Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Circle of Labour Life

As regular readers of my ramblings and rantings (if indeed there are any) know one of the things that really riles me is the Labour party’s tie in with the Unions. 
So I was not the least bit surprised to read in today’s Western Mail that
“The Government has given £2m of public money to Labour- donating trade unions since 2008, it was revealed in a written answer to the Tories from Finance Minister Jane Hutt.
They have come under two main initiatives, the Wales Development Fund for Unions, which is aimed at developing policy-making processes, and the Wales Union Learning Fund, which develops learning……..
In total, the Welsh Government has given £2.4m to 15 trade unions over the past three years, including £225,000 to the union Community, which earlier this year bolstered Labour’s Assembly election campaign by making donations to marginal constituencies.”
Now as I have said I am not against Unions – workers rights should be protected and they have a right to representation against their employers.  What does bother me is the blatant political involvement.
This has been particularly obvious in the case of current Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw.
He was / is (?) a Director of Thompsons solicitors.  Their part in the miners’ compensation scandal was well documented prior to the Assembly election.  Although despite the evidence being very clear he did his best to deny any involvement.  He even went as far as to threaten to sue when I included the story in our leaflets – an empty threat, you cannot sue someone for stating what is true and what can be proven,
The facts were that Thompsons solicitors were reported in several notable legal publications as having been severely reprimanded for their handling of miners’ compensation claims by their regulatory body. Money was reportedly taken from the amount of compensation miners received to pay the Unions an ‘administration fee.’ Thompson’s solicitors donated money to the Labour Party, and directly or indirectly to Antoniw’s campaign

But there is more.  When Rhondda Cynon Taff started their Equal Pay negotiations they ran into a bit of trouble when some employees refused to take the settlement offered.   An email from the Chief Executive to  Welsh Liberal Democrat Cllr Mike Powell in July 2010 revealed that 
“The current position in respect of the settlement of Equal Pay claims is as follows:-
 3,859 claims have been settled, at a total cost of £13,104,216.
 222 claims remain outstanding.  These claims have been lodged at Employment Tribunal.”
Who was acting for the employees?  None other than Thompson’s solicitors. So the Labour run Council failed to settle claims for its workforce and employed a Labour leaning firm of solicitors to represent its own employees against the CouncilThat firm then donated money to the Labour election campaign, benefitting Antoniw.
You couldn’t make it up

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