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I think Thatcher did more than you think to demonize unions.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 31st, 2013 at 06:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering that the demonization was only the icing on the cake.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 12:49:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A tangential example is given by this incident (see Newsroom):

Two more arrests at fracking protest | Environment | theguardian.com

Police at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, West Sussex, pushed back demonstrators on Wednesday afternoon to allow the entry of an articulated lorry carrying pipes. It was the first successful delivery of equipment to the site since the protest began last week.

Earlier in the day two people were arrested over the ongoing protests against plans to drill for oil at a site a few miles outside the village.

The pair - a man and a woman - had glued themselves together at the gates of the site in an attempt to prevent machinery from being brought through the gates. Sussex police said the pair had been arrested under section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act.

Section 241:

Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992

241 Intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise.E+W+S

(1)A person commits an offence who, with a view to compelling another person to abstain from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority--

(a)uses violence to or intimidates that person or his [F1spouse or civil partner]F1 or children, or injures his property,

(b)persistently follows that person about from place to place,

(c)hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by that person, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof,

(d)watches or besets the house or other place where that person resides, works, carries on business or happens to be, or the approach to any such house or place, or

(e)follows that person with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner in or through any street or road.

(2)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

As far as I can see, no trade unions are involved, but the "right to work" is being invoked to quash any kind of determined protest or picketing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 02:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing in that law as written prevents an ordinary picket line.

And of course, unknown parties with no provable affiliation to the union, who take some measure of care to not get caught have much wider latitude in their methods.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 01:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An "ordinary picket line", that the law pretends to protect (sic), is one that has no effect.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 02:10:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It gathers attention and permits a platform for disseminating propaganda. And if you're a little smart about it, it also gathers intelligence. For customer-facing locations, they can directly impact the topline without ever resulting in work stoppages.

Finally, one should not forget that showing up and simply standing around in union colors sends a message to prospective recruits: "We are here, and we are many." Same principle as is behind election posters and sticker campaigns.

It won't stop work, but picket lines are not a good tool for stopping work unless you are willing to go full 19th century. And, to be blunt, there aren't enough starving people in our cities to make that particular part of the 19th century playbook politically viable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 03:42:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If unions are still playing by 20th century rules and the Tories and employers are collaborating to restore the 19th century rulebook, then of course the unions will keep losing.

I guess when they get tired of losing, they'll dig the 19th century rulebook back out again.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 01:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - the standard narrative is that obstructive union action is destroying the economy.

It's like it's still 1977 in the UK. There are plenty of older people who quote the party line, even though the union movement was reduced to a rump by the end of Thatcher's evil reign, and its influence has been waning ever since.

But I'm not convinced we need 20th century unions back in the form we had them.

We probably need 21st century freelance associations, and a determined push to get independents into parliament where they can gum up the works for the 'serious' parties - which is a different game.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 01:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour Party (UK) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), meant to coordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.[48] It had no single leader, and in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united. The October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively; total expenses for the election only came to £33.[49] Only 15 candidatures were sponsored, but two were successful; Keir Hardie in Merthyr Tydfil and Richard Bell in Derby.[50]

Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike. The judgement effectively made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions.

Does not sound to different from the last part of your prescription.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 01:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
National archives: Margaret Thatcher wanted to crush power of trade unions | UK news | The Guardian

The Cabinet papers published under the 30-year rule lay bare the scale of Margaret Thatcher's long-held ambitions to crush the power of Britain's trade unions even before she had won her historic 144-seat majority landslide victory.

The Downing Street papers from 1983 show she told Ferdinand Mount, then head of her policy unit, that she agreed that Norman Tebbit's gradualist approach to trade union reform was too timid and that they should "neglect no opportunity to erode trade union membership".

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 1st, 2013 at 05:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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