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News digest 19 December 2014

News digest 19 December 2014

19 December 2014

Welcome to the final news digest of 2014. It starts with demands for decent pay and working conditions, and Unite is quoted on the front page of the Mirror over the government giving a 19 per cent pay rise to government adviser Rupert Harrison, a fact that is all the more galling as he is the adviser who as chancellor George Osborne’s chief of staff is the chief architect behind the government’s public sector pay freeze that is denying decent pay rises to ordinary working people that keep the country running. The Unite quote sums it up simply as: “This reeks of hypocrisy and arrogance.” It’s time to give all public sector pay workers a proper pay rise. Sadly the public sector is slashed ever further as the Tory plan to take the country back to the 1930s continues, yesterday saw the latest announcement of cuts to council budgets from central government. Unite’s Fiona Farmer said: “Local councils are already at breaking point with services being cut to the bone or stopped completely … local government needs a fair funding settlement. It is simply not sustainable to expect councils serving some of the poorest communities in the country to bear the brunt of the Tory-led government’s addiction to austerity.” The hollowing out of the state continues…

Elsewhere the government is taken to task over the Royal Mail sale which supposedly cost taxpayers £180 million [what about the property portfolio – that’s worth 10 times that?], and the bidders for the government stake in Eurostar have also been announced [what’s the bet that’s sold off on the cheap too?]. Better news for car drivers is the fall in the oil price should reduce petrol prices, sadly that’s not so good for North Sea oil workers who face the threat of redundancy as the industry becomes less viable [whatever happened to investing during the good times, or did all the money go in to exec pockets?]. And while the Mail front page says that Christmas will be cheaper this year as price pressures on the high street force retailers to cut, the reality is that pay is not rising for workers and any that demonstrate to save their terms and conditions get hit,. The latest example is of Barbour which has banned striking staff from the firm’s Christmas party, yes really. Unite’s Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “The spiteful behaviour of Barbour to ban workers taking industrial action from their Christmas party sums the company’s attitude up … they are actions that Scrooge would be proud of and show a total disregard for people with caring responsibilities. Barbour needs to enter the Christmas spirit and negotiate a fair deal for its workforce.” Indeed.

And from a Christmas party to a rave, and the shocking news that the prime minister’s country residence Chequers was invaded last week by Ibiza-style ravers who quaffed cocktails and downed curry, oddly it was no illegal set up, just prime minister David Cameron trying to rekindle his lost youth and use public assets for private pleasure. The event was supposedly a 40th birthday party for his wife, Samantha Cameron is 43. So there you have it, a classic example of the rich enjoying their excesses while the country is cut to the bone. There are 138 days left until the election, let’s make sure 2015 sees the end of the Con-Dem coalition, but before that get some much needed rest and season’s greetings to one and all [well maybe not IDS]…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Labour fears Ukip rise (p2)
  • Town hall 1.8 per cent cut (p2) (p)
  • Government spends 17 per cent more on spin doctors (p4)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cuts will hot war on crime (p2)
  • North Sea oil slump to cost thousands of jobs (p2)
  • No 10 accused of blocking May’s aides (p5)
  • Air strike may hit holiday travel (p19) – Unite cited
  • Entire services will have to be scrapped, warn council chiefs (p)
  • BA rebuffed over Aer Lingus bid (p47)
  • France fines Unilever (p49)
  • John  Laing to float in 2015 (p49)
  • Barbour strike (p52) – Unite cited
  • Royal Mail sale criticised (p57)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Aer Lingus rejects bid (p1)
  • Cuts to council grants ‘fair’ says coalition (p2)
  • Big pay rise for Osborne aide (p2)
  • Bitcoin regulation on the way? (p17)
  • Bidders for Eurostar stake revealed (p22)

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