News digest 30 October 2013

News digest 30 October 2013

30 October 2013

Today’s digest starts with Unite general secretary Len McCluskey’s comment piece in the Guardian which can be summed up as ‘after Grangemouth Unite’s priority remains standing up for its members against powerful companies. Touching on Falkirk, Len said: “If Labour in Falkirk is to move on, then I think a fresh inquiry would be of less help than the overdue resignation of its sitting MP Eric Joyce, whose misconduct set this whole sequence of events in train. Just as Unite has nothing to apologise for in becoming a more active participant in the life of the party we created, rather than just a cheque-writing machine, nor will we apologise for sticking up for our members.” And outlining the challenge going forward Len added Unite will continue the fight for members across the country: “Today we are in the midst of something all-too familiar to those of us who remember the 1970s and 1980s – a hysterical smear campaign directed against trade unions because we represent the only real organised challenge in society to the values and views of our bankrupt establishment.”

And it was grim news for many workers yesterday, while Blockbuster went back in to administration with fears for up to 2,000 jobs, Tata Steel announced 500 more job cuts, Unite accused Tata steel of  trying to "sack" its way out of a downturn rather than having a properly thought-out strategy to grow the business. Unite national officer Paul Reuter said: "Unite is demanding an urgent meeting with the company to discuss the future. We will be seeking agreement that there will be no compulsory job cuts for any worker affected by the announcement. Unite will also urge the company to extend the consultation period beyond the new legal minimum of 45 days imposed by the Tories which now makes it much harder for unions and businesses to seek alternatives to redundancies."

And from steel to power and energy prices also exercise many of the papers after the heads of the ‘big six’ energy firms gave evidence to MPs yesterday. Well, when I say heads, in fact only one boss came along – Eon’s Tony Cocker – while the other firms sent directors rather than the company head. Expect the rest of them were sitting in their heated outdoor swimming pools sipping champagne while the rest of us freeze. There are acres of bad press for the energy companies with only the Telegraph parroting the line that if the green levy was cut bills would come down. In the main the situation is summed up in headlines which either say that the companies are ‘abusing their power’ and that ’something needs to be done’. The Guardian notes an estimated ‘overcharge of £3.7 billion a year’, that sounds like a good figure for a windfall tax, surely the Treasury could do with some extra funds to distribute to those most in need (and I don’t mean top rate taxpayers)…

And also abusing his power was health secretary Jeremy Hunt, after a judge yesterday ruled that he did not have the power to implement cuts at Lewisham hospital in south-east London. Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “For a government that is cutting services for the most vulnerable in society, Jeremy Hunt’s obsession with pursuing this case to the Court of Appeal, after he had lost in the High Court, is a flagrant waste of taxpayers’ money. He refused to accept the High Court ruling this summer that he was acting outside his powers when he decided the emergency and maternity units should be cut back. Then, the judge ruled that local people would have to travel a long way to gain access to vital services. He needs to give a public assurance that he won’t be repeating this ideologically driven fiasco at other hospitals in England.” That last line could be prescient as later today Hunt is also expected to give his view on whether four A&Es will be closed in Ealing; if he does it will fly in the face of local opinion, but then when has the Con-Dem coalition ever listened to the voice of reason…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Power bosses given a roasting (p1)
  • Government told to target greedy zero-hours bosses (p2)
  • Blockbuster collapses again (p2)
  • Tata Steel slams north with 500 more job cuts (p3)
  • Lloyds boss to bag £2 million bonus despite loss (p3)
  • Appeal judges put stop to Lewisham cuts (p4 – Unite/Barrie Brown cited)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Energy big six ‘profits hidden’ (p1/11)
  • Vote rig quiz call (p2) – Unite cited
  • Sainsbury’s call in lawyers over Tesco offer (p40)
  • 500 steel firm jobs to be cut (p40)
  • £2.5 million to Lloyds’ Antonio (p40)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Pension changes could be capped (p3)
  • Furious Gove has to foot part of Shoesmith’s payoff (p6)
  • Hacking trial (p13)
  • ‘Big Six’ accused of fix on prices (p16)
  • Reopening of Falkirk inquiry ‘up to Miliband’ (p16) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • We should have made cuts before crash, says Blair (p20)
  • The sacking not the payout, was a travesty – Jenni Russell [on Shoesmith] (p30)
  • Post Office workers to co-ordinate strike action (p41)
  • Blockbuster back in mire (p43)
  • Tata cuts 500 jobs (p47) – Unite/Paul Reuter cited




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • You’re abusing your power, MPs tell energy giants (p2)
  • Pensions charges to be capped (p2)
  • Barclays faces new $700 million bill (p17)
  • Blockbuster on brink of collapse (p17)
  • Tata Steel to cut 500 jobs (p22) – Unite/Paul Reuter cited

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