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Old February 26th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #1
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Bin Workers Strike - Edinburgh

This has been going on for a bit. The bin workers and cleaning staff, through the IWW and UNISON, have organised against the council. UNITE has also initiated a work-to-rule.

They are protesting:

* Pay cuts (vastly undervalued members of society anyway)

* Threat of privatisation (taxes will increase in the long-term because private contracts will be revised upward)

* The use of scabs for union-busting (and illegal actions in this area)

* Withholding pay

* Authoritarian tactics of management

* Failure of the council to budget for "equality" legislation (meaning more pay cuts - other councils managed fine, by the way, it's the incompetence)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edinburgh Bin Worker
The management are using bullyboy tactics and harassment. Our depot?s like a police state.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #2
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This isn't only cleansing workers, though. It's across the manual labour plane.

There have been a good few unreasonable demands, too. One poor dinner lady supervisor was told she had to cover two schools by herself!

Back to bin men, blackmail and verbal bullying were employed to enforce managements' authority, often to the abject injustice of the worker. Bin men ran a full shift (working to rule) and when they returned, they had a full day's wages docked. They then made them sign a form saying they wer guilty of "partial performance". If they refused - many did - they were sent home without pay and weren't allowed back into work until they signed it.

Not only is this illegal, it is brutally authoritarian and coercive. The proper "disciplinary procedures" (i'm sure i'm not the only one that think that sounds 1984-ish) were ignored.

The council also instructed managements to ignore their own H&S rules.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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I fully support the freedom of the workers to protest, but I also support the freedom to fire all of these people from the companies' side. If laws were broken, the government should (and probably will) step in and go by procedure and from your explanation of refusing to pay wages, it seems so.

When you say the proper disciplinary measures were ignored, do you mean by the companies or the government?
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myp View Post
I fully support the freedom of the workers to protest,


Quote:
but I also support the freedom to fire all of these people from the companies' side.
Which is illegal, thank goodness.

Quote:
If laws were broken, the government should (and probably will) step in and go by procedure and from your explanation of refusing to pay wages, it seems so.
I seem to have neglected to explain. The council (the local Government) is the employer. It won't penalise itself. What's more, this should be taken in the context of the ignoring and derision on the side of the state in its opposition to workers' rights and the actions of unions in the past few years.

Quote:
When you say the proper disciplinary measures were ignored, do you mean by the companies or the government?
Same thing. The council is the employer.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
Which is illegal, thank goodness.
Which I believe it shouldn't be. Just this week we had a school here in the States fire its entire staff. Considering more than half the kids couldn't read (and it was a high school), it was justified- sometimes these things just are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
I seem to have neglected to explain. The council (the local Government) is the employer. It won't penalise itself. What's more, this should be taken in the context of the ignoring and derision on the side of the state in its opposition to workers' rights and the actions of unions in the past few years.

Same thing. The council is the employer.
Ah, well there is certainly a conflict of interest there for the government. Just another reason to be for privatization
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myp View Post
Which I believe it shouldn't be. Just this week we had a school here in the States fire its entire staff. Considering more than half the kids couldn't read (and it was a high school), it was justified- sometimes these things just are.
If it can be justified, it's not illegal, my friend.

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Ah, well there is certainly a conflict of interest there for the government. Just another reason to be for privatization
I'd rather have my taxes lowered, thanks.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
If it can be justified, it's not illegal, my friend.
Then you get into the question of what can and can not be justified. In matters like these the employer can always claim that the workers weren't efficient and the workers would say otherwise. Why not let contracts do the talking? If a worker was contracted to do a certain amount of work and did it, then the law sides with them, otherwise, the company can fire them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
I'd rather have my taxes lowered, thanks.
Not sure what you mean. Privatizing government programs would mean lower government spending, which would mean the government would need less taxes and could lower your taxes if they wanted. In my opinion they should in that case, but of course, with the politicians you never know- they will always find a "use" for the money given the chance. That is where the people lobbying the government or electing good people comes in.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myp View Post
Then you get into the question of what can and can not be justified. In matters like these the employer can always claim that the workers weren't efficient and the workers would say otherwise. Why not let contracts do the talking? If a worker was contracted to do a certain amount of work and did it, then the law sides with them, otherwise, the company can fire them.
There is also common-sense legislation that protects workers from the bosses. The workers were working-to-rule in protest already - then management penalises them (with draconian means) for following legal requirements? Are you claiming that's not inustice?

Quote:
Not sure what you mean. Privatizing government programs would mean lower government spending, which would mean the government would need less taxes and could lower your taxes if they wanted. In my opinion they should in that case, but of course, with the politicians you never know- they will always find a "use" for the money given the chance. That is where the people lobbying the government or electing good people comes in.
In this case, it's specific. The suggested privatisation would involve the council contracting private businesses to do operations like refuse-collections, cleaning public areas, etc. That will raise taxes, because they will up the charge on the contracts, in order to maximise profits. Savings in spending, if any, would be superficial and very short term.

The idea that privatisation automatically means savings is simplistic and, in this case, fallacious.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #9
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People need to learn that having employment is a privilege and not a right. If these bin workers are refusing to do the job they are paid to do then they need to stand aside and allow some of the millions unemployed in this country an opportunity to do a decent day's work. I'll never understand how people think they have a right to a job.

They should all be sacked. If they're not turning in to do the job they are paid for, that is gross misconduct and deserves dismissal.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 01:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
People need to learn that having employment is a privilege and not a right. If these bin workers are refusing to do the job they are paid to do then they need to stand aside and allow some of the millions unemployed in this country an opportunity to do a decent day's work. I'll never understand how people think they have a right to a job.

They should all be sacked. If they're not turning in to do the job they are paid for, that is gross misconduct and deserves dismissal.
Get this: I have to work to survive, but i will not tolerate fascism in my workplace. I do the damned work, i should be calling the shots. As it is, i will ensure i'm treated as fairly as practical, as i am able.

I don't live in Edinburgh, but i can well understand their grievances.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 10:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
People need to learn that having employment is a privilege and not a right. If these bin workers are refusing to do the job they are paid to do then they need to stand aside and allow some of the millions unemployed in this country an opportunity to do a decent day's work. I'll never understand how people think they have a right to a job.

They should all be sacked. If they're not turning in to do the job they are paid for, that is gross misconduct and deserves dismissal.
Without the worker, the job doesn't get done. The worker rules.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
I have to work to survive, but i will not tolerate fascism in my workplace
So do I and neither will I. Calling it Fascism is both extreme and sensationalist. Strike action crippled industry in the country and it should not be tolerated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
I do the damned work, i should be calling the shots.
Bollocks (pardon me). Do you choose your salary? Do you choose your holiday allocation? Do you choose which days to work? Do you choose your uniform or what level of competency you need to achieve to do that job? You can't call the shots. You're the employee. Deal with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
As it is, i will ensure i'm treated as fairly as practical, as i am able.
I think that's totally fair. However, will you treat your employer as fairly as practical by working when you're supposed to in the manner you're supposed to?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
I don't live in Edinburgh, but i can well understand their grievances.
Their greivances are simple. They are disgruntled manual labourers who believe they are entitled to more than what they are. They have no concept of social mobility or bettering oneself. If they wish to be paid more they should go back to school. If they wish for better working conditions they should apply for a different job. If they don't like their boss; quit. If they want more freedom, start your own business.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Without the worker, the job doesn't get done. The worker rules.
Are you a socialist? Without the worker there is another worker and another and another. If someone is unwilling to do the job they are being paid for they need to step aside and let someone who is willing to do the job take over.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
So do I and neither will I. Calling it Fascism is both extreme and sensationalist.
Why? The workplace is run by pure fascism. Hierarchy, authority, authoritarianism... no democracy. There's little that isn't fascist about it.

Quote:
Strike action crippled industry in the country and it should not be tolerated.
So did war and liberal economic policies - they're still espoused by the state. And if we have to strike, it's a sign there's something wrong in the first place. Strike action is our veto to protect ourselves against our bosses.

Quote:
Bollocks (pardon me). Do you choose your salary? Do you choose your holiday allocation? Do you choose which days to work? Do you choose your uniform or what level of competency you need to achieve to do that job? You can't call the shots. You're the employee. Deal with it.
I think that's totally fair. However, will you treat your employer as fairly as practical by working when you're supposed to in the manner you're supposed to?
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/should

Quote:
Their greivances are simple. They are disgruntled manual labourers who believe they are entitled to more than what they are. They have no concept of social mobility or bettering oneself. If they wish to be paid more they should go back to school.
Yeah, yeah, it's always the workers' fault, eh?

Quote:
If they wish for better working conditions they should apply for a different job. If they don't like their boss; quit. If they want more freedom, start your own business.
HA! Yeah right. Typical liberal - no idea about practicality.

Quote:
Are you a socialist? Without the worker there is another worker and another and another. If someone is unwilling to do the job they are being paid for they need to step aside and let someone who is willing to do the job take over.
Yep, that's right, instead of making things better, employ people that will work for less. Tch! I might have expected. Privelege over freedom and democracy.

EDIT: (and bloody hell, i've just realised what a waste of time it was reacting)
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
Are you a socialist?
Yes.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 02:51 AM   #15
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@Dirk. If there is no money to pay staff, i.e. Government cuts the budget because there are less taxes, what other options are there for keeping everyone employed?
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deanhills View Post
@Dirk. If there is no money to pay staff, i.e. Government cuts the budget because there are less taxes, what other options are there for keeping everyone employed?
It didn't cut the budget. It failed to supply funds to support a piece of so-called "equality" legislation (it's nothing of the sort, by the way). Which means now they're cutting things willy nilly to make up for it. Now the damage is done, they could do any of the following:

* rack up a small debt

* cut sensibly

* demand the Government provide fiscal support for its legislation

(completely reasonable)

* cut the pay of management

(saving a small fortune)
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
It didn't cut the budget. It failed to supply funds to support a piece of so-called "equality" legislation (it's nothing of the sort, by the way).
So where was it supposed to source those funds from? As far as I can see most of all Government is in serious financial trouble.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 05:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deanhills View Post
So where was it supposed to source those funds from? As far as I can see most of all Government is in serious financial trouble.
Oh no, it's completely down to the inadequacy of the system. Every other council managed fine. Basically, when the Government makes a law, it provides money to the enforcing agent (in this case the city council), to facilitate its implementation. Councils also get budgets to play around with and enforce their own laws (local government legislation). Since the law requires enforcement, they made up the money they didn't get by hurting the workers. Although I will say that highly authoritarian conditions have nothing to do with costs.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
EDIT: (and bloody hell, i've just realised what a waste of time it was reacting)
Aww, but you did anyway.

Capitalism works. Communism doesn't. Just look at Russia. This is a free market economy. It should be possible for people who refuse to work to be fired on the spot.

Quote:
Why? The workplace is run by pure fascism. Hierarchy, authority, authoritarianism... no democracy. There's little that isn't fascist about it.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism

Quote:
Yeah, yeah, it's always the workers' fault, eh?
Bllody hell! It's Karl Marx reborn!

I'm a worker myself. I work fulltime, support a family, pay my bills, pay my taxes, and not all that far from Edinburgh either. It really is a simple concept. If you don't like what you are doing, do something else. I'm not certain what the issue is.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
Aww, but you did anyway.
Do you feel special?

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Capitalism works. Communism doesn't.
I'm not a commie. I'm an anarcho-syndicalist.

Quote:
Just look at Russia.
Probably the worst example, considering it wasn't even socialist, let alone communist.

Quote:
This is a free market economy.
No it isn't. It's a mixed economy.

Quote:
It should be possible for people who refuse to work to be fired on the spot.
Thank feck i have the union behind me if i am fired unjustifiably.

Quote:
Bllody hell! It's Karl Marx reborn!
I'm not a Marxist. On the largely defuct left-right scale, i would be to the left of Karl Marx.

Quote:
I'm a worker myself. I work fulltime, support a family, pay my bills, pay my taxes, and not all that far from Edinburgh either. It really is a simple concept. If you don't like what you are doing, do something else. I'm not certain what the issue is.
Then open your eyes.

As for the issue, i listed a good few in the first two posts.
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