petej + tradeunions   303

Paul Myerscough · Short Cuts · LRB 3 January 2013
What Pret has understood, and its competitors haven’t (or not yet), is how much money there is to be made from what radical left theorists have been referring to since the 1970s as ‘affective labour’. Work increasingly isn’t, or isn’t only, a matter of producing things, but of supplying your energies, physical and emotional, in the service of others. It isn’t what you make, but how your display of feeling makes others feel. This won’t be news to mothers, nurses and prostitutes, but the massive swelling of the service economy means that emotional availability can no longer be dismissed as women’s work; it must be seen as a dominant commodity form under late capitalism.

And it has to be real. ‘The authenticity of being happy is important,’ a Pret manager tells the Telegraph, ‘customers pick up on that.’ It isn’t clear which is the more demanding, authenticity or performance, being it or faking it, but in either case it’s difficult to believe that there isn’t something demoralising, for Pret workers perhaps more than most in the high street, not only in having their energies siphoned off by customers, but also in having to sustain the tension between the performance of relentless enthusiasm at work and the experience of straitened material circumstances outside it. ‘Henceforth,’ as Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming put it in their recent jeremiad Dead Man Working (Zero, £9.99), ‘our authenticity is no longer a retreat from the mandatory fakeness’ of the workplace, ‘but the very medium through which work squeezes the life out of us’.
Pret  PretAManger  work  labour  jobs  emotionalLabour  affectiveLabour  performance  authenticity  surveillance  monitoring  assessment  coercion  tradeUnions  Pamsu  immigration  pay  wages  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=MyerscoughPaul 
august 2017 by petej
If Corbyn's Labour wants to call itself pro-worker, it must be proudly pro-migrant too
Crammed as it is with union hacks and lefties, you would be forgiven for assuming that the Corbyn project would be thrilled at the thought of workers tackling exploitation head-on — a rising tide that could lift all boats. But it’s chosen instead to bind itself to a confusing middle ground, which “refuses to scapegoat migrants” openly, but will also blithely normalise the rhetoric of right-wingers who aren’t held back by similar hangups. Strategy wonks in the Labour Party, always at the mercy of ‘public opinion’, are haunted by the spectres of the Brexit vote, fearful of combatting an insidious common sense that uncontrolled migration is a menace.

The irony is that strategically recruiting anti-migrant rhetoric isn’t a guarantee of electoral success, but a high road to nowhere. In the grand game of migrant-bashing, Labour is simply outclassed by UKIP and the Tories, neither of whom depend for their existence on retaining the good will of multi-ethnic, metropolitan city centres amongst whom this brand of crypto-UKIPpery goes down about as well as does a rousing chorus of left-wing anthem the internationale in a Young Conservatives port & policy evening.

Enough of this craven, milquetoast electioneering. Labour has not previously shied away from challenging the received wisdoms of the Tory administration; that austerity is necessary, that privatisation injects efficiency into a bloated public. It must do so again with the migration question, re-entering the debate not on the exploited migrants, but on policymakers and employers who permit this exploitation. If the Labour party wants to call itself pro-worker, it must also be brave enough to call itself pro-migrant too.
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  immigration  migration  freedomOfMovement  manifesto  EU  trade  TTIP  employers  pay  wages  tradeUnions  Brexit  dctagged  dc:creator=PennyEleanor  TheLeft 
july 2017 by petej
Corbyn Is Wrong to Indulge Migration Myths – Free Movement Must Be Defended | Novara Media
Borders are a human construct that have slowly been dismantled through a reciprocal arrangement within Europe – it seems clear to me that giving up on freedom of movement is a clear backwards step for anyone who calls themselves progressive. In future I’d like to see a bit more honesty in the debate about freedom of movement. For a start that should mean restating that freedom of movement has had an overall positive impact to our economy and our society – and that the option to retain it does exist, even if some are choosing not to take it. I’d also like to see the left repeatedly say that it is bad bosses and government policy which cause wages to stagnate and rights to deteriorate, not people coming from other countries to find work.
UK  EU  Brexit  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  immigration  jobs  employment  welfare  tradeUnions  pay  wages  borders  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=LucasCaroline  freedomOfMovement 
july 2017 by petej
Guido Tallman - Between 2010 and 2014 I worked for the... | Facebook
Labour have never been the most progressive party on immigration. It is primarily because of the broad church of its membership and the influence of large trade unions upon policy. So a starting point of opposing the recruitment of low paid unskilled labour, heavily exploited and appallingly treated is a convenient and justifiable starting point. At the moment he is covering the positives to keep the party on board with the Corbyn project.
If Labour is to have a pure and principled policy on immigration, with a starting point of free movement for all, then the left needs to make it possible. To win the unions over to such a position, to win the branches and the CLPs to the same, to win an argument in practice at all levels and not sit back and think that JC can snap his fingers and full communism will prevail.
CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  UK  EU  Brexit  immigration  singleMarket  freedomOfMovement  tradeUnions  politics 
july 2017 by petej
All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go | Amber A’Lee Frost
It’s true that many traditional labor unions are backward or weak; some will need an overhaul. After a notoriously failed strike effort, the Communications Workers of America cleaned house, replaced an incompetent leadership, assessed their failure, and regrouped. (It led to a successful strike against Verizon in 2016, one that yielded 1,300 new jobs and a 10.5 percent raise over four years.) Other unions, like the aforementioned Machinists, must be gutted entirely, their membership reorganized into new institutions. Mostly, though, we need to start organizing the unorganized (i.e., most workers) and focus heavily on strategic points of employment. As much as it would flatter my ego to believe otherwise, I am not at a particularly strategic point; I’m an adjunct professor at a private university, and even when we all strike, it’s only a problem for our little university microcosm.

But take heart, fellow atomized and expendable neoliberal subjects: there is a place for us in the coming wars! The microcosms still need to be organized (every bit helps), and established unions can be refreshed and steered toward radical ends. Nevertheless, I regret to inform you that much of this endeavor will be quite dull. Organizing is not usually as invigorating as rallying; it’s mostly meetings, planning, phone calls, emails, spreadsheets—you know, women’s work. There are a lot of tedious administrative tasks that go into forming and maintaining a union, and the work is rarely as romantic or cinematic as a bunch of taxi drivers locking down JFK. But those moments do happen. They’re sustaining, and they compound one another. Only labor can make it happen. Only workers can shut down production. Only workers can close the ports. Only workers can take capital hostage and make the whole world stand still.
politics  activism  WomensStrike  FisherMark  EtVC  TrumpDonald  travel  ban  airport  NewYork  taxis  NYTWA  strike  Uber  tradeUnions 
july 2017 by petej
Notes From An Emergency
How is it that some dopey kid in Palo Alto gets to decide the political future of the European Union based on what they learned at big data boot camp? Did we lose a war?


Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.
nationalism  TrumpDonald  Europe  USA  SiliconValley  Facebook  Google  Amazon  Microsoft  Apple  monopolies  surveillance  personalData  security  authoritarianism  regulation  globalisation  tradeUnions  resistance  accountability 
may 2017 by petej
Treated like dirt, these teaching assistants have become the lions of Durham | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
Sold out by a Labour council, the TAs have also been badly let down by their union. The officials of Unison have been painfully slow to organise serious action. In all the months since the pay cut was announced last winter, they have failed so far even to ballot for any kind of industrial action. They now promise to hold one this month – which might yield a strike in October, just two months before the members are all laid off.

Aghast at such spinelessness, some councillors have shown the TAs correspondence from paid union representatives. One email suggests a one-off compensation payment that, it promises, would “gain overwhelming support” from the membership. That pledge was made without either the knowledge or the agreement of the TAs I’ve spoken to.

At the very point when Unison bureaucrats should have been digging in for the fight of their lives, they have instead spent months drawing up the terms of defeat.
Durham  education  schools  teachers  teachingAssistants  tradeUnions  Unison  cuts  localGovernment  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
february 2017 by petej
Sneering at the workers | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
For much of this year, pro-Brexit MPs and newspapers urged people to take back control. But when they try to exert a degree of control over something that directly affects them, like their pay and working conditions, they are met with condemnation, vitriol and threats. Being hard up and angry is fine, it seems, provided people don’t actually try to do anything about it.
class  tradeUnions  strikes  SouthernRail  BritishAirways  tabloids  media 
december 2016 by petej
Brexit helps kill Francis Maude's hated civil service 'rank and yank' system | Public Leaders Network | The Guardian
Many of those at both the top of the civil service and in middle management have privately acknowledged that having to grade all their staff in the system’s clunky framework has taken up far too much of everyone’s time.
CivilService  UK  government  performance  management  MaudeFrancis  PCS  tradeUnions 
december 2016 by petej
Why class won’t go away | Lynsey Hanley | Society | The Guardian
"You ask yourself what this means for society, when the powerlessness of one class in relation to another mutates into the power to hinder the progress of others. Nothing is done if not done together. If we refuse, or are unable, to work together because the classes have ossified into groups that do not trust each other and do not meet, does that mean an end to progress? The more polarised we become by advantage and its lack, the more thoughtlessly we will walk into parallel worlds of abundance and poverty, trust and suspicion. This is how the cynics win: by picking apart the unifying threads of culture and society and insisting that there are some people who never belonged, who never wanted to belong, in the first place."
UK  class  workingClass  middleClass  exclusion  poverty  post-industrialism  race  BlueLabour  socialMobility  aspiration  tradeUnions  rightToBuy  Brexit  polarisation  dctagged  dc:creator=HanleyLynsey  deindustrialisation  deprivation 
september 2016 by petej
In his speech the other day Neil Kinnock reminded me of a peculiar tick the the Labour Party… — Medium
This tick then, expressed (and expresses now when Neil Kinnock uses it in a speech) two very different ideas of what the Labour movement was or could be. For the Bennites then (and the Corbynites now), the Labour movement is and was something that recruits as many people as it can and becomes the direct expression of their political aspirations, including their most radical ones. That is, if you want a say in how the party, a trade union or the country is run, you join and participate with the best ideas winning through. The parliamentary party are nothing more than the delegates of their CLPs and their primary duty is to agitate for the politics of their members. For those on the other side, the Labour Party is not supposed to directly represent the politics of its members, it is a not a tool for direct interventions in the political sphere by ordinary people. Rather it is a organisation in which the leadership should be trusted to develop (after consulting members) a programme for government which appeals beyond their membership to the country as a whole. The members' role is largely passive, a case of essentially promoting whatever it is that party leadership does as opposition or government — socialism as “whatever a Labour government does”.

This then is one key to the gap between the left and right of the party. The gap that the soft left and the moving softer left (hello Owen Jones) don’t really get. The distance here is not all about policy. When Kinnock says he wants his party back, he means it in a very literal sense. He doesn’t want just want the leadership to return to his wing of the party, he wants an end to this dangerous experiment in “syndicalism”, where Labour pretends to represent directly the political ambitions of its members. He wants it back from its electorate and for the PLP, for a kind of imagined “authentic Labourism" which is more pragmatic and speaks for (but not with) the British people as a whole.

And when it says it, he does so with all historical justice on his side, because that genuinely is what the Labour Party has been historically and what it was founded to be — a party of the left’s great and good, cheerled by an obedient army of leaflet deliverers.

He and the other 172 MPs on Kinnock’s side will only truly be happy if and when it returns to that. That means that those hoping for a sort of Corbynism without Corbyn or even for a more general re-engagement with the interests of the working class, should think long and hard about what those cheers mean.
LabourParty  KinnockNeil  tradeUnions  syndicalism  control  Bennism  paternalism  hierarchy  radicalism  socialism  PLP  participation  leadership  CorbynJeremy  TheLeft 
july 2016 by petej
When are Labour party ‘moderates’ going to do more than just moan? | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
"Whatever his suitability for the job, Corbyn is where he is for one reason above all others: the fact that Britain’s post-1979 journey into a new reality of a shrunken welfare state, marketised public services, rising inequality and an impossible job market had reached a watershed with the deepening of austerity, and there was a need for a clear moral response, without which Labour was in danger of shrinking into meaninglessness. On that score, over the summer of 2015, the heirs to the New Labour project were deservedly found wanting; indeed, their very philosophy was fatally exposed."
LabourParty  NewLabour  Blairism  CorbynJeremy  leadership  post-industrialism  inequality  austerity  tradeUnions  UK  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=HarrisJohn 
january 2016 by petej
Christmas is brought to us on the back of worker exploitation | Voices | The Independent
"Many right-wing politicians and business people want us to get out of Europe because the EU gives workers a degree of protection, a fair deal and some respect. This government is determined not only to slash all state safety nets but to also make Britain into a mini United States, where workers get few holidays or basic employment rights and citizens pay for their own healthcare or die. That is the big Tory idea. They don’t put the details in their manifesto but, by stealth, European social democracy is being pushed out in favour of American social Darwinism. Is that what you want? Think about it while you spend, spend, spend over the next few days."
shopping  retail  work  labour  exploitation  hours  conditions  jobs  tradeUnions  neoliberalism  Christmas  UK  EU 
december 2015 by petej
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