THE ST. ANDREW’S DAY STRIKE
I have had a lifelong involvement with trades unions, most of it on the other side of the bargaining table to them as a management representative. At every point in my career in industry where it was possible for me to be a member of a relevant trade union, I was.
I have been on strike and on a picket line.
I have been a staff representative for a trade union, I have been a member of a union committee that organised a strike for recognition against my American employer at a time when I was in management.
A month before the strike, I was promoted to a post in the Personnel department. Both the company and the union were in agreement that members of the Personnel department were not eligible for union membership, so I was forced to resign. When the strike occurred, I walked through the picket line, with the full understanding of my former union colleagues, entered the factory, then walked out again and joined the strike, an act of career lunacy. The strike failed because we were betrayed by the Union (ASTMS) full-time officers, who did a backroom deal.
(I later was on the management side of the table when the staff struck again in a new union ASSET, and they were in turn betrayed by their shop floor colleagues, the T&GWU, who crossed the picket line, did the strikers’ jobs and broke the strike)
I joined ASTMS again when I was a senior manager with Scottish & Newcastle (I was a slow learner!) – another act of near career suicide, with a very similar outcome.
I have always firmly believed in the rights of trades unionists, and always tried to respect them as a manager and employee relations negotiator, and a formative experience in my career was working for eight years with the late, great, Allan Blacklaws, OBE of Scottish & Newcastle, who built a reputation based on fundamental respect for trade unions, and ground-breaking innovations in dealing with them in the shipyards and the brewing industry.
I marched on the STUC march against the cuts shortly after major heart surgery in the RIE – I marched with the NHS group in solidarity and gratitude.
Some of what I believe is reflected in the following two blog links, and there has been much more in a similar vein.
THE ST. ANDREW’S DAY STRIKE
This strike, by Scottish Public service unions, is misconceived, is damaging to Scotland, to the Scottish economy and to vulnerable Scottish families. It will contribute nothing to the wider UK struggle – which I support – because Scots constitute less than 10% of the UK population, they cannot influence UK Coalition policy, and they are hurting a government that supports them.
The strike is being manipulated by Labour for political ends, especially for the continuation of the Scottish Labour politicians and full-time union officers place on the gravy train to Westminster.
Only Scotland’s independence will remedy the UK – i.e Labour, Tory and LibDem – attack on the public services in Scotland.
This ill-conceived strike simply plays into the hands of the ant-Scottish Tory/LibDem Coalition and the anti-Scottish Labour/Tory/LibDem Coalition against Scotland’s freedom, led by Margaret Curran, Willie Bain, Michael Moore and David Mundel.
Scottish public sector trades unionists could have made a far more powerful statement by opting out of this strike, and by sending a large delegation to Holyrood to get a commitment from the Scottish Government to resisting this pernicious attack on the terms and conditions of public servants, and a commitment to remedying the problems once independence is achieved.
The Scottish economy is on a knife-edge at the moment, exacerbated by Labour, Tories and LibDems talking down Scotland – don’t help them by striking, because that is exactly what you will do.
DON’T STRIKE ON ST. ANDREW’S DAY
OPT OUT OF THE POLITICAL LEVY – GET YOUR FORM NOW
DON’T AFFILIATE TO ANY POLITICAL PARTY
AFFILIATE TO SCOTLAND
RE-CAPTURE THE TRUE SPIRIT OF SCOTTISH TRADES UNIONS