Unions

Jim Pickard

Word reaches me that Laurence Faircloth, south-west regional officer for Unite, has dropped out of the battle to be joint head of Britain’s biggest union. Apparently he has thrown his lot in with Derek Simpson, the embattled encumbent.

Jerry Hicks, one of the remaining three challengers, suggests that the branches which backed Faircloth won’t necessarily follow his move, which may be an attempt to “save his own skin”* in case Simpson wins. Read more

Jim Pickard

Just got the news from Kevin Coyne – one of the challengers against Derek Simpson – that he received 244 branch nominations, not far behind Simpson’s 313. (For the background see my blog earlier today). He is now calling for the runners-up to, ahem, unite with him.

Simpson, the sitting joint general secretary of Unite, is suddenly looking far from secure.  Read more

Jim Pickard

I wrote in the FT over the New Year about the leadership election for the Amicus wing of super-union Unite*. Derek Simpson is facing a challenge brought about by his determination to remain as co-head of the union until 2011.

Why should we care? Because Unite is by far the biggest donor to the Labour party, a position which could change if Mr Simpson is toppled. Read more

Jim Pickard

Hilary Benn was out and about yesterday urging people to “buy British” when choosing their food and drink. This made me vaguely wonder whether to expect calls for a more general campaign to help UK industry during the recession. Unions, bishops, Labour MPs, UKIP; that sort of thing.

And then I spotted this story in the Telegraph this morning about US Democrats insisting on a “Buy American” clause in Barack Obama’s $750bn fiscal package; the obvious implication being a lurch towards protectionism by the world’s biggest economy. Read more

Jim Pickard

I was surprised to see the GMB union describing as “total bollocks” my scoop this morning.

The story revealed talks between Corus and union officials over a possible 10 per cent pay cut for the steel group’s 25,000 workers. It’s interesting because this is the kind of idea which could be followed elsewhere (FT journalists have already been handed a pay freeze for 2009). Read more

Jim Pickard

The big Labour national policy forum at Warwick in late July was supposed to pin down the party’s next manifesto. Just as “Warwick I” was agreed shortly before the last general election.

The event did have an air of stage-management about it, with unions and ministers trying to agree a deal days before anyone even arrived in the Midlands. Read more

Jim Pickard

The parallels are uncanny.

A party, in crisis after years in power, deposes the politician who has dominated domestic policy for the last decade. Read more

Jim Pickard

As early as May we were reporting some of the big demands from unions such as Unite and GMB from the Labour national policy forum – which ended yesterday.

How many did they actually get? Hardly anything, despite the OTT headlines this morning. Read more

Jim Pickard

Labour’s national executive committee are meeting again this week to revive the search for a new general secretary to replace Peter Watt - who quit last year after the David Abrahams proxy donations controversy.

On Friday the party slipped out the news that David Pitt-Watson, the City fund manager who was poised to take the job, had walked. The founder and chairman of Hermes Equity Ownership Services was concerned about potential liabilities from taking up the job at a time when Labour is about £20m in the red.   Read more