News digest 18 November 2013

News digest 18 November 2013

18 November 2013

Today’s digest opens with two contrasting approaches to industrial relations,. Many of the papers feature prime minister David Cameron’s weekend announcement that he planned to launch an inquiry into ‘intimidation’ relating to the Grangemouth dispute. Cameron wants a six month QC led review to investigate accusations of strong arm-tactics during the dispute, oddly there’s no mention of any probe into companies that mistreat their workers or take massive pay rises while freezing workers’ wages. Unite dismissed the announcement: "This review is a sorry attempt by the coalition to divert attention from the cost of living crisis. Vince Cable may not have noticed but the Grangemouth dispute has been settled. This review is nothing more than a Tory election stunt which no trade unionist will collaborate with."

And while the coalition seems to think employers are all good, the front page of the FT, along with the Mirror follows up on the scandal of blacklisting in the construction industry. The Mirror quotes a row over the fact that many workers on an industry blacklist who were denied work due to union activities – some just for speaking out on health and safety – were offered a paltry £1,000 in compensation. The FT however says it has emerged that some workers have been offered compensation of up to £100,000 as the malpractice probe continues, don’t expect many to get that as the companies will probably try and shirk their responsibilities, especially as many of the 3,213 workers that were blacklisted still have no knowledge of the fact.

What is perhaps more deserving of a probe is the fact that the pay packets of the rich continue to rise, most of the papers report that FTSE 100 directors have seen a 14 per cent pay rise in the past year. According to London mayor Boris Johnson in the Telegraph this is a good thing, showing he has no understanding of what life is really like for ordinary Londoners his latest column in today’s Telegraph is titled: ‘We should be humbly thanking the super-rich, not bashing them.’ I don’t think so somehow. In fact next to the FT’s piece on the rise in directors’ pay there’s a detailed piece on why London needs a higher minimum wage according to the Centre for London think tank which argues that the rate could rise to £6.75 without any hit on jobs. That’s still too low as the London living wage is now set at £8.55, time for a higher rise for ordinary workers rather than the bosses that are wallowing in their millions and more…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

 Morning Star (web updated later)

  • Unions shrug off new Tory bid to gag dissent (p1) - Unite cited
  • Portsmouth protests against 940 sackings (p2) – Unite/Kelly Tomlinson cited
  • Bosses rake in extra 14 per cent thanks to huge bonuses (p3)
  • Ex-Co-op chief sorry over drug abuse (p3)
  • Poverty London ’needs higher minimum wage’ (p4)
  • Barristers threaten legal aid strike (p4)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Miliband urged to sack ‘nightmare’ Balls (p4)
  • Failing France: How we’d be with PM Ed – Trevor Kavanagh (p8)
  • The crystal Methodist (p9)






  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Blacklist groups in £100,000 payouts (p1/3) – Unite cited
  • Apprentice training poised for reform (p2)
  • NHS squeeze to lift private providers (p3)
  • Directors’ pay rises 14 per cent in past year (p4)
  • London needs higher minimum wage (p4)
  • More Barclays branch closures (p19)
  • Coal gains lead over gas (p21)
  • Former Co-op chair apologises (p24)
  • Stagecoach rails against Labour’s renationalisation plan (p25)

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