The Walrus

Mind the (Gender) Gap

Issue section: 
Author: 

Shocking new figures have put equal pay back on the agenda.

A batch of recent statistics on the role of women in the labour market highlight the fact that widespread discrimination has not gone away - even though women now make up virtually 50 percent of the workforce in Britain. The figures on pay discrimination are particularly scandalous given that it is now more than 30 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force and - despite all the ballyhoo about 'Blair's babes' - there has been hardly any shift in the gender pay gap since New Labour came to power.

Mind the (Imaginary) Gap

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Gordon Brown revives a Tory idea about regional pay

One of New Labour's more baffling preoccupations over the past few months has been its apparent fixation with the idea of regional pay. Exactly where the impetus for this is coming from seems a bit of a mystery, since none of the major unions have been campaigning in this direction and there hasn't really been any significant business lobby for regional pay variations either.

Just Call My Number

Issue section: 
Author: 

Tales of call centre jobs disappearing to India are not the whole story.

Just how serious is the threat of a call centre jobs stampede to India? Over the past few months the media has been full of stories of a wholesale jobs exodus from British call centres - an ideal cue for film crews to descend on Hyderabad or Bangalore and gush about what a wacky old world we are living in when Asian university graduates need to be clued up about EastEnders and learn to talk like Rex Harrison.

Unions: The Only Way to Win

Issue section: 
Author: 

The enthusiasm for the awkward squad will be wasted unless the rank and file take centre stage with determined strike action.

A run of recent setbacks in the unions has taken a bit of the gloss off the preceding sequence of election victories for members of the 'awkward squad'. Following the defeat of the firefighters and then the ousting of Mick Rix from the leadership of Aslef, the shock vote against national strike action by postal workers has taken a bit of wind out of the unions' sails and put some unaccustomed backbone into New Labour. It has left many fellow workers wondering when and if the much-heralded revival of union militancy is ever going to materialise.

Lights Go Out in Blair Bunker

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Campbell‘s departure is unlikely to halt the repackaging of privatisation.

With the ’dodgy dossiers‘ on Iraq in tatters and indeed the entire Blairite project heading for meltdown, now might be a useful point to turn attention to how the government‘s case for privatisation is being repackaged. Just like the war, it continues to be advocated at every available turn, despite overwhelming opposition from the general public.

Awkward Moment

Issue section: 
Author: 

The defeat of Mick Rix has important lessons - but not those the Blairites would have us believe.

The unexpected departure of Mick Rix as leader of the train drivers' union, Aslef, is a bit of a one-off in that it goes against the broad trend which still dominates in union elections. A week before the upset in Aslef, left candidates virtually swept the board in votes on the PCS civil service union national executive. And not long after, a leading Blairite and member of Labour's national executive, John Keggie, was ousted as deputy general secretary of the Royal Mail section of the CWU.

Thirsty for Profit

Issue section: 
Author: 

How water turns to gold for the city corporations.

Jollied along by city pundits, a not very convincing raggle-taggle of New Labour goons has recently been finding itself thrust in front of a totally unconvinced public to have another go at privatisation of the water industry in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Like the Tories before them, this government have already had a number of tries at doing this, only to be rebuffed by an impressive combination of dogged resistance from the unions and public outrage. If the early signs are anything to go by, resistance is likely to be every bit as fierce this time round.

Closer to the Tipping Point

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The only way to win a union election is to berate New Labour.

Like his heroine, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair is clearly so taken with himself that it might not be long before he also finds himself bundled into the limo of obscurity. Since the start of the occupation of Iraq, the government spin machine has desperately tried to convince the rest of us that a month or so of wanton destruction has done the PM's popularity no end of good. Which may true among New Labour lickspittles and Tory MPs. But you would be hard pressed to find much evidence for this claim outside of parliament.

Camp X-Ray on the NHS

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Look which US company is at the front of the queue for Iraq contracts.

What connection could there be between Texas, Vietnam, Camp X-Ray, US vice-president Dick Cheney and computerisation of the National Health Service? The answer, of course, is Halliburton--the US corporation which has been handed one of the first contracts for 'reconstruction' in Iraq and which the folks back in England are only just beginning to find out about.

Not Another Bloody Makeover!

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

What does modernisation of public services actually mean? More managers or more money?

The more you hear about what New Labour means by 'modernisation' of the public services, the more you realise the astonishing degree to which so much government thinking is still in thrall to a past era--of Thatcherism. This was probably most obvious in the first couple of weeks of the firefighters' strike when it was only too apparent that some of Blair's closest associates could hardly wait to get their knives into the FBU and tag leaders of the union as 'Scargillite' at every opportunity.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - The Walrus