Tuesday 3 February 2009

The truth behind the wildcat strikes

David Aaronovitch is on cracking form in this morning's Times with the best explanation I have seen of what lies behind the wildcat strikes. Particularly telling is the absence of evidence behind the claims being made by some union leaders - and the real reason behind these strikes.

I also called the Unite press office and asked them to supply any details they could of Mr Simpson's specific allegation that his officials had been told by the “blatant” subcontractors that they would not employ UK workers. A few minutes later a nice chap rang. He wasn't sure that Mr Simpson had been referring to Lindsey specifically, but there were other situations where this might have happened. He'd ring round and call me back. The call never came......

So what on earth was this about? Here's a clue. Also yesterday another union bigwig, Paul Kenny, of the GMB, described the “root cause” of the rash of wildcat stoppages as being “discrimination against British workers”. Mr Kenny cited in evidence personal conversations with companies who had told him that they “cannot instruct these firms [ie, subcontractors] to employ British workers” because of EU law. In other words, the lack of the ability of companies to discriminate against foreign workers was really the issue for Mr Kenny, not discrimination against British ones. What he evidently wanted was the right to employ British workers - members one presumes of British unions - in preference to EU ones.

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