I used to be pretty non-committal with regard to Unions – the only one I have ever belonged to is the Students Union – and I generally have a fairly ‘do-as-you-please’ attitude to people, a liberal attitude one may say!
I’ve never been happy about their role as bed fellows to and the driving force behind the Labour Party believing that trade unions should be non-political, and that if large groups of people want to move this country in a particular political direction then they should do it under their own banner. But it has been little more than a mild annoyance.
Lately that is turning into an anger that is bordering on the irrational. The mere mention of the word Union is likely to set me off on a rant of significant proportions. Indeed I have been moved to write to the local press on several occasions lately on the subject of Unions and particularly the relationship of the Labour AM for Pontypridd with said Unions!
Just to clarify my position, I am not against trade unions per se - I am all for advocacy for workers. However, less than 30% of workers actually belong to a trade union, and their influence is in my view unreasonable.
So what has caused my latest episode of angst? Well it is the story today on the BBC which reports ‘Unions criticise plan to cut school trip red tape’
Now I must admit I am not a huge fan of Education Secretary Michael Gove, I think some of his ideas are bonkers to put it mildly. But his plans to cut the red tape involved in organising schools trips sounds to me like an excellent idea. No more filling in of hundreds of forms and writing of unnecessary risk assessment plans to go on a picnic down the local park (in England!).
But are the teaching unions happy? No of course not – although no doubt if Leighton announced a similar plan here they would kiss his feet (or somewhere) and hail him a hero.
At present guidelines on the organising of school trips run to 150 pages. How ridiculous is that? When I was in school, admittedly a few years ago now, we used to go on school trips – we managed to get through them without any loss of life or limb, or indeed of children. They were fun.
Now it is so much hassle to take children out of school that often teachers are put off by it. Many teachers would probably agree that the red tape needs to be cut down. The Unions are as usual just making political points.