Friday, 16 November 2018

Riddle Me This, Glasgow?



Here's another puzzler for The Riddler:

"If senior officials in Glasgow always act under the direction of the Council's political leaders, who is authorising GCC's negotiators to say that the Council is prepared to fight 'every single issue' at Employment Tribunal?"

Because this surely amounts to a willingness to defend the WPBR even though senior Glasgow politicians are on record as agreeing that GCC's pay arrangements are 'unfit for purpose' since they discriminate against the Council's largely female workforce.

Not just that, of course, the Council's would also be going back on its word to have a settlement in place before the end of 2018. 

  


Glasgow - In Denial (04/11/18)



I'm generally an optimist when it comes to complex and difficult negotiations - my motto over the years has always been 'Where there's a will there's a way'.

But I would just like to add something to Stefan's update on the ongoing settlement talks with Glasgow City Council.

The threat made by senior officials to 'fight every single issue they can in tribunal' if negotiations fail, is proof positive that the legal battle with Glasgow City Council has not ended - despite what some politicians claim.

In other words, senior officials are still prepared to defend the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR and this must include the infamous 37 hour rule which was clearly designed to discriminate against the Council's largely female workforce.

Beggars belief, if you ask me, so let's hope the Council comes to its senses before its too late!  



 


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Someone asked what am I expecting from the meetings. This was my answer. I hope it helps and is clear. But as always comments read with interest.

The outcome should be a “scheme” to calculate offers we can recommend to cover the period up to March 18. (although that could be a negotiating issue. They might suggest an earlier date)

This scheme can then get political approval
Then finance
Then offers
Then payment (no sooner than April)
Then new JES plus pay and grading (likeliest 2021)

The council often talk about a “number”or “offer” by December but that’s not realistic because they need to verify 13600 files involving well over 30000 contracts.

If no agreement is reached then we will report back why we’ve not succeeded and the members can decide what to do. It might be that The Leader may need to intervene.

We will carry on preparing for the tribunal hearings listed in February plus spring and summer.

If that happens the officers have told us that they will seek to prevent even the protection period going to remedy and will fight every single issue they can in tribunal. We presume they got political permission to make that threat. Doesn’t scare me but does show our continued problem with officers.

I imagine there might be a little unrest.

But I sincerely hope the council sees sense and delivers


Stefan Cross


Riddle Me This Glasgow? (23/10/18)


I couldn't sleep last night as I tossed and turned trying to find an answer to the following question:

"If senior officials in Glasgow City Council have always acted under the direction of the Council's political leaders, then who authorised GCC's chief executive (Annemarie O'Donnell) to take legal action and seek leave to appeal the landmark 'unfit for purpose' WPBR judgment of the Court of Session?"

Now this action resulted in months of delay between the original judgment in August 2017 and the subsequent 'leave to appeal' hearing in December 2017 which Glasgow City Council lost again - by another unanimous decision in Scotland's highest civil court.

So who insisted on this course of action - senior officials in GCC or the political leadership of the Council?

I think we should be told - in the interests of openness and transparency.

  

Riddle me this, Glasgow? (01/09/18)



I posed this 'riddle' back in May 2018 when Glasgow City Council first came under real pressure for dragging its feet over equal pay settlement settlement negotiations with A4ES, GMB and Unison.

Four months on and the situation hasn't changed, in fact things have got worse because another four months have gone by and not a single thing of substance has been agreed.

The proof of the pudding is that serious negotiations over the Pay Gap and Male Comparator Jobs have still to get off the ground.

So I say again to the Council bosses and bigwigs:

"If equal pay settlement 'negotiations' with Glasgow City Council are making such good progress, why are the trade unions (GMB and Unison) balloting their members on industrial action?"

  


Riddle me this, Glasgow? (11/05/18)



Ask yourself this question, Glasgow - then answer it as honestly as you can.

"If equal pay settlement negotiations with the City Council are making such good progress, why do the trade unions (Unison and GMB) think it necessary to consult their members on industrial action?"

 
 


Get Serious, Glasgow! (03/05/18)


Lots of readers have been in touch with comments and questions about the industrial action ballots in support of the fight with Glasgow City Council for equal pay - here's what Stefan and I had to say on Facebook.

Hi Mark


What is the opinion of A4ES on the Strike Ballot papers issued to all Unison members. 

Would striking be recommended by yourselves?

J

Hi J

It's a consultative ballot rather than an official strike ballot, at this stage, and the purpose is to test the level of support for taking industrial action, if the City Council continues to drag its feet over settlement negotiations and replacing WPBR. 

So I would certainly encourage people to vote Yes!

Because by doing so they will send a strong message to the Council to 'get its finger out'! 

Mark Irvine


Hi Mark 

That's exactly my thoughts as well. So fed up with the council and their delaying tactics and not progressing with the actual settlement negotiations. 

Thanks for the clarification. 

J


HELL YES!

several folk have asked how I would vote in the ballot.

Easy - YES!

why? :

1 time to stand up and be counted

2 it has already made the council sit up and take notice. The threat of an imposed interim payment has been taken off the agenda for the moment and the council are finally looking at our proposals seriously

3 the council read out a prepared statement objecting - I will cover this when I have exact wording. Your industrial and political weight is making all the difference. We need to keep this up

4 a consultative ballot commits us to nothing but shows we’re serious. There’s a long way to go to an actual strike. This is just the first essential step.

5. The council literally laughed at suggestion they will produce counter proposal by 22nd. There is still no sense of urgency from the officers. They need to get serious. The ballot will help.

Your biggest weapon is your solidarity. 

Keep it up.

Stefan Cross



  

Brexit Remorse


Here's a great cartoon which in my view accurately sums up the current state of play over Brexit. 

The fact is that the 'Leavers' have been unable to deliver on their wild promises and only a democratic People's Vote on the final terms Brexit can sort this mess out.

 


Corbyn - Beyond Useless (14/11/18)



I enjoyed the following Twitter comments which, in their different ways, highlight how useless Jeremy Corbyn is on the single biggest issue of our time - Brexit.

Emily Benn
A Conservative Transport Minster (Jo Johnson) is showing more leadership on the defining issue of our political times, than the Leader of the Opposition

Will Hutton
With Johnson’s resignation there is a potential Commons majority for a PeoplesVote. The biggest roadblock is Jeremy Corbyn and his pro/Brexit kitchen cabinet. This is as existential for Labour as it is for the Tories.

Ben on Twitter @Jamin2g
Labour conference: Nothing is off the table, including a referendum with the option to Remain. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45622161

*two months later* 

Jeremy Corbyn: We can’t stop Brexit. 
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/interview-with-labour-leader-corbyn-we-can-t-stop-brexit-a-1237594.html …


 



No, It's Not A Joke! (13/11/18)



Labour's pro-Brexit leader Jeremy Corbyn loses more ground to Theresa May and the 'Don't Knows' in the latest YouGov opinion poll on who would make the best Prime Minister.


 



The Corbyn Effect (12/05/18)



Labour's 'lost' leader John Smith died 24 years ago today.

At the time of his death, which came as a great shock, the Labour opposition enjoyed huge opinion poll leads over the Tories raging from 15% to 21% - a gulf which widened even further under Labour's new leader Tony Blair. 

Yet the latest opinion polls with Jeremy Corbyn as leader have the Tories have the Tories ahead by five percentage points and Theresa May pulling further ahead, by fourteen points, in the 'Who would make the best Prime Minister stakes'.

It's a funny old world, as the former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson observes in this interview with Michale Settle in The Herald.


 


http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16217219.Labour__in_worst_position_since_the_early_1980s___says_former_Home_Secretary/
Labour 'in worst position since the early 1980s', says former Home Secretary


By MICHAEL SETTLE - The Herald


Back to 1980s? Johnson claims Corbyn's leadership will "all end in tears"

Labour is in its "worst position since the early 1980s" Alan Johnson, the former Home Secretary, has claimed, saying the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn would “all end in tears”.

His remarks came as a YouGov poll of more than 1,600 adults undertaken earlier this week put the Tories five points ahead of Labour with analysis showing support for the UK Opposition fell in almost half of the 50 most marginal constituencies where all councillors were up for election last week.

Speaking at a conference held at Brighton College, Mr Johnson - who also served as Education Secretary and was Shadow Chancellor under Ed Miliband’s leadership - also dismissed Labour's pledge to scrap tuition fees as "a crazy piece of populism".

Mr Johnson told delegates: "We are in a worse position than we were in the early 80s, when Militants tried to take over the party."

Militant was a Trotskyist group in control of Liverpool City Council during the 1980s and which dominated the Labour Party there.

"Ever since we were formed in 1900 by 27 trade unionists in London, ever since then people to our left and people who believed in revolutionary socialism, which the Labour Party never has - we believe in democratic socialism - have tried to come into the party," explained Mr Johnson.

"That's not saying that everyone who's come in since Jeremy won is a revolutionary socialist. But all the people who were chucked out when Militant was around are back in," he declared.

Mr Johnson went on to question the purpose of pro-Corbyn group Momentum, saying: "Why do we need a second organisation within an organisation, particularly when it is just a fan club for the leader?"

The former Hull MP said the Labour leader had a "particular niche" as a backbencher and argued that two factors had fuelled his successful bid for the leadership - a move by Mr Miliband to change the voting system and allow people to join the party for £3 and take part in the vote, and a decision by some senior Labour figures, such as Margaret Beckett, Sadiq Khan and Frank Field, to nominate Mr Corbyn to put him on the ballot paper, but not support his campaign.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that "there's something about some hope" that he has given young people, but added: "In the end, it will all end it tears for the party."

The former minister, who was part of the Labour government that introduced £3,000 tuition fees, also criticised Labour's pledge to scrap fees, arguing "it is a crazy policy".

He said: "The tuition fee system is the best way of ensuring there is a contribution from the students to higher education that is fair and equitable and that has helped to close the social gap.

"We have pledged to abolish it, which will cost £11 billion. It's a crazy piece of populism," he added.

Meanwhile, the poll for The Times put the Tories on 43 per cent, up one point on last week, Labour was unchanged at 38 per cent and the Liberal Democrats were up two points to nine per cent.

This is the fourth poll in a row showing a four to five-point lead for Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Possible contributing factors to the Tory lead include the anti-Semitism row within Labour and Mr Corbyn’s handing of the Russia attack in Salibsury.

The Prime Minister also extended her lead over the Labour leader from 10 points to 14 when voters were asked to choose the best prime minister.

Some 39 per cent chose Mrs May, up two points, while 25 per cent opted for Mr Corbyn, down two points.
  



The Corbyn Effect (07/05/18)



While the Corbyn faithful keep repeating their mantra of 'just one more heave' - I think  The Times cartoonist Peter Brookes has a more accurate analysis of Thursday's local election results in England in which Labour failed to capture any of its target seats.

 


The Corbyn Effect (05/05/18)


Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn predicted huge gains in yesterday's local council elections in England, but ended up losing even Barnet Council in London (a key target) where the Conservatives gained overall control.

Maybe it's time that diehard Corbyn supporters woke up to the fact that Jeremy is part of the problem - rather than part of the the solution.

The latest YouGov poll confirms that the Labour leader is in third place for 'Best Time Minister' behind the Don't Knows.



 






Voter Fraud in America



Donald Trump complained recently that voter fraud is a big problem in America even though though the President produced not a shred of evidence in support of his ridiculous claim.

Shortly afterwards, Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts on The View programme gave the issue the kind of attention of attention it truly deserved.



  his 

Glasgow, Ambition and Equal Pay




The Daily Record reports on ambitious development plans for the SEC (Scottish Event Campus) which is 91% owned by Glasgow City Council.

The article doesn't explain how the funds to finance a £200 million expansion plan will be raised, but let's just hope that the City Council is being just as imaginative when it comes to finding the money needed to resolve its long running equal pay dispute. 

  

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/sec-glasgow-submits-200million-expansion-13595843

SEC Glasgow submits £200million expansion plan to create 'truly unique event campus'

The Glasgow site already includes the SSE Hydro - but vows the new development would generate £300m extra benefit.

By Paul Ward

Scottish Events Campus bosses have drawn up massive expansion plans (Image: SEC/PA Wire)

A £200 million plan has been drawn up to expand the Scottish Event Campus (SEC).

The Glasgow site already includes the SSE Hydro and a conference centre, and management now wants to create more meeting areas, outdoor space and a dedicated entrance to enable the venue to host "the world's top conferences, exhibitions and events".

Principle planning permission has been submitted and SEC said the development would generate almost £300 million extra economic benefit to Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.

SEC is seeking financial support for the project but said there would be an "economic payback for the taxpayer between five and seven years".

The SEC already incorporates the incredibly successful SSE Hydro (Image: Getty Images)

SEC finance and development director Billy McFadyen said: "The SEC currently offers Glasgow and Scotland a solution to stage conferences of varying sizes. However, competition worldwide is robust and constantly evolving.

"In order to maintain this level of success we need to invest in our product to ensure we have the best facilities. The plans for this expansion will fulfil this and create a truly unique UK event campus which will be world class.

"During the past two decades, Glasgow and the SEC have succeeded in the conference market and strong, city-wide partnerships have been instrumental in securing business.



"It is widely recognised that events drive immediate economic benefit of scale for cities and countries. Conferences and exhibitions in particular provide a catalyst for further long-term economic benefit. The focus now is to secure funding support for the project which will be of significant benefit to Glasgow, Scotland and the UK's economy".

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: "The SEC constantly secures a stream of major conferences and is an enormous asset to the city, keeping Glasgow firmly on the world stage.

"But in a highly competitive sector venues must constantly evolve, and this imaginative planned expansion will help ensure the city's share of the conference and exhibition markets continues to grow."

No Sense of Irony



The Herald reports that the stony faced leaders of the DUP are accusing the Prime Minister Theresa May of not listening to their views over Brexit. 

But clearly Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds have lost their  sense of irony, given that a clear majority of the electorate in Northern Ireland voted to 'Remain' in the European Union.

  

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17226850.dup-accuse-may-of-refusing-to-listen-to-brexit-deal-fears/

DUP accuse May of refusing to listen to Brexit deal fears

By Tom Gordon - The Herald

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

THE Prime Minister “clearly doesn’t listen” to critics of her Brexit plan, her former allies in the Democratic Unionist Party said, dramatically shifting the parliamentary arithmetic against her.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Westminster Live!




The Telegraph's political sketch writer Michael Deacon reports live from the House of Commons:

@MichaelPDeacon

Where we are now: 

* Theresa May has publicly said Brexit can be stopped 

* Jeremy Corbyn has publicly said Brexit can't be stopped


The issue cannot be left to a handful of MPs at Westminster -  demand a democratic People's Vote on the final terms of Brexit!


  

Corbyn - Beyond Useless (14/11/18)



I enjoyed the following Twitter comments which, in their different ways, highlight how useless Jeremy Corbyn is on the single biggest issue of our time - Brexit.

Emily Benn
A Conservative Transport Minster (Jo Johnson) is showing more leadership on the defining issue of our political times, than the Leader of the Opposition

Will Hutton
With Johnson’s resignation there is a potential Commons majority for a PeoplesVote. The biggest roadblock is Jeremy Corbyn and his pro/Brexit kitchen cabinet. This is as existential for Labour as it is for the Tories.

Ben on Twitter @Jamin2g
Labour conference: Nothing is off the table, including a referendum with the option to Remain. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45622161

*two months later* 

Jeremy Corbyn: We can’t stop Brexit. 
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/interview-with-labour-leader-corbyn-we-can-t-stop-brexit-a-1237594.html …

 


No, It's Not A Joke! (13/11/18)



Labour's pro-Brexit leader Jeremy Corbyn loses more ground to Theresa May and the 'Don't Knows' in the latest YouGov opinion poll on who would make the best Prime Minister.

 


The Corbyn Effect (12/05/18)



Labour's 'lost' leader John Smith died 24 years ago today.

At the time of his death, which came as a great shock, the Labour opposition enjoyed huge opinion poll leads over the Tories raging from 15% to 21% - a gulf which widened even further under Labour's new leader Tony Blair. 

Yet the latest opinion polls with Jeremy Corbyn as leader have the Tories have the Tories ahead by five percentage points and Theresa May pulling further ahead, by fourteen points, in the 'Who would make the best Prime Minister stakes'.

It's a funny old world, as the former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson observes in this interview with Michale Settle in The Herald.


 


http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16217219.Labour__in_worst_position_since_the_early_1980s___says_former_Home_Secretary/

Labour 'in worst position since the early 1980s', says former Home Secretary

By MICHAEL SETTLE - The Herald


Back to 1980s? Johnson claims Corbyn's leadership will "all end in tears"

Labour is in its "worst position since the early 1980s" Alan Johnson, the former Home Secretary, has claimed, saying the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn would “all end in tears”.

His remarks came as a YouGov poll of more than 1,600 adults undertaken earlier this week put the Tories five points ahead of Labour with analysis showing support for the UK Opposition fell in almost half of the 50 most marginal constituencies where all councillors were up for election last week.

Speaking at a conference held at Brighton College, Mr Johnson - who also served as Education Secretary and was Shadow Chancellor under Ed Miliband’s leadership - also dismissed Labour's pledge to scrap tuition fees as "a crazy piece of populism".

Mr Johnson told delegates: "We are in a worse position than we were in the early 80s, when Militants tried to take over the party."

Militant was a Trotskyist group in control of Liverpool City Council during the 1980s and which dominated the Labour Party there.

"Ever since we were formed in 1900 by 27 trade unionists in London, ever since then people to our left and people who believed in revolutionary socialism, which the Labour Party never has - we believe in democratic socialism - have tried to come into the party," explained Mr Johnson.

"That's not saying that everyone who's come in since Jeremy won is a revolutionary socialist. But all the people who were chucked out when Militant was around are back in," he declared.

Mr Johnson went on to question the purpose of pro-Corbyn group Momentum, saying: "Why do we need a second organisation within an organisation, particularly when it is just a fan club for the leader?"

The former Hull MP said the Labour leader had a "particular niche" as a backbencher and argued that two factors had fuelled his successful bid for the leadership - a move by Mr Miliband to change the voting system and allow people to join the party for £3 and take part in the vote, and a decision by some senior Labour figures, such as Margaret Beckett, Sadiq Khan and Frank Field, to nominate Mr Corbyn to put him on the ballot paper, but not support his campaign.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that "there's something about some hope" that he has given young people, but added: "In the end, it will all end it tears for the party."

The former minister, who was part of the Labour government that introduced £3,000 tuition fees, also criticised Labour's pledge to scrap fees, arguing "it is a crazy policy".

He said: "The tuition fee system is the best way of ensuring there is a contribution from the students to higher education that is fair and equitable and that has helped to close the social gap.

"We have pledged to abolish it, which will cost £11 billion. It's a crazy piece of populism," he added.

Meanwhile, the poll for The Times put the Tories on 43 per cent, up one point on last week, Labour was unchanged at 38 per cent and the Liberal Democrats were up two points to nine per cent.

This is the fourth poll in a row showing a four to five-point lead for Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Possible contributing factors to the Tory lead include the anti-Semitism row within Labour and Mr Corbyn’s handing of the Russia attack in Salibsury.

The Prime Minister also extended her lead over the Labour leader from 10 points to 14 when voters were asked to choose the best prime minister.

Some 39 per cent chose Mrs May, up two points, while 25 per cent opted for Mr Corbyn, down two points.
  


The Corbyn Effect (07/05/18)



While the Corbyn faithful keep repeating their mantra of 'just one more heave' - I think  The Times cartoonist Peter Brookes has a more accurate analysis of Thursday's local election results in England in which Labour failed to capture any of its target seats.

 


The Corbyn Effect (05/05/18)


Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn predicted huge gains in yesterday's local council elections in England, but ended up losing even Barnet Council in London (a key target) where the Conservatives gained overall control.

Maybe it's time that diehard Corbyn supporters woke up to the fact that Jeremy is part of the problem - rather than part of the the solution.

The latest YouGov poll confirms that the Labour leader is in third place for 'Best Time Minister' behind the Don't Knows.



 


Corbyn's Out of Step on Brexit (12/11/18)




Blair McDougall on Twitter mocks Jeremy Corbyn's claim that 'Brexit can't be stopped' and that it's time for everyone to 'move on'.

What a plonker Corbyn is - not least because his own personal views on Brexit are complete at odds with the official policy of the Labour Party and with the views of the great majority of Labour Party members.  

@blairmcdougall




A thought experiment. 

“We can’t stop the poll tax because parliament voted for it.”

“Those arguing that Labour should oppose the poll tax need to understand how smug they sound.” 

“Listen, I voted against the poll tax but now we’ve got to move on and make the poll tax work.”


  


Worst Labour Leader Ever (11/11/18)



Jeremy Corbyn showed his true colours over Brexit with the following comment to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine:

"We can't stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave."


Now the day after the great EU referendum the Labour leader called for Article 50 to be triggered even though wiser heads (even Tory heads) counselled, at the time, that there was absolutely no need to rush headlong into difficult Brexit negotiations.

So it has proved and Jezza is quite wrong to say that Brexit can't be stopped or that Article 50 can't be revoked.

What a complete fool the man is the worst ever Labour leader. 

    

Brexit - Then and Now (10/11/18)



Jo Johnson explains his reason for resigning as Minister for Transport and Minister for London over Brexit: 

"What is now being proposed won’t be anything like what was promised two years ago."


We need a democratic People's Vote on the final terms of the government's Brexit Deal or No Deal - the issue is far too important to be left to a vote in the House of Commons.   

   

People's Vote on Brexit (07/11/18)



Support for Brexit if shrinking right across the country - a democratic People's Vote is the only way to decide if the Government's Final Deal should be accepted.

   

Where's Jeremy Corbyn? (06/11/18)


Hugo Rifkind doesn't pull his punches with this hard-hitting column in The Times which lays into one of the main Brexit backers, Aaron Banks, who is now under investigation by the National Crime Agency.

Banks now say that he regrets voting for Brexit and all the opinion polling evidence now suggests that a majority of the public support a People's Vote on the final terms of any Brexit deal - or No deal.

So where is Jeremy Corbyn when you need him? 

Because instead of giving voice to the majority of Labour members who support the EU's Single Market and its Customs Union, the party leader has nothing of real substance to to say.    

Arron Banks’s mission is political vandalism

By hugo rifkind - The Times

Whatever the truth about the Brexit backer’s finances, his interventions have sowed xenophobia and division

Arron Banks, a man who claims to have spent £8 million of his own money bringing about Brexit, now says he regrets voting for it because the process has “unleashed demons”. He is right. Those demons include viciousness, divisiveness and xenophobia for political ends. They also include smug stupidity. You will find variants of all these demons, true, across the political spectrum, but there is one man who is the ultimate avatar of them all, and that man is Arron Banks. Perhaps he regrets unleashing himself.
 
Read the full article via the link below to The Times.


Where's Jeremy Corbyn? (21/10/18)



Jeremy Corbyn likes to think of himself as a democrat, yet the Labour leader could be bothered to get his arse along to yesterday's People's Vote march in London.

Even though the great majority of Labour Party members support the call for a People's Vote on the final terms of Brexit.

What a plonker!

    



Where's Jeremy Corbyn? (24/06/18)



A good question from one of the Peoples' Vote marchers as Jeremy Corbyn is posted missing even though the vast majority of Labour members support a vote on the final terms of Brexit.