Brown surrenders to baiting…..
So, Gordon Brown has joined the fray; calling the Unite strike ‘unjustifiable’ and ‘deplorable’. Needless to say I feel no different about this than I did the intervention of Lord Adonis. It is deplorable and unjustifiable that a Labour leader should present such a one-sided view on industrial relations. Again it has to be asked why Brown was silent when the courts intervened etc, etc.
Brown’s remarks are a capitulation to the right-wing media and Conservatives baiting of Labour. I want to hear Brown condemn the courts intervention, the way BA withdrew the last offer at the 11th hour and the sacking of Unite activists over alleged activities on Facebook. However, it seems I am less likely to get my way than the likes of the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Eric Pickles.
Brown is phenomenally badly advised; this is a dialogue Labour simply cannot win out of because if he intervenes and it affects Unites actions it, paradoxically, proves the accusations of reciprocal influence to be true. What, exactly, is the end game here? Every strike that is threatened now becomes Labour’s and Brown’s personal responsibility? If that is the case then our unenviable role is, rather than to govern, to replace ACAS.
The facts are that an offer was on the table which would have seen the BA managements package of cuts accepted in return for certain guarantees. It withdrew the offer even before the union was allowed to consider because the strike was not immediately called off. This amounts not to sensible negotiation but active provocation from BA. Indeed, their actions throughout have been provocative and not exactly conducive to reaching a settlement. They are the party that needs to be pressured to make negotiations work however, this seems to have escaped both Adonis and Brown.
Both Brown and Adnois have shown how wrong the direction taken by the leadership sometimes can be. It’s time to change course and for Labour members who value the unions and the contribution they make to band together.