The private sector unions have been fantastically responsible during this recession. -Digby-Jones on today’s Guardian podcast. He’s probably right – look at wage growth. There is no winter of discontent here.

He goes in to say how the BA dispute is not about unions generally, but a public sector union preventing the B A management possessing the right to manage, with absurd Spanish practices.

It looks like the real test will be when the public sector faces redundancies.

And also condemns Brown for being a member of a union.

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9 thoughts on “Quote of the day

  1. Digby Jones is, in my considered opinion, a snivelling little toe rag.

    I resent being expected to take lectures from the man – who is profoundly ignorant and rather stupid – simply because he is very rich and used to be the face of Fat Cats United.

    1. Is this another example of your excellent political education enabling you to short-circuit your way to the conclusion earlier than we mortals (joke …)

      I have never met him, but I rate anyone who is bright. Do you get the podcast? I thought he was quite thoughtful. I don’t want to go all “my back pages” but I am far less certain about who is a goodie and who is a baddie than I used to be

      1. More to do with his various appearances on Newsnight’s “politics pen” – I never once heard him express an opion that required connecting up more than two thoughts. And in my estimation, he’s viciously right-wing in the way that those who were employed to defend the interests of big business, and dismiss the needs of the worse-off with blase right-wing idiocies that betray a profound ignorance of the speaker’s own good fortune, typically are.

        I agree that the world doesn’t fall neatly into goodies and baddies. But DJ is definitely an arse.

        He goes in the box labelled “Richard Branson and fellow arseholes”, IMO.

  2. Worth noting that Diggers is not really a business leader himself. He was a lawyer, then head of the CBI – ie a lobbyist. Wher he has been a board member he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory. He was the senior independent director (ie the top non-exec) at iSoft for example – the former FD has just been fined by the FRC for misleading the auditors during the period when Diggers was the SID.

    He was undoubtedly very popular with many CBI members (not all of them) during his tenure because he was very pro management power. His tone was in marked contrast to Red Adair. And some of the things he said about unions in that time – ie declining relevance/irrelevance in many private sector employers – were, unfortunately, rather accurate. But that does not translate to him knowing anything useful about BA.

  3. The situation at BA is clear enough. Since privatisation and increased competition from low-budget airlines, workers have had their terms and conditions eroded in the name of boosting profits for shareholders.

    Now, we can have a race to the bottom in wages and conditions – but this ultimately will cause UK capitalism to be destabilised as wages stagnate and consumer demand falls.

    At Air Lingus, Walsh and the management tried to get a state-owned enterprise on the cheap – going to the government to demand privatisation. Now, he’s involved in trying to break collective bargaining.

    BA cabin crew have offered wage cuts – they want negotiated change, collective bargaining. And think about it – if you have a workforce who feel no loyalty to the firm because they are not treated with dignity by management, how is the customer experience flying BA to be maintained?

    1. Actually, it refers to me having no Internet.

      BA is in a global world. Its profits and cost of capital are partially fixed by globalised forces, but it has a cabin crew pay stucture that is way out of whack as far as I can see.

      From what I hear, the cabin crew have great loyalty to BA itself, but hate Willie Walsh

      1. So now the boss of Ryanair has come out to defend Walsh’s bullying tactics.

        It’s a shame more of us don’t have the same grasp of shared interest than these parasites…

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