Friday, 29 October 2010

Industrial action forces unions right back into the national conscience

The Sun newspaper - where independent unions were banished in 1986 - has given a surprising amount of space to trade union affairs this week.
Here are just some examples.
On Monday the main story on page two of the paper was about the start of the Unite general secretary election.
Readers were told that "a left-winger is poised to seize control of the giant Unite union."
Candidate Len McCluskey, we discovered: "Supported the ultra-left group Militant in the 1980s and is surrounded by left-wing cronies."
"Moderate" candidiate Les Bayliss told the paper: "Some ultra-leftists would prefer a Tory government to throw brickbats at rather than a successful Labour Party."
Female candidate Gail Cartmail and rank-and-filer Jerry Hicks were not even mentioned.
The Sun on Unite
Yesterday the paper said London firefighters had the "flamin' cheek" to ask for £10,000 per year pay rises.
The Sun on the Fire Brigade's Union
Two days earlier there had been a much more reasonable story with a nice picture of strikers in Islington.
The Sun's website gets millions of hits - and comments are open.

This morning there was a very straight report on the National Union of Journalists' plans for a strike over pensions at the BBC - but I can't find it on the web.

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