Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fly away, you Union cunts

I am not a fan of everything that Margaret Thatcher did, but she should go down in history as a hero for her breaking of the Unions. Had she not done so, not only would our economic situation be far worse than it currently is—more akin to 1978/79's Winter of Discontent—but you could be facing the daily intimidation that is being doled out to some BA cabin crew.
The emails, posted late on Friday evening, were chillingly concise and their content clear: "If any of you go into work tomorrow, your life won't be worth living,'' one read.

Hours earlier, as the news spread among British Airways cabin crew that last ditch talks between the airline and the hard-line union Unite had failed, a tirade of malicious text messages had been fired off to specifically targeted staff – those brave enough to have voiced contempt for the union militants – telling them they were "scrum" [sic] and "scabs" if they crossed the picket line to begin their shifts on Saturday.

"Suzy" wasn't surprised when copies landed in her in-box and on her mobile phone.

Inside Heathrow, [Suzy] says, menace and unease are everywhere. When BA suggests a new service Unite generally instructs its members to ignore it.

"Ridiculous things,'' Suzy says. "We were asked to distribute hot towels on short haul. Unite said no. We got on board and everyone was in a state.

"Do we give them out or not? Usually workers—quite rightly—fear not doing what the boss asks. But we are just as frightened not to do what the union asks."

In the 1970s and early 1980s, this kind of treatment would apply in almost any job; the majority of the workforce was unionised. In some businesses, the unions operated a "closed shop": if you weren't part of the union, you lost your job (or would never get it in the first place).

Last year, British Airways made a loss of £401 million: the airline is currently losing more than £1 million—every, single day. No business can carry on like this.

At the very least, these silly cunts are going to have to realise that they certainly can't carry on partying like this.

I must say that I am very impressed with BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh: not only because he has stepped up to the plate and made public statements personally, rather than through some press officer, but also because he has obviously got down onto the shop floor, as it were, and talked to his staff and customers; he has reassured customers and supported those staff who, like Suzy, are facing down Unite.
Suzy and her colleagues say they are more than happy to work harder if crew numbers are reduced. "We are just glad to have a job in this climate. And we already have more crew than the recommended CAA minimum.

"Becoming an air hostess was my dream as a little girl," she says. "I've always been proud to wear the BA uniform. It means I work for the best.

"But yesterday I stopped at a filling station to buy petrol and, before walking in to pay, I put on my coat. I know the public has no sympathy for us.

"Who can blame them? And I couldn't be sure what sort of reception I would get in a BA cabin crew uniform. How sad is that?"

It is, indeed, very sad. But the choice is clear: Willie Walsh must be allowed to sack those who strike, and those cabin crew who disagree with Unite's bullying must stop their union dues.

This isn't the 1800s: much of the support for workers that used to be dealt with by the unions is now enshrined in law. The unions are not only redundant, but actively malignant. It is time for the union bosses to be deprived of their big, fat pay-cheques and thrown onto the dole queue.

Note that I am not saying that they should be made illegal, or that the state should destroy them: I am simply saying that ordinary workers who do not want to be bullied and threatened because they disagree with the actions that a union is taking—actions that could potentially bankrupt the employers, thus ensuring that all of the workers lose their jobs—should stop paying their union dues.

As a happy by-product of the utter destruction of the unions, the Labour Party would go bust and we could all sleep easier in our beds, knowing that our money and our freedoms were not being handed over to thugs in order that maleficent politicians can continue to line their pockets with our money.

What's not to like...?

UPDATE: I see, via Timmy, that not only have we been lining the unions' pockets through the Union Modernisation slush Fund—also known as The Labour Party's Money-Laundering Fund—but we have also been subsidising them through staff placements.
Ministries and Government agencies spent more than £17 million paying staff to carry out “trade union activities” last year.
Some departments are paying staff to work full-time on trade union business.

And some full-time civil servants spend three days a work carrying out union activities and still receive a full salary from the Government.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are being stitched up by our government: our freedoms are being sold down the river to vested interests, whether those interests be the unions or big business.

It's time to make these politicos pay for their treachery: is it too much to hope that, after the General Election, we are faced not with a Hung Parliament but a Hanged Parliament...?


JuliaM said...

There's speculation that some Labour MPs may decide not to cross the picket line into the HoC on Budget Day, That'll make a nice little vignette for the cameras, won't it?

The Primeentalost must be up to a Nokia a day by now...

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm running a Fun Online Poll on the BA versus Unite dispute.

Martin said...

A few observations -

1. Intimidation or bullying of one person by another in the workplace is deplorable, whether it be perpetrated by striker or non-striker, colleague upon colleague, or management upon staff. For my sins, I have had 22 jobs in the last 19 years. Such is the extent of Thatcher's victory that only one workplace has been unionised. I have encountered extreme bullying by management, indeed on two occasions that I can think of right now have been on its receiving end. When I joined a unionised workplace, I joined the union. Experience trumps ideology every time.

2. The situation this describes is known as 'being sent to Coventry'. The phenomenon is portrayed in a classic film from 1960 entitled 'The Angry Silence', starring Richard Attenborough. It is unpleasant, should not be tolerated, and it would be very interesting to know whether 'Suzy' has spoken to either her shop steward - or the police, for these mails could constitute a breach of the Telecommunications Act 1984 - before going to the 'Daily Telegraph'. In its eneuretic desire to tar all strikers as the sort of people who go round sending threatening e-mails to 'mothers of three with 20 years experience', as if the lady's fecundity had the slightest bearing on the matter in hand, the DT has manage to mis-spell what was presumably intended to be the word 'scum' as 'scrum'. One assumes that the report is true; however, having read Seumas Milne's essay on the media treatment of the miners during their 1984-85 strike in John Pilger's book 'Tell Me No Lies', I am entitled to remain sceptical.

3. You don't know what life was like in the late '70's and early '80's; at that point in your life, you were receiving toilet training and learning to read. There are a number of businesses in which the closed shop never operated. If history records that one group of chartered accountants ever took wildcat sympathy action in favour of another, I am yet to find it.

4. This post is so full of the usual crapulous Old Etonian power worship that one wonders whether the author will not be happy unless he sees the bones of strikers being broken by police truncheons, or their flesh torn by police dogs. If that is the case, I think he needs therapy.

5. Does your wife belong to a trade union?

Devil's Kitchen said...


"4. This post is so full of the usual crapulous Old Etonian power worship that one wonders..."

Or would do, were one a total bigot.

"... whether the author will not be happy unless he sees the bones of strikers being broken by police truncheons, or their flesh torn by police dogs."

Nope: no, I wouldn't. I'd just like to see an end to the kind of bullying meted out to employees by unions.

"If that is the case, I think he needs therapy."

Which it isn't, so I don't.

"5. Does your wife belong to a trade union?"

No. She has some pride.


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that the Union Modernisation Fund grift has been well known amongst BNP membership as we've been banging on about it since about 2005. F.f.s. is anyone fucking listening? Jeeesus why is this news all of a sudden? Now perhaps you can understand the exasperated clapping of palms to forehead from the nationalist groups when another of these jaw-droppingly blatant skanks tumbles noisily out of that overflowing closet. This and countless other instances have been reported over the years in their in-house newspaper "freedom", maybe you folks should buy a copy once in a while. I'm pretty sure Special Branch are on the subs list!

The Guvnah

Devil's Kitchen said...


I have banged on about it for many years. The reason that people are concentrating on it now is... [drum roll]... because there's a general election coming up.


Anonymous said...

As the power mad state likes to push our noses into the gutter
ably assisted by the apathetic masses,cant complain when strikers
decide to do some shoving and pushing.Right or wrong at least the strikers can be seen to be
doing something about their grievance unlike many other campaigners who settle for tickling keyboards and mice.

Far Right Realist

CherryPie said...

I am simply saying that ordinary workers who do not want to be bullied and threatened because they disagree with the actions that a union is taking

If ordinary workers (union members or otherwise) are being harassed by union officials they should take the case to an industrial tribunal.

It is not legal or acceptable for union officials to behave in that way.

Anonymous said...

The idea of a Union is not a bad one. The bad news started with the socialism/union link. DK do you seriously think that this country is short of arsehole employers who pull every possible rotten trick on their employees that they can get away with?. Unions grew out of the knowledge that one person alone (unless willing to engage in life-ending violence-their own as well as their tormenters) has no worthwhile redress against tricksters and crooked shitehouses. Hell, this Govt which is a party supposed to represent working people, treats its own employees like shite (apart from the wildly overpaid slime of the senior civil service who are their henchmen).

Martin said...

Compare and contrast the comments 'were one a total bigot' and 'She has some pride' and their respective contexts in which they were made. To join a trade union is to be without pride. And the same person who made that remark also says he is not a bigot - his words, not mine.


Anonymous said...

Actually what's needed to get rid of malignant bits of unionism is to make it possible to sack people who strike.

Sargon the Demented said...

I can't understand why anyone would defend Unite. They are nothing more than an illicit channel moving UK taxpayer's money into the Labour Party's bank account.

Oh, and occasionally they organise a strike.

I notice they played the "passenger safety" card (they must have learned that trick off Bob Crow), even though their strike has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with passenger safety, and absolutely everything to do with being paid lots of money to do what they've been doing, or less, thank you.

And Martin? Get off your high horse fella. At least DK offers the right to reply on his blog. I don't see that on yours.

chris said...

At least the strikers are unlikely t murder any strike breakers, unlike during the 1980s.

Anonymous said...

David Wilkie - killed by the NUM thugs Shankland and Hancock.

Should have been hung. Let out of course. Fuck.

Martin said...

David Ncl,

I see we're back on form, with the demand the suggestion that strikers suffer the threat of dismissal for exercising the rights afforded to them by law. Excuse me while I retch at libertarian hypocrisy the next time I hear one of you boys mouthfarting about the sanctity of contract.

Really, I do sometimes wonder whether a greta wormhle has opened, and we're back in 1810 instead of 2010.

'Sargon' - or Bob, or whatever the hell your name is, although I'd agree with the 'demented' part of the tagline,

It's my blog, and I will direct its comment policy without any criticism from you. Goddam Bolshies, always trying to exert rights they don't have over other people's property.

Anonymous said...

" For my sins, I have had 22 jobs in the last 19 years."

Martin, 22 jobs in 19 years. Did you not once stop to think that maybe it's YOU that is the problem?

Martin said...

No, Henry, it's A combination of an incurable, untreatable brain illness AND a powerful work ethic that's THE problem.

But thank you for asking.

Sargon the Demented said...

@Martin - who the fuck is Bob?

DocBud said...


You are quite right, if employees refuse to carry out the work they have agreed to perform in return for the pay and other benefits they receive, the employer should be entitled to withdraw their job and offer it to someone else. The fact that the law may provide employees with the so-called right to withdraw their labour simply demonstrates that, in the hands of statists, the law very often is an ass. The law should consider that the employee and employer are grown adults who are capable of arriving at a mutually acceptable contract of employment. Employees may well want some more tom but if the market dictates that if they won't perform a particular task for, say, 20k, others will, then tough titty, do it for 20k or don't do it at all. Nobody is compelled to work for anybody and nobody has a right to employment.

Martin said...


Utter nonsense. Ever since the Working Time Directive came into force, I have not signed a contract in which I was not compelled to opt out of it as a condition of my employment. So much for 'employer and employee' being 'grown adults who are capable of arriving at a mutually acceptable contract of employment'.

There is one union whose views are always sought by all sides - the CBI, the most powerful union of them all. If given the choice a union to smash, that would be mine.

DocBud said...

The WTD is an unwarranted interference by the EU State into the workplace. However, you were not compelled to opt out, Martin, you chose to opt out in return for employment. If you felt that opting out made the employment not worth the rewards on offer, you could have chosen not to sign and instead sought employment elsewhere.

Martin said...

A nonsense comment from someone who sounds as if they've never been out of work.

DocBud said...

I don't see why my employment history is relevant or why it might make my comment nonsense, Martin. It would only be nonsense if you believe in the concept that people have a right to be employed and that the state should dictate the conditions of that employment.

I do not believe anybody has a right to be employed as that implies an obligation on others to provide employment. If people don't like working for others, then they are free to work for themselves.

Generally speaking, those who are in the situation of having to grasp at any employment offer that is available, are in that situation due to their own choices.

Anonymous said...

As a former frontline worker and the wife of a school teacher the sole reason I, and many others I know, joined the Union was to provide legal protection. We were fully aware that if malicious complaints were made against us are own employers would happily screw us sideways. If reasonably priced insurance, that would provide legal cover in such cases, was available to us, I and many others would have nothing to do with the unions.

Martin said...


If spouting ideology, a phenomenon whose operation eventually and always breaks down when confronted with events, affirms your sense of your own superiority, good luck to you. You've led a charmed life. For better or worse, we live in an industrial society. Anyone who thinks that giant service operations aren't factories, their product letters or telephone calls, hasn't worked in one. You don't believe that anyone has a right to be employed; I don't believe that people start businesses and provide employment through altruism. The horrible historic fact about employment is that very many employers have a great deal of difficulty grasping the idea that they would be unable to operate their businesses without the people who work for them. For three decades we have celebrated business and businesspeople like demigods, when in reality they tend to be very good at a very limited number of things, like selling green veg or knickers. This over-celebration of the business class has been injurious to the mental health of some of its members - they actually seem to believe their own publicity, and the edification and stroking they receive from politicians and the press. If, say, BA can get by with Willie Walsh flying every aircraft, doing all its maintenance and serving all the coffee it's perfectly welcome to try. I don't think it would be in business for too long.

As a now quite disabled person (see above) who swallowed deeply of all that right-wing bullshit about 'people being able to work for themselves' until their late '30's, one can only say it's insulting to those who wish to work but who would never be able to obtain small business funding. Anything is better than Incapacity Benefit of £62.00 per week. What sane banker would give a loan to someone who can only work part-time? Many people who seem to think the way you do speak of how 'the real world' works. You have no idea how the real world really works.

And how can being in the situation of being displaced by cheap foreign labour constitute a choice on the part of the employed?

Anonymous (aka Pragmatist),

Glad to see that pragmatism isn't dead, and that while common sense doesn't seem to have killed your ideology, your ideology certainly hasn't killed your common sense.

DocBud said...

"I don't believe that people start businesses and provide employment through altruism."

Let's leave it at something we both agree on. My partners and I are setting on two new employees this week. We are doing so solely because we expect to increase our profit. That the employees benefit from having employment is good, but for us it is not a motivating factor whatsoever. We pay above the industry average. Our motivation, in a competitive skilled labour market, is to retain highly skilled people and to minimise staff turnover.

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