Royal Mail workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking in a dispute over job security and employment terms and conditions, raising the threat of industrial action in the run-up to Christmas. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed action by 97% in a huge turnout of almost 76%. The CWU said Royal Mail was not sticking to an agreement reached last year covering a wide range of issues, including plans to reduce the working week, as well as job security. Industrial relations at the company have worsened this year, with widespread unofficial strikes breaking out virtually every week. Terry Pullinger, the CWU’s deputy general secretary, said the union and its members were facing the “fight of our lives”. The CWU said the result represented the largest vote in favour of national industrial action since the passing of the Trade Union Act 2016. The union said the prospect of the first national postal strike in a decade now “looms large”. … [Read more...] about Christmas postal strike looms after Royal Mail workers vote for action
The trade union act
It is not unreasonable for the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and assorted organisations concerned with the nation’s prosperity, to concentrate on the future of the customs union – or more precisely, what the future for British workers will look likewithout it. “The jobs or wages of men with low formal qualifications working in skilled manual occupations may be under particular threat,” remarked Agnes Norris Keiller, author of the IFS report, leaving “as you might expect, if you decimate your manufacturing sector” judiciously unsaid. However, the trade union movement is looking just as keenly at what Boris Johnson’s agreement means for workers’ rights. For four decades the EU has set minimum standards in the workplace on protection from discrimination, pregnancy, maternity and paternity rights, part-time, fixed term and agency workers’ rights, the famous working time directive, and holiday pay, and health and safety. There were … [Read more...] about How a Tory Brexit could finally unite Britain’s workers
Soft-Brexit Tory MPs and independents are resisting the idea of attaching a customs union to Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement bill, meaning it would likely need an alliance of all opposition parties to pass. Conservative MPs and former Tories, who previously backed the idea of a customs union, suggested on Tuesday they would prefer not to reopen the issue and wanted to support Johnson’s deal. Damian Green, the leader of the One Nation caucus, and Oliver Letwin, who has is heavily involved in the parliamentary fight against a no-deal Brexit, both indicated they would back Johnson’s deal without a customs union appended. However, Johnson is still facing the prospect that Labour could ally with enough opposition and independent MPs to amend his bill in favour of a softer Brexit. Labour said on Sunday it would try to win support from the Democratic Unionist party and other opposition MPs for attaching a customs union to Johnson’s Brexit legislation. The DUP has … [Read more...] about Tory MPs reluctant to attach customs union to Brexit bill
Boris Johnson today agreed a new Brexit deal with the European Union in a move which keeps alive his hopes of taking Britain out of the bloc by October 31. News of the agreement took many people in Westminster by surprise after the DUP said it could not support the Prime Minister's proposed way forward. Mr Johnson will now ask MPs to vote for the deal at a special 'Super Saturday' sitting of the House of Commons. Here is the deal in full that MPs will be asked to vote on: PROTOCOL ON IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND The Union and the United Kingdom, HAVING REGARD to the historic ties and enduring nature of the bilateral relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom, RECALLING that the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union presents a significant and unique challenge to the island of Ireland, and reaffirming that the achievements, benefits and commitments of the peace process will remain of paramount importance to peace, stability and reconciliation … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in full: Read the full text of Britain’s agreement with the EU here
It is here – the legislation setting out the legal framework for Boris Johnson’s proposed Brexit deal. The withdrawal agreement bill, or WAB, is 115 pages long, with an extra 126 pages of explanatory notes. It was published at 8pm on Monday, giving MPs 12 hours to digest details of the most notable constitutional change to the UK’s status in decades before the Commons resumes and they must cast their first votes on it. But what does it say? Main purpose As the explanatory notes say, the bill is intended to “implement, and make other provision in connection with, the agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU” over Brexit – it gives Johnson’s deal legal status. Transition period As long planned, this would last until the end of 2020. This can be extended by ministers for up to two more years. However, while such an extension would require the approval of parliament, the bill gives no provision for MPs to seek an extension – thus, if a … [Read more...] about What does Boris Johnson’s withdrawal bill actually say?