News digest 14 November 2013

News digest 14 November 2013

14 November 2013

Today’s digest opens with a tribute to veteran campaigner Hetty Bower, who has died aged 108. There’s a detailed piece by Real Britain Ros in the Mirror quoting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey: “Our thoughts are with Hetty’s friends and family. A veteran of Cable Street and fierce campaigner against poverty and injustice, she was a truly inspirational woman. Spanning a century of extraordinary change for this country, Hetty was a reminder that the NHS and the welfare state were created thanks to the struggle of ordinary men and women like her. We owe a deep debt to Hetty and her generation and we owe it to them to continue the fight to save her beloved NHS for our children and generations to come.” A true example of making a difference by campaigning, fighting back, and keeping up the struggle, see Hetty here at last year’s Labour party conference, RIP Hetty, you did good…

And talking of conferences, yesterday Unite launched a new credit union on the third day of its sector conferences, ending in Brighton today. Unite’s credit union service uses a panel of carefully vetted, existing credit unions, ensuring that members can link up with a credit union that is already established where they live or work. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “We are determined to wipe out rip-off payday lenders and ensure that they can’t make profits by exploiting victims of the financial downturn. Unite's new credit union service ensures our members can access finance without fear and helps keep them out of the clutches of parasitic lenders.”

And also on the Brighton agenda today is the NHS. Unite’s head of health Rachel Maskell will challenge “the culture of pay greed has now pervaded the NHS” as health secretary Jeremy Hunt floats a pay freeze for NHS staff while senior NHS managers have seen an average uplift in pay of 13 per cent since 2009. Outlining the planned Unite campaign on pay inequality in the NHS, Rachel Maskell will call for an equal rise for all NHS staff: “Unite was the only union this year to argue at the pay review body for an equal pay increase for all staff. We have to seriously question why some people believe that they are worth over 10 times the value of others, in a system where the person who washes you adds as much to your care as the person who operates on you.” There’s also a piece in the Morning Star by Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail warning of the creeping privatisation of the NHS and calling on people to unite to fight against it.

And Unite executive officer Sharon Graham - also writing on the Morning Star - outlines how Unite is targeting unscrupulous employers saying the recent castigation of the union by the right wing press is the best proof of the success of Unite’s organising and leverage strategy. There’s also a strong comment piece by Seumas Milne in the Guardian under the heading: Unite can't be left to resist Cameron's smear campaign alone where he explains David Cameron and the Tory press have launched a retro anti-union drive to damage Labour leader Ed Miliband, but he then explains why it won't fly in today's Britain as people struggle with the reality of insecure jobs, falling wages, shrinking public services and more Con-Dem disaster. 

The right wing press will continue to castigate unions and all those that challenge the elite – while ignoring the fact that the Tories spent the best part of yesterday deleting all their old polices from the web, what are they trying to hide, or is it just a selective approach to the story? 

And finally talking of selective approaches, the Guardian highlights an admission that a Labour hopeful in the Falkirk election has admitted paying for mass recruitment to party. However, this has nothing to do with Unite, it is Labour right-winger Gregor Poynton who told the Guardian that he paid for 11 members to join the party with a single cheque amid claims that the new recruits were expected to support his nomination. Commenting on the information, Unite said: "Maybe now some of those over-eager to denounce Unite – whose behaviour has been found to be within both rule and law – will realise things are more complicated than their view of the world allows." Well said…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

 Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Jobs tax cut plan floated to get young off dole (p2)
  • His-Tory wiped (p2)
  • Unite wad (p2) [Unite gives Labour £770,000]
  • Typhoon appeal (p4-5)
  • Flybe stake takes flight (p44)
  • Rate rise fear hits markets (p44)
  • Sainsbury’s now second largest supermarket (p44)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Interest rate warning as economy surges (p1)
  • Unite still biggest donor to Labour (p22) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • We can’t leave A&E reform to our children – David Aaronovitch (p)
  • Miliband gambles that recovery will be weak – Jenni Russell (p34)
  • Sants quits Barclays (p45)
  • Sainsbury’s continues advance (p47)
  • Bankers face grilling over Royal Mail price (p48)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Rate rise signalled for 2014 (p1)
  • Fall in jobless rate (p2)
  • Serco has £4 billion grip on defence spending (p3)
  • Met police services put out to tender (p3)
  • Rolls Royce to 3D print parts (p17)
  • Carlsberg looking for acquisitions (p20)

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