Well worth reading. An interesting paper produced by David Bailey, Gill Bentley, Alex de Ruyter and Stephen Hall.
Well worth reading. An interesting paper produced by David Bailey, Gill Bentley, Alex de Ruyter and Stephen Hall.
At the very time when manufacturing should be expanding its share of UK GDP, its contribution is now lower than in 2010. Evidence suggests that our ‘foundation industries’, the industrial heartland of UK manufacturing, are facing a steeper decline than manufacturing as a whole.
Our ‘foundation industries’ – iron and steel making, chemicals, petroleum products, pulp and paper, ceramics, brick, glass, cement, basic and precious metals and related products – are shedding jobs and business capacity at a disturbing rate, with a net loss of over 1,000 enterprises and 36,000 jobs (one in seven of their workforce) between 2008-2013.
The UK’s Foundation Industries currently comprise a group of over 5,000 businesses with 210,000 employees across the UK – and more than four times this number in their extensive national supply chains.There appears to be an emerging consensus that ‘unprotected’ government departments face major cuts in the new Parliament.
But this is exactly at the time when a new era of government-led investment should be driving investment in low carbon technologies. In March 2015, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills published eight sector ‘Roadmaps to 2050′ for energy intensive industries. They show that a multibillion technology investment programme is required for their transition to a low carbon economy. Three issues for government stand out: support for industrial carbon capture & storage; innovation clusters focussed on energy efficiency and recovering heat from industrial processes, not wasting it; and where industries have technology and investment needs in common, creating new regional strategies in our industrial heartlands.
Foundation industries in 2013:
Our energy intensive industries have been at a sustained competitive disadvantage due to the relatively high cost of the UK’s energy and its climate change policies compared with our EU and non-EU competitors. In Walking the carbon tightrope, the TUC suggested that ‘the government has not struck the right balance’ between industrial competitiveness and energy policies. The loss of jobs and manufacturing capacity among our foundation industries is slipping towards a new phase of industrial decline which will require a new vision for manufacturing in a low carbon world in order to be reversed.
As we argued in ‘Building our low carbon industries’, it remains the case that an ambitious government-led strategy is required, combining green innovation with measures to support these industries’ commitments to decarbonisation in the transition to a low carbon economy.
Download at the link below the excellent United Steelworkers Newsletter for Chemical Workers : Chemical Solutions Issue 2 with articles on Health & Safety, Dow, BSAF etc
The company says it will recognise the union in Kenya if it gains 50%+1 of the workforce. However at local management level seem to be determined to ensure the union does not reach this level.
An ITF Monitoring Team, has been sent to Kenya and have noted a planned and concerted attack on union organising.
The local company management has so far:
On 1st April, the ITF Team met with the top management of Agility Kenya, led by its CEO, Ali Saibaba Kola who was accompanied by his HR, transport operations and finance managers. Regrettably, however, the ITF’s offer to assist developing productive industrial relations which did not involve both parties becoming embroiled in a series of court cases was not taken up, and a constructive way forward was not found.
They insisted that the union must reach the threshold of recruiting 50%+1 of the employees as prescribed in Kenyan labour law.
It is clear that as the union is getting close to the 50%+1 mark, the company is becoming more desperate in their attempts to prevent this level being reached.
Recent reports say that truck drivers in Kenya working for Agility global integrated logistics were beaten, abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive their trucks to a company workshop. One driver stated: “I knew they wanted us dead”.
This police brutality follows protests by some 80 Kenyan truckers forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours in Maungu, near Voi and Mai Mahiu. The truckers’ strike action has paralysed Kenya’s northern corridor. All they want is for Agility to recognise their union and treat them with respect.
ITF affiliates (including Unite in the UK) are supporting the campaign and was part of the ITF team who visited Kenya. Belgian ITF affiliate BTB is sending a delegation to Kenya during the last week of April.
Please support the ITF and the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers’ Union and the workers in Agility, as they seek to establish union recognition, collective bargaining and decent working conditions in the industry.
Join the LabourStart campaign by clicking here and send your protest messages to the management.
On March 9th US President Obama signed an executive order declaring “a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela” and imposed a further round of sanctions on the country. This has been condemned by major regional bodies in Latin America and the Caribbean, governments all over the world and much of global civil society, including the ITUC and numerous other trade union bodies.
We the undersigned – representatives of trade unions and working people in the UK – stand in solidarity with Venezuela’s unions of Railway workers, Urban and transport workers, Oil and electric workers, Education, Public Sector and Health workers, and Construction Workers who have organised mobilisations over the last month saying ‘Venezuela is not a Threat – We are Hope’ and ‘Obama – Repeal the Executive Order.’
Venezuela is not a threat to the U.S or any other country – instead it offers hope, including through some of the most advanced legislation regarding trade union and labour rights in the world.
We support the international ‘Obama – Repeal the Executive Order’ campaign and will continue to both support the advances in social progress and workers’ rights that have taken place in Venezuela in recent years, and oppose US sanctions against Venezuela.
1. Len McCuskey,General Secretary, Unite the Union
2. Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign Vice-Chair
3. Doug Nicholls,General Secretary,General Federation of Trade Union & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign EC
4. Billy Hayes,General Secretary,Communciation Workers Union
5. Mick Cash,General Secretary,Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union (RMT)
6. Manuel Cortes,General Secretary,Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA)
7. Mick Whelan,General Secretary,ASLEF
8. John Smith,General Secretary, Musicians Union
9. Owen Tudor, Head of European Union and International Relations, Trade Union Congress (TUC)
10. Roger McKenzie,Assistant General Secretary, UNISON
11. Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary,National Union of Teachers
12. Gail Cartmail,Assistant General Secretary,Unite the Union
13. Steve Turner,Assistant General Secretary,Unite the Union
14. Andy Kerr,Deputy General Secretary,Communication Workers Union
15.Hugh Scullion,General Secretary, CSEU (Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions)
16. Dave Green, National Officer, Fire Brigades Union
17. Tom Jones,,Thompsons Solicitors & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign EC
18. Moz Greenshields, TUC Joint Consultative Committee
19. Joe Gluza, NEC Member, University & College Union (UCU)
20. Terry Hoad, University & College Union (UCU) NEC Member & Former President,
21. Mark Lyon, Chair, International Committee & EC Member, Unite the Union
22. Seán McGovern, Co-Chair, Trade Union Congress Disabled Members Committee & Unite Executive Council Member (Disabled Workers Representative)
23. Ged Dempsey, Executive Council Member, Unite the Union
24. Andy Green, Executive Council Member, Unite the Union
25. Tommy Murphy, Executive Council Member, Unite the Union & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign EC
26. Maggie Ryan, Executive Council Member, Unite the Union
27. Simon Dubbins, Director of International, Unite the Union
28. Siobhan Endean, National Officer for Equalities, Unite the Union
29. Adrian Weir, Assistant Chief of Staff, Unite the Union
30. Martin Mayer, Chair, United Left in Unite the Union
31. Jane Carolan, NEC Member, UNISON
32. Stephen Kennedy, NEC Member, UNISON & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign EC
33. Max Watson, NEC Member, UNISON
34. Carl Maden, Communciation Workers Union NEC member
35. Peter Pinkney, President, RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport Union)
36. Karen Mitchell, Legal Officer & Solicitor, Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union (RMT)
37. Andy Bain, Treasurer, TSSA
38. Marie Taylor, Chair,Community & Youth Workers Section, Unite the Union
39. Enrico Tortolano, Research & Policy Officer, PCS & Tribune Latin America Correspondent
40. Denis Doody, UCATT Regional Secretary, Northern Region
41. Bernard Regan, Chair,South East Region Trade Union Congress International Committee & Cuba Solidarity Campaign National Secretary
42. Jayne Fisher,Vice Chair, South East Region Trade Union Congress International Committee
43. Kevan Nelson,Regional Secetary, North West Region,UNISON
44. Dominic MacAskill, Head of Local Government,Wales/Cyrmu UNISON
45. Phil Thompson, Secretary of International Committee, UNISON Greater London Region
46. Kev Terry, Chair, South West Region, Unite the Union
47. Mike Hedges, Vice Chair, Passenger National Industrial Sector Committee, Unite the Union
48. Jim Buckley,Regional Officer,Unite the Union
49 Dave Lovelidge, National Industrial Sector Committee & Regional Industrial Sector Committee (South East), GPMIT Sector
50. Phil McGarry, Political Officer,Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union (RMT), Scotland
Tweet your support using the hashtag: #venezuelaisnotathreat #obamarepealtheexecutiveorder
Here is an edited version of Labour’s ‘A Better Plan For Britain’s Workplaces’, produced by Unite.
The central task for the next Labour government is to build an economy that creates better and more secure jobs and stop the Tory race to the bottom. This race to the bottom is the key factor behind the UK’s low level of investment, training and productivity relative to other advanced economies. Working people are suffering from reduced wages; low pay and insecurity are in turn driving higher government spending on social security to top up wages and reduced income from tax receipts.
Labour will crack down on the worst abuses in our labour market and the first Queen’s Speech will include:
In the last five years working people have experienced the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since the 1870s.
Labour plan for Britain’s workplaces is to:
In the long term, economic success will be rooted in high skill, high investment strategies. And Labour recognises that Trade Unions are an essential force for a decent society and as guarantors of jobs and wages.
Just got this from the USW: From Dave Martin of USW Local 8-719 at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky: “Contract passed. We will start the process of returning to work Monday and take the operations over on Saturday, 4/11/15.”
Locations left in the unfair labor practice strike:
BP Whiting, Indiana; BP Toledo, Ohio; Marathon Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City; Marathon Green Power Co-generation Plant; LyondellBasell refinery in Houston
Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas; Motiva refinery in Norco, Louisiana; Motiva refinery in Convent, Louisiana; Shell chemical plant in Norco, Louisiana; Shell Deer Park refinery in Deer Park, Texas; Shell Deer Park chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas; Tesoro Anacortes refinery in Anacortes, Washington; Tesoro Martinez (Golden Eagle) refinery in Martinez, California (near San Francisco); Tesoro Carson refinery in Carson, California (near Los Angeles); Marathon Catlettsburg, Kentucky, refinery
Solidarity with those USW members still on strike.
Send messages of support to those on strike to email@example.com
Unite London hotel and hospitality workers are protesting against Fast Food giant McDonalds on the morning of April 15th – the international day of action in solidarity with fast food workers in the USA and all over the world.
Where and when: Marble Arch, 10.30am
This industry is rife with low pay, abuse, workplace injuries and a lack of dignity at work.
We echo our #FightFor15 comrades in the USA who have organised over 190 strikes across the country in saying “SHOW ME $15 AND A UNION” and “LOW PAY IS NOT OK”. We are inspired by their courage and their movement.
We link their fight with ours in the UK where fast food workers are on poverty wages and face the same risks and lack of respect.
Join us, it’ll be fun. We will have a clown theme going on.
We’ll also be joined by our friends in the BFAWU Hungry for Justice campaign and we will be joining their action later. UNITY IS STRENGTH.
For details click on the Facebook site
There has been increasing media coverage about the UK’s growing ‘productivity gap’ in the last few weeks, but why is it important? The shaky and unsustainable return to growth experienced over the last year has not produced the improvement in living standards many were hoping for. The inherent structural weaknesses in the economy that were a major cause of the economic crash of 2008 remain very much the same today.
Productivity is one of the main ways of measuring the health of the economy and year after year from 2007, UK productivity levels have fallen behind other comparable economies such as France and Germany, with productivity growth now the weakest since the Second World War.
Government has the power to enact a range of economic policies that will have a real impact on the lives of ordinary people and their prospects for the future. A responsible attitude towards the economy is desperately needed and this briefing sets out what productivity is, why everyone is talking about it and what actions are needed from the next government.
So what is productivity?
Productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is how employees’ ‘output’ at work is measured over a given period of time and is influenced by investment in machinery or training that allow workers to be more productive.
UK productivity (GDP per hour) and income grew faster than in France, Germany and the United States between 1979 and 2008, reversing a century of relative decline. However UK productivity stagnated after the Recession of 2008-09 and remains about 15% below historical trends. This is due to a mixture of cyclical and structural effects but austerity policies have made things worse.
According to the latest ONS figures, UK productivity growth is the weakest it’s been since the second world war. Productivity decreased by 0.2% in the third quarter of the last financial year, leaving output per hour worked 17% lower than in 2007.
The poor performance in recent years has widened a longstanding productivity gap between the UK and other countries. UK GDP per hour is currently around 17% below the G7 average.
Why does it matter?
Productivity has a direct correlation with wages. If output is higher, all things being equal, workers are paid more. As a result of the UK’s poor productivity, businesses have sought to keep their costs in check by keeping a lid on their wage bills.
Wage stagnation combined with growing inflation over the last 5 years has led to a sharp fall in living standards for millions of working people.
The weakness of productivity is a direct result of the government’s austerity policies. Austerity has reduced demand and economic growth and the labour market has adjusted to this weaker growth through severe cuts in wages and the quality and security of work.
Employment growth, often only part-time and via ‘zero hours’ contracts, has been concentrated in the lowest–skilled, lowest-paid jobs.
Unless we can improve productivity, wages will remain low, living standards will continue to suffer and tax revenues will struggle to improve.
The UK has a poor productivity record which is linked in large part to poor investment by both public and private sectors. If our infrastructure had matched that of other leading global economies during the first decade of the 21st century economic growth could have been 5% higher to the benefit of millions of working people and their families.
Under the Coalition, investment levels plummeted. Public investment halved in the first 2 years of this parliament alone.
What action can be taken?
Major investment in infrastructure
Developing large-scale infrastructure projects (transport, utilities and connectivity) and creating a National Infrastructure Bank will benefit the wider economy as well as improve productivity.
Investment in training and skills
Productivity can be improved through investing in developing the skills of staff through apprenticeships or training. Current schemes are failing to provide the training and apprenticeships that are needed to fill the growing skills gap. In 2014 the number of people starting apprenticeships fell by 70,000 and there were 6,000 fewer 19 to 24-year-olds starting new apprenticeships.
An end to austerity
Just a 1% increase in public sector pay would inject between £470 and £880 million of extra value into the economy and enable much needed government investment.
A Living Wage
Higher wages not only benefit workers, they can also incentivise investment and training, enabling workers to deliver higher outputs above their wage increases and thereby also generating profits. If everyone was paid a Living Wage or above the Treasury would gain an additional £3.6 billion a year.