Readers’ letters - Tuesday, August 4

An official picket line. Unions are vital for workers' rights says a correspondent
An official picket line. Unions are vital for workers' rights says a correspondent
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Are strikes really outdated?

How privileged is Blaise Tapp to have a regular column in the LEP. Shame when this column is used, on this occasion, for some biased and ill-informed comments (Strikes belong in the past, LEP July 22). Blaise complains many were inconvenienced by the teachers’ strike way back in 2008 which, he says, gave parents a headache. My goodness, a headache five long years ago, now that’s a mega inconvenience.

I’ll bet parents think those few days on strike were far worse than their children’s absences through authorised teachers’ inset days, children’s sick days and school holidays – inconveniences since 2008 and before.

Mr Tapp does not mention what the strike was about. Nor does he remark about the great job most teachers do for the good of our children, also how their pay and working conditions have fallen. He asserts that surely there are plenty of opportunities to make a strong case in other ways. Unfortunately, he can’t think of one to put forward.

Perhaps he has a view that all bosses are fair. Is he not aware that leading advanced nation surveys show UK management performance is well below average?

Many highly profitable British businesses reward most of their staff with low pay for ever increasing workload, meaning many need two, or three jobs to help their families survive.

Can he suggest how best these poor and exploited workers can put a strong case for a fair deal?

The cost of taking a strong case of discrimination to court has increased significantly with long delays to achieve justice.

Frequently, in unionised businesses, just the collective support of union colleagues only threatening to strike is enough to obtain justice within a few days.

As a senior trade unionist, in a large company when large redundancies and site closures were implemented, it was usually the businesses with weak union membership which were the first to close. Is it just a coincidence that employees with the lowest pay, long hours, no sick or holiday pay and abysmal conditions are usually non-union businesses?

Perhaps Blaise can explain why the most powerful and highly paid professions have large numbers of members who belong to trade unions? For example, the BMA and the Law Society. He should have a strong word with the Law Society who had the temerity to go on strike recently.

As a lay trade union representative, I defended individuals and groups suffering unjust discrimination and obtained for them justice in the form of adequate redress or reinstatement. In occasional cases, it was the members’ threat to walk out of work in protest that ensured justice.

While Blaise is critical of working class trade unions, he fails to mention the power of the middle class unions. These groups know all about strong membership and solidarity to obtain high pay. The doctors are amongst the highest paid in Europe and the lawyers went on strike to protect their jobs. It seems they have not yet found this other way he suggests.

In conclusion, it is a unionised Japanese UK Company which produces quality cars with the highest exports.

Perhaps, the columnist’s peaceful industrial relations advice could be used to solve the issue of greedy bosses sacking workers without good reason, closing businesses and switching locations, and dismissing hundreds of loyal workers without consultation. Now that is a more difficult task, but worthwhile.

Peter Ward, former lay union rep, pension trustee and chairman Aerospace Unions

Police exempt from limits

With reference to your article on the 20mph speed limit (LEP July 3). We have one on Kingsfold Drive, Penwortham, and the biggest culprits for breaking the speed limit are the police on non- emergency calls. It seems they can ignore the limit because they drive police cars.

Name and address supplied

Make a film of Jo ‘Fuzzbox’

I read they made a film about Amy Winehouse (LEP July 31).

Yes, I’m sure Amy deserves a film.

They should make one about Freddie Mercury and Phil Lynott, too.

In my opinion, they should make a film of Joanne “Fuzzbox” Dunne as well.

She was a talented musician, as all her band was.

She’ll mostly be remembered for her trademark pink air guitar.

Jo Fuzzbox died from cancer in 2012, two years after the We’ve got a Fuzzbox reunion tour.

I and many fans attended her funeral.

One conversation at the crematorium was about what was to become of her now sacred air guitar collection. We’re hoping Maid of Ace will bring Maggie “Fuzzbox” to Blackpool for the Blackpool Rebellion Punk Festival 2015 next week.

We will have to see.

John Aspinall, Kirkham

A Northern Poorhouse

The Tory Government has quickly shown its true view of the north – the Powerhouse was a good catchphrase but I suspect only intended to ensure that northern votes returned the Tories to power in the House of Commons.

The recent announcement on rail projects has quickly revealed the Tories’ true intentions – HS2 and the Great Western electrification have been protected, with northern projects deferred (without any commitment to a date).

Perhaps it’s all in the accent – not Northern Powerhouse but Northern Poorhouse!

AF Leyland

Thinking’s not the political way

I am ridiculously pleased that Connor Dwyer has discovered, at his tender age, that you cannot be a member of a political party and, at the same time, think for yourself.

If he needs confirmation of this, just tune into a broadcast from Parliament and listen to the snorting and braying that accompanies every speech!

Do any of them sound like they are the chosen representatives of the people? Thought not.

Allan Fazackerley via email