News digest 20 August 2013

News digest 20 August 2013

20 August 2013

The campaign to #SaveOurRoyalMail continues - over 133,000 have signed the Royal Mail petition so far – and yesterday there was another vote of no confidence in the government’s ill-thought out privatisation plans as 6,000 Royal Mail managers voted by a margin of 71 per cent against the proposed sell off; that was on top off an overwhelming vote against large cuts to pensions in consultative ballots. Said Unite officer for Royal Mail managers Brian Scott: “Our members have made it clear that the proposals put forward by the Post Office and Royal Mail to make changes to their pension arrangements are unacceptable” before adding “Unite has a long standing policy of opposition to the privatisation of Royal Mail, which is backed up by the public who don’t want a national institution sold off to companies more interested in profits than providing a joined-up national service.” Nuff said.

And from ballots to bonuses and a number of the papers report on the continued inequality in the workplace, the latest example is in the boardroom where male bosses and being paid bonuses double the size of female colleagues in the same job. If those that rise to the top can’t even get equality in bonuses imagine what’s its like at the bottom, in fact the figures show that women bosses are seeing pay rises commensurate with that of general workers, in the last 12 months there was a 1.1 per cent rise; male directors’ earnings rose by 5.3 per cent over the same period.

And still on pay the Guardian reports that workers on zero hours contracts have pay rates that are ’40 per cent below the average’ or only £9-an-hour in contrast to £15 for other workers not on zero contracts. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna is to host a zero hours summit with employers and unions today aiming to put further pressure on the government to crack down on abuse of workers’ employment rights and the rise in zero hours contracts. The summit should add a bit more flesh to the bones of Labour policy.

And there are still concerns about Labour’s direction and the leadership of Ed Miliband. The Mirror has a detailed poll on the leader of the opposition that does not make comfortable reading, only 45 per cent of Labour voters are happy with Miliband and his general approval ratings are deep in negative territory. In a blunt message to Miliband’s team the poll also shows that 72 per cent of Labour voters and 46 per cent of voters in general think he should be getting more support from his shadow cabinet colleagues, but the main message is neatly summed up by Kevin Maguire: “He has to lead from the front, not lag behind.” Maguire calls for concrete plans to raise living standards, guarantee full employment, axe the bedroom tax, back care for the elderly and save the NHS. Sounds like a plan to me…

And if it’s not all rosy for Ed Miliband, then there’s also bad news for David Cameron who has been complaining about his “phenomenally” bad back which means he has been unable to fully enjoy his latest holiday (the fifth of the year) on the Scottish island of Jura. Apparently a ‘protruding disc’ means that he can’t go deer stalking and instead has to walk the fields, but in order to recover Cameron is off on another holiday, this time to sunny Cornwall, so Bambi is safe for now…

 Morning Star

  • Lobbying bill threatens to outlaw TUC congress (p1)
  • Snowden reporter’s partner detained by police (p2)
  • Royal Mail managers vote against sell-off (p2) Unite/Brian Scott cited
  • Stansted bag workers call strike (p2)
  • 19 arrested at fracking demo (p3)
  • Labour slams ‘rip-off’ letting fees for renters (p4)
  • Police in frame over blacklisting (p5)
  • London buses may go cash-free (p5)
  • What role should union members play in Labour? – Keith Ewing (p10)

 Daily Mirror

 Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • (p)Ken backs Ed (p2) [Mirror poll]
  • Strike to hit Jaguar (p2) – Unite cited
  • Cameron: Bad back means I can’t go deer stalking (p4)
  • Petrol to rise 54p (p6)
  • Fracking and ruin (p8-9)
  • Homes boss not moving on pay (p38)


  • PM: My back pain is a bore (p5)
  • Another coalition with the Tories will kill the Tories – Ross Clark (p12)
  • Bovis profits soar but boss urges caution (p50)


 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • NHS checks on over-40s condemned as ‘useless’ (p1)
  • 30 held as police swamp fracking protest (p4)
  • ‘Tenacious’ shopper get £300K fine for Tesco (p14)
  • Backbench Tories demand say in new power-share deal (p19)
  • Normal service resumes for mortgages (p37)
  • Bovis adds weight to building confidence (p37)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Builders pressed to build better homes (p1)
  • Snowden journalist vows revenge (p2)
  • Bonuses for senior women half that of their peers (p2)
  • Lobbying mill a ‘complete mess’ (p3)
  • Tesco fined (p2)
  • Cameron accused of inflaming fracking furore (p3)
  • Hugo Chavez: His legacy at stake (p7)
  • What has gone wrong with the left in Europe? Anthony Painter (p9)
  • Decision on RBS branches likely within two weeks (p13)
  • Bovis sees positive period (p17)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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