

The most popular phrase for the digital revolution is Industry 4.0 – based on a simple explanation that Industry 1.0 got it all going in with machines powered by water or steam – creating the industrial revolution; Industry 2.0 developed mass production powered by electricity; Industry 3.0 was driven by the use of electronics and information technology and Industry 4.0 represents the new digital, cyber-physical connected age.

In Germany the IG Metall union (engineering and manufacturing union) is now working on how the new digital age will affect their members and employment structures in a country with employment based on co-determination and tight regulation in the workplace.

The union is examining how workers will adapt and how the union can organise ‘click workers’ or ‘cloud workers’ who will be outside of the their normal structures.

They are looking at (among other things) how to deal with the new flexible working patterns; the replacement of human work; 3D Printing; the extended use of cloud computing and crowd sourcing; computer based support for decision making; paperless logistics and the optimization of production using ‘big data’.

Equally they highlighting the dangers of the digital revolution of creating more precarious work; a race to the bottom in social standards; the elimination work through the use of robotics and the monitoring of behavior patterns and performance and individual flexibility – what IG Metall described as the ‘dark side’.

In order to get ahead of the game the German Federation Of Industries, IG Metall and the Government developed – in 2014 – an alliance dubbed ‘The Future Of Industry’. Each side has their own concerns. The employers say industry is facing a fourth industrial revolution, driven by the Internet, allowing for the physical and virtual worlds to merge. They want Germany to be ahead of the game.

 IG Metall says the technology must not control people. “Every second job is at risk and is putting employment, skills, training, flexible working and organizing new workers at the top of the agenda”.

The group has begun its work and working groups are now developing a ‘consistent agenda of medium and long term prospects for industries future’.

The global union IndustriALL which covers manufacturing produced an interesting peice on Industry 4.0 which contains quotes from IG Metall official Christian Brunkhorst on the effect it will have on the German automotive industry. Click here to read it.

So what about the UK? The Government began a consultation in December last year asking for ideas and comment – with lots of stuff about “setting the digital agenda” and the ‘smartphone state”.

Cover Page from Digital New World11-25076Unite submitted its own document drawn up by members working in the IT sector and called ‘A Digital New World’ which set out what unions need to be demanding from the digital revolution – skills; training and re-training to make sure low skilled workers do not lose out; avoiding the race to the bottom, decent employment rights.

Click on the above link or the graphic to download the Unite document,

As in German unions will have to reach out and organize ‘click workers’ and workers who will have already adapted to new patterns and forms of work including flexible working patterns, self-employment or project workers.

Unions’ bargaining agenda’s will have to include employment protection, working hours and patterns, skills and retraining opportunites.

Whilst the Government boasts of the UK being at the front of the digital revolution little or nothing is being said about jobs and the impact of the digital revolution and how we protect workers who maybe displaced by technology.

There will be massive impact on employment, working conditions, rights at work and on trade unions. We must not miss the opportunity to influence the way the digital revolution will effect workers and the future of work.

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CTUF – IER Spring Rally – February 11th

SPRING RALLY FINAL

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EEF Manufacturing Survey – Another ‘Wake-Up’ Call For Government Says Unite

130102011020-us-ism-manufacturing-monster_0Today’s (Monday 11th January) annual survey by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF is yet another a wake-up call for the government said Britain’s largest union, Unite as it warned manufacturers against breaking up skilled workforces and trying to impose lower pay and conditions.

A key driver to the UK economy, manufacturing directly employs 2.6 million workers and accounts for 54 per cent of UK exports. Unite warned that a lack of a coherent industrial strategy from the government was holding back the sector and jeopardising thousands of highly skilled well paid jobs.

Commenting Tony Burke Unite assistant general secretary with responsibility for manufacturing said: “The EEF’s survey is yet another wake up call to the government. We saw in the steel sector the consequences of not having an integrated strategy for manufacturing – the plant at Redcar closed and with it a national asset and over 2,000 skilled jobs were lost along with thousands more in the supply chain.

“Manufacturing is the greatest creator of wealth this country has. The government needs to stop sloganeering and do some serious work to support manufacturers like governments in our competitor nations such as Germany do.

“Unite would also caution employers against breaking up skilled workforces and trying to impose lower pay and conditions as the answer to the dilemmas facing manufacturing. We know from past experience that those employers who engage the workers and their unions to face them are the ones still standing once the storm passes.

“Crying wolf over being forced to make marginal improvements to low wages such as the introduction of the national living wage will not be appreciated by a workforce that has put its shoulder to the wheel through some very tough times since 2008. Rightly, they will be asking why so many big companies are sitting on cash reserves instead of investing for growth.

“We have been here before with the minimum wage and no jobs were lost over what was arguably a far more demanding pay improvement than Osborne’s effort which will only apply to the over-25s.”

Also click here for previous blog and EEF report on predicted manufacturing job losses.

For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.

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Manufacturing – Big Job Losses Predicted For 2016

130102011020-us-ism-manufacturing-monster_0The EEF (Engineering Employers Federation) is predicting big job losses in UK manufacturing during 2016 – despite the success of the UK automotive, aerospace and pharma sectors.

Their latest report says British manufacturers will shed tens of thousands of jobs next year as they battle a tough export market. The predicted job cuts in the UK steel sector and a continuing drop in demand from the North Sea oil industry – with the price of oil not expcted to reach $50 a barrel for sometime – are taking their toll.

Although the EEF says manufacturing may “shrug off” the 2015 recession only modest growth is expected in in 2016 with a potential sharp downtown in the Chinese economy – which may effect other economies.

The report is another blow to the Government. The re-balancing of the economy has not happened – the UK economy still floats on a bed of personal debt and credit and an over reliance on the service sector.

The lack of an industrial strategy to help companies in engineeering and the supply chain and the failure of the Government to react quickly enough to the steel crisis – eventually being forced to step in to help the beleaugred sector has created uncertainty among manufacturers.

Osborne’s continued boasts of a ‘recovery’ are looking increasingly threadbare. The ‘March of The Makers” stalled and never got going and the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is under-water.

EEF says the main drivers behind overall manufacturing growth of 0.8% in 2016, are the automotive, pharma and aerospace sectors.

“Some of the headwinds have been a consistent theme over 2015 – the collapse in oil and gas activity, weakness in key export markets, and strong sterling. Others, like disappointing construction activity and the breakdown in the steel industry, have piled on the pain since the second quarter of 2015,” said EEF’s chief economist, Lee Hopley, in the report.

“It’s not all doom and gloom however, with the resilience of the transport sectors and the rejuvenation of the pharmaceuticals industry providing reasons for cheer in UK manufacturing.”

The Office for National Statistics pared back its estimate for gross domestic product in July to September – and said activity had also been weaker in the previous three months. Household spending was the main driver of growth while the manufacturing sector contracted and a weak trade performance also dragged on growth.

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Greece: #ThisIsACoup – Watch the documentary here.

CWC1b3eWIAARJa0-1Director Theopi Skarlatos and producer Paul Mason present #ThisIsACoup, a four-part documentary series telling the story of how the European Union destroyed the first radical left government in modern history.

#ThisIsACoup – Episode One: “Angela, Suck Our Balls”

With the clash with the lenders on hold, some Greeks take to the streets to organize resistance. As the crunch looms, Tsipras predicts they will run out of money by the end of May. Almost on cue, Syriza defaults on its debt to the IMF and the “rupture” begins.

#ThisIsACoup – Episode Two: To Pay or Not To Pay?

The crunch is here. A new bank run is draining the banks, while the state is almost out of cash. Against all odds Tsipras wins a crushing referendum victory, but as they celebrate, finance minister Varoufakis is sacked. What will Tsipras do next?

#ThisIsACoup – Episode Three: OXI – The Greek Word for “No”

Despite a historic twitter protest involving up to a billion people, a new austerity deal is signed. In an exclusive first English interview since the climb-down Tsipras gives his own explanation of why things went wrong.

#ThisIsACoup – Episode Four: Surrender or Die

Theopi Skarlatos talks with Eric Hynes about her four-part series for Field of Vision, which examines life under austerity in Greece, the country’s confrontation with the EU, and the emotional turmoil accompanying political change.

Interview with Theopi Skarlatos, Director of #ThisIsACoup

Recounting the moment last January when the leftist Syriza party was elected to power in Greece, Paul Mason said, “I knew it would be the most important political crisis of my life.”

Interview with Paul Mason, Producer of #ThisIsACoup

 

 

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Government ‘not alert to UK steel industry crisis warnings’, says Business Committee

save-our-steel-march-127520964The Government was not ‘alert enough’ to the warning bells sounded by UK steel industry, says the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee in a report published today.

The BIS Committee found that while the Government identified the steel industry as of vital importance, Whitehall did not have effective warning systems in place to detect and address mounting problems in the industry. The Committee also found that a lack of action at EU level, and a failure by UK Governments to push for EU action, helped leave the UK heavily exposed to Chinese dumping, a global oversupply of steel, and a ‘perfect storm’ of difficulties for the industry.

Iain Wright MP - Chair of the BIS Select Committee

Iain Wright MP – Chair of the BIS Select Committee

Iain Wright MP, Chair of the BIS Committee said: “In recent months, a series of site closures and job losses at sites including in Redcar, Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, have dealt a major blow to the UK Steel industry. The steel industry is now on the verge of terminal decline. For too long the Government failed to be alert to the alarms raised by the industry and act at home to maintain a steel industry in the UK when other European countries were acting to safeguard their own strategic steel industries. Industry isn’t looking for a hand-out, it’s looking for a level-playing field: for too long there was little action from the Government, with some asks from the industry taking years, if at all, to deliver.”

The Committee finds that the prospects of future growth in steel sector have been severely damaged by the irrevocable loss of capacity and skills. Thousands of jobs have already been lost and more will go as a result of the impact on businesses in associated supply chains. The Committee regrets that, given the importance with which Ministers themselves have held the steel industry, Ministers were not able to give more attention to investigating the potential for maintaining existing facilities and preserving the skills base.

Iain Wright MP, Chair, said: “The Government have now woken up to the steel crisis and have begun to take action. But this recent activity still needs to translate to concrete results for the industry and the communities they sustain.  The Government have relied on crisis management rather than ongoing engagement with the steel industry; they now need to commit to taking the necessary measures to ensure a sustainable future. Steel is a strategic industry and Ministers have recognised its strategic importance.  The inaction with steel doesn’t bode well for other strategic industries if they were to face a crisis. Lessons need to be learned from steel. The Government therefore needs to take a far more active approach in the future in assisting British industries and manufacturing”.

The report finds that the Government’s initial response to the closure of the SSI plant at Redcar focussed on compensating those affected rather than seeing what could be done to save the plant. Once facilities have been closed, it is unrealistic to expect them to be recoverable, a view which the Minister did not dissent from. The costs of clean up are likely to be large.

Iain Wright MP, Chair, said: “My concern is that the Government should have explored much more thoroughly options to keep the Redcar plant open to retain the industrial assets and the skills rather than washing its hands too quickly, allowing it to close down and inflict severe damage on future manufacturing capability. Failure to consider effective mothballing not only undermines capability for the UK steel industry in the future but could cost the taxpayer a fortune in clean-up costs. This approach is concerning should other vital plants the UK steel industry also face closure as a result of the global pressures on the industry. ”

The report calls on the Government to act quickly on the steel industry’s ‘five asks’ issues but is clear that the issue of Chinese dumping will need to be resolved to allow the UK steel industry to have a viable, sustainable future.

The BIS Committee calls on the Government to now work with industry to consider the extent to which the success of other core sectors is threatened as a result of domestic policy decisions as opposed to global market pressures. The Committee also urges the Government to set out what mechanisms it will put in place to maintain close links with key sectors and how it will ensure it can act at an early stage to avoid the damage suffered by the UK steel industry being experienced by other key sectors.

Unite national officer for Metals and Steel Harish Patel said: “Unite echoes many of the findings of the BiS select committee. Inaction by the government at an industry wide level and a failure to intervene at SSI in Redcar has seen a needless loss of skills to the steel industry and left many families facing an uncertain future. Our steel industry is a strategic asset to our economy and needs to be at the heart of an active industrial strategy. Government ministers have no time to waste and need to turn words into action to secure the future of the steel industry and avoid being seen as doing too little, too late.”

 

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NLRB to Issue Complaint Alleging Four-Month ATI Lockout is Illegal

Workers Uniting - Unite members join USW members locked out by AT! in Brenenridge, PA.

Workers Uniting – Unite members join USW members locked out by AT! in Brekenridge, PA.

The United Steelworkers (USW) union was informed today by Region 6 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Pittsburgh that the regional director will issue a complaint in the four-month-long Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) lockout alleging, in the absence of a settlement, that the lockout has been illegal since its Aug. 15, 2015, inception.

The remedy for the company’s violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) would be to require ATI to make whole all 2,200 locked-out workers for any losses since the beginning of the lockout, including wages and benefits, and to require the company to bargain a new contract in good faith.

“For many years, we had a very good working relationship with ATI, among the best we have had with any employer,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “It’s long past time for this company to get back to that spirit of cooperation, to return to the bargaining table and settle a fair contract.”

The NLRB complaint will allege, in part, that ATI bargained in bad faith, both before and during the lockout. The complaint will also allege that ATI unlawfully locked out workers to support the company’s bad faith bargaining positions and permissive demands at its plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Under the NLRA, a company is prohibited from locking out workers over permissive demands, which are bargaining demands that do not relate to terms and conditions of employment.

ATI stopped bargaining on August 6th and presented the union with a “last, best and final” contract offer. At the same time, it demanded that the union accept it and recommend it to the membership by Aug. 10. When the union would not succumb to this unlawful ultimatum, the company locked out the workers.

In Oregon, ATI locked out USW-represented workers after the union would not agree to the unlawful demand that its contract offer be ratified by only the Oregon plant’s members, which would be a violation of the parties’ contract requiring pooled ratification by all the plants in the bargaining unit.

The complaint will be heard before an administrative law judge. No date has been set for that hearing.

“In all my years as a negotiator, I have never seen a company engage in such obvious bad-faith bargaining,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who leads the union’s negotiations with ATI. “We are delighted that the regional director agreed with us on every major point that we made.”

ATI began planning for the lockout in January — months before contract negotiations began — when management hired outside consultants to recruit replacement workers and forced union members to sit through captive-audience meetings aimed at intimidating them into accepting concessions.

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Skilled trades workers vote for UAW recognition at VW

NXqgEpKThe US trade union movement had some good news last week when skilled-trades workers at Volkswagen’s U.S. assembly plant in Chatanooga, Tennessee voted for union representation and collective bargaining by the United Autoworkers.

The workers who repair and maintain machinery and robots at the factory voted 108 to 44, or 71% to have the UAW negotiate collective bargaining deals on their behalf.

Twenty months ago the UAW lost a ballot across the whole of the workforce for union recognition at the plant following a campaign by right wing politicians to get workers to vote against union representation, despite the fact that the VW management had agreed to a German style works council structure at the plant.

Workers at the plant were subject to a media blitz by right wing politicians who issued misleading statements including threats that if they voted for union representation VW would pull out of the state.

The tight vote – workers voted 712 – 626 against – meant that the UAW (working with Germany’s IG Metalworker’s union) had to re-think their strategy which has involved in setting up a UAW local branch to establish the union on the ground.

The UAW said they were confident that this group of Volkswagen skilled trades workers in Tennessee would vote in favour of union representation despite a planned appeal by Volkswagen of a federal labour ruling allowing the smaller group of workers to seek to join a union rather than requiring a vote by all 1,400 hourly employees.

Ray Curry, director of UAW Region 8 commended Volkswagen employees for exercising their rights in a representation election. “Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga have had a long journey in the face of intense political opposition, and they have made steady progress,” he said in a statement. “We’re proud of their courage and persistence. We urge Volkswagen to respect the decision of its employees and recognize the local union as the representative of the skilled trades unit.”

Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW urged Volkswagen to drop its plans to appeal the outcome of the election. The NLRB had ruled in favor of the UAW and ordered an election for 160 skilled trades employees rejecting an attempt by the company to block the election

Whilst this is a small victory it comes less than a month after the UAW secured new contracts General Motors, Ford’s and Fiat Chrysler.

The 2015 round of negotiations between union and big three Detroit automakers revealed workers frustrations but ultimately the deals left workers with pay increases and more job security – at least the next four years.

Fiat Chrysler workers rejected the first proposed deal before approving an improved second offer. The majority of workers at General Motors accepted a deal but skilled trades workers opposed it and caused a week-long delay before the deal was ratified. Ford workers narrowly passed their four-year pact by 51.4%.

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British labor organizers hit picket lines with locked-out ATI workers

unite-0033_22841035143_o

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, 12:31 a.m.

 Locked-out steelworkers at the Allegheny Technologies Inc. plant in Harrison learned first hand Tuesday about labor struggles in Great Britain.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 1196 in Brackenridge, locked out of the ATI plant since Aug. 15, hosted a group of nine officials from UNITE, the biggest labor union in Great Britain and Ireland, with 1.4 million members.

“Them coming here was their expression of support and solidarity for us,” said Fran Arabia, USW Local 1196 president.

The UNITE officials’ visit came about two weeks after Arabia and former Local 1196 president Walt Hill visited Great Britain at the invitation of the USW International.

They spoke at a rally in Sheffield, England, where ATI has a steel plant, telling them about the lockout that has idled 2,200 workers at 13 ATI Flat-Rolled Products plants in six states. The Sheffield plant is not affected.

unite-0068_22841066823_oTony Burke, assistant general secretary for UNITE, said it and the USW, the largest private sector labor union in North America, in 2008 formed an international union called Workers Uniting. Workers Uniting includes more than 3 million active and retired workers in Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Ireland.

Burke said that kind of clout is needed in today’s world.

“If you are a small union trying to survive, you’ve got no chance in a global economy,” he said.

Burke said the UNITE contingent was here for a conference with USW officials in Pittsburgh and wanted to visit Local 1196 and the picket lines at the Harrison plant after hearing about the lockout from Arabia and Hill.

Also, they viewed the plaque on Outlook Street in Harrison marking the area where labor martyr Fannie Sellins was murdered by police while organizing coal miners in 1919.

unite-0078_23442060136_o“They came to our facility because of the story we told them, and that’s why I was honored,” Arabia said. “They could have gone anywhere, but they came here.”

Burke said UNITE’s membership includes workers in 20 sectors of the economy with 450,000 in manufacturing, which includes the steel industry.

He said problems facing the steel industry in Britain and Ireland are directly related to steel dumping by Chinese companies, which also has adversely impacted U.S. steel companies and their workers.

“This Chinese steel is just undercutting everybody,” Burke said.

He said several companies have left or are leaving the industry. He mentioned the shuttering of the Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK (SSI) plant in Redcar, which eliminated 2,200 jobs. Burke said UNITE has been trying to get the British government to intervene in order to save such steel-making plants.

“We argue that without having a strong manufacturing base, you can’t have a strong economy. And you can’t have a strong manufacturing base without a strong steel industry,” Burke said. “The problem is: you have a conservative British government that just doesn’t get that.”

unite-0083_23468229605_oAlso, he said UNITE and the USW have been actively opposing a proposal by the European Union to give China favored nation status.

That would eliminate tariffs on Chinese imports.

“If they are allowed to trade freely, without tariffs, they’ll destroy the European manufacturing economy,” Burke said.

He said the political situations in the four countries represented by Workers Uniting and how they are developing in regard to the steel industry was one of the topics discussed at the conference Monday.

Also, Burke said officials and members of Workers Uniting are networking via social media, sharing information and expertise on issues such as employment issues, steel issues and free trade.

The idea is to help generate pressure from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on the American, British, Irish and Canadian governments in regard to those issues and others to get positive results.

“It’s not just, ‘Let’s get together and have a beer or a cup of tea,’ ” Burke said. “It’s hard work.”

Members of Local 1196 who mingled with their guests were appreciative of their support.

“It’s a hell of a nice gesture to see somebody come all the way across the pond and share our pain,” said Rich Fontana of Vandergrift.

Joe Lane of Allegheny Township said, “The solidarity and the support is great. They may not all be in the steel industry, but we are all in this together.”

“It’s good that they want to show their solidarity,” said Kirby DeCroo Jr. of Buffalo Township as he stood on a picket line outside the plant.

“I wish it made a difference with the company, but they don’t care,” he said.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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