Monday, 31 October 2016

Lying Eyes



A bus in Denmark carries an important message for Americans living abroad - Dump Trump!


 


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-650-million-people-immigration

Donald Trump says Clinton would let 650 million people into US in a week

Republican presidential nominee makes outlandish immigration claim at a rally in New Mexico while also stoking fears of voting fraud in Colorado

Trump: Clinton would let 650 million people into US in one week

By Ben Jacobs - The Guardian

Donald Trump falsely claimed at a rally on Sunday that Hillary Clinton wants to let “650 million people pour in” to the US and “triple the size of our country in one week”.


Speaking in an airplane hangar in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Trump again pushed his hardline immigration stance and warned of the dangers posed by what he described as Clinton’s “open borders” policy.

Trump took his alarmist rhetoric to a new height when boasting about his endorsement from the union which represents ICE and border patrol officers. He told them: “You know, it would be much easier working for Obama or working for crooked Hillary because frankly when you’re working for Hillary, she wants to let people just pour in.”

Straight Talking, Honest Politics?

Image result for cant cut the mustard

Paul Mason, a leading supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, was embarrassed the other day when his private thoughts about the appeal of the Labour leader were leaked to The Sun newspaper.

“Corbyn doesn’t appeal to the mainstream working class vote.

“It’s to do with a cultural thing about London.

“Corbyn goes to England on a bike and cycles round.

“Working class people go to a leader.

“He has no cultural references to the way they live”.


How refreshing to find that some of these 'lefty' commentators agree with me after all, even if they say one thing in public and another in private.

Straight talking, honest politics?

Image result for paul mason + sun images

 


Having A Laugh!



The latest Labour Party poster made me laugh with its ridiculous image of Jeremy Corbyn 'calling time' on the equal pay waiting game.

Maybe Jeremy could find the time to send this poster to some of the many Labour council who fought so hard against equal pay for all these years?

South Lanarkshire and North Lanarkshire Councils are two of the more obvious ones that spring to mind.

In South Lanarkshire, of course, the local trade unions actively discouraged their members from pursuing equal pay claims against the local Labour-run council for many years - and if you ask me Jeremy Corbyn is of that same, old-fashioned, 'leftist' union mindset.

One that talks the talk, but fails to deliver time after time.

 


Can't Cut The Mustard (22/09/16)

Image result for cant cut the mustard

I listened to quite the most devastating assessment of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership abilities on Radio 5 Live, the other day, from his first wife Jane Chapman.

Now this was not the bitter rant of a woman scorned, not least because Jane voted for her former husband first time around when he won the Labour leadership in 2015.

Nor was this 'uninformed' opinion of someone with an axe to grind since Jane is now widely regarded Professor of Communications at the University of Lincoln and a visiting Fellow at Wolfson College Cambridge.

Nonetheless Jane's view was that Jeremy had failed to mark his mark in any of the roles he has played throughout his life as a local government councillor, a trade union official and/or as a Labour MP, observing that:
  • as a local councillor Jeremy chaired nothing more important than a council sub-committee
  • Jeremy's trade union career never progressed beyond the 'entry level' rank
  • as Labour MP for 32 years Jeremy never took on any position of responsibility - not even that as the chair of a parliamentary select committee 
So without rancour or any hint of personal animosity, Professor Chapman essentially came to the same view as the vast majority of Labour MPs - that Jeremy Corbyn does not possess the skills for the job of Labour leader.

Which is, of course, my considered view as well.

 


'Bog Standard' Officials (24/06/16)

Jeremy Corbyn appearing on The Last Leg

I was unfazed one way or the other by Jeremy Corbyn's appearance on 'The Last Leg' TV programme which had the Labour leader arrive in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, dressed in a dinner suit and a full-length white fur coat.

After all if you have an image problem, then why not do something out of the ordinary to confound and confuse your political opponents.

But no, my real problem with Jeremy is that in answer to a 'dolly' question about how he would rank the importance of the next week's EU referendum on a scale of 1 to 10, Jezza responded with the unbelievably lame answer of "7 to 7 and a half".

Now when so much is at stake in next week's referendum, you would think a Labour leader worth his mettle would have emphasised, in the strongest possible terms, the very real threat to the UK economy, jobs and investment posed by the country's withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

So Jeremy's a complete fool if you ask me, a political half-wit, but that's what you get if you elect as Labour leader a man who rose to the dizzying ranks of 'bog standard' union official before finding a niche as a backbench Labour MP in the House of Commons for the next 32 years.

And while there are some decent trade union officials around, believe me there are plenty of complete 'duds' in the ranks too, as the Labour party and the country is finding out to its cost.

  

North Lanarkshire Update



My colleague Stefan Cross QC drew my attention to this post on Twitter which reports on a trade union campaign in Durham in support of the county council's Classroom Assistants.

As regular readers know, the local unions have not exactly shown the same fighting spirit over equal pay in North Lanarkshire and were not, for example, party to the long-running Employment Tribunal case involving Classroom Assistants, Clerical Assistants and Sheltered Housing Wardens.

I wonder if any readers in North Lanarkshire have a view on what strikes me as a rather sorry state of affairs?

  



North Lanarkshire Update (20/05/16)



Here's another post on North Lanarkshire Council's job evaluation (JE) review which I wrote back in May 2015.

As regular readers know, this review seems to be in trouble because not only is the exercise running 6 months late, the whole project is shrouded in secrecy with the workforce being kept completely in the dark. 

Now the review is being 'led' by senior council management and the trade unions, but no one is clear as to which jobs are included in the review while others are left out.

Take school Clerical Assistants and Housing Support Wardens, for example, which Action 4 Equality Scotland has been battling over in the Employment Tribunals (ET) for the past year and more.

North Lanarkshire Council refused to accept that these female dominated jobs were on a par with traditional male jobs, but they comprehensively lost that argument in the Employment Tribunals so you would think that all of these posts would now be included in the late-running JE exercise.

Because the logic of the ET decision is that all of these posts have been incorrectly graded and not just those taken up by Action 4 Equality Scotland.

The same is true for Classroom Assistants for whom the fight continues because NLC stubbornly refuses to accept that the CA's job doesn't measure up to the work done by a council gardener - even though there is only one point of difference under NLC's widely criticised 2006/07 JE scheme.

So it's a bit of a shocker if you ask me and doesn't bode too well for the latest JE review which should have reported before the end of December 2015.



North Lanarkshire Update (23/05/15)


Lots of readers have been in touch to ask about the re-evaluation of various jobs in North Lanarkshire Council which has been prompted by the council being forced to concede at the Employment Tribunal that a number of female dominated jobs had not been assessed and graded correctly back in 2006/07.

As part of the equal pay settlement it was agreed by all the parties that the process of carrying out a further job evaluation would be down to the council and the trade unions.

Now that is quite sensible because while Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) has led the fight for equal pay in North Lanarkshire all these years, the council (management and councillors) along with the unions make up the permanent collective bargaining structures in North Lanarkshire.

Part of the agreement is that A4ES will be kept fully informed about what's going on and how the council and the unions intend to tackle the problems that clearly exist within the present grading structure.

Apparently the unions have issued some limited information on the process which says that the following jobs will be subject to further evaluation:  
  • Playground Supervisors
  • School Crossing Patrollers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Road Sweepers
  • Refuse Collectors
  • Gardeners at grades 4 and 5
  • Chargehand Gardeners at grade 6
Now the list contains only the three female dominated jobs which were originally identified at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

Other employees such as Admin & Clerical Workers and Classroom Assistants, for example, may have a case to argue that their jobs and factor scores should be reviewed as well which could be done by bringing a group of such workers together to look in detail at the existing job description and individual factor scores.

Now this would also require a proper look at the male jobs to compare what scores these jobs have been awarded under all the different factor headings to ensure consistency and that jobs are not being treated in isolation.

As I've said before on the blog site what would help this process is maximum transparency and openness which could be achieved by putting all of this information on the Council's web site, for example, where everyone could see what is going on and have the opportunity to comment if they wish.

Over the coming weeks I'll do my best to answer people's questions and requests for information on the blog site, so watch this space.


North Lanarkshire Update (06/09/16)


I continue to receive lots of enquiries via email and Facebook about North Lanarkshire's job evaluation (JE) review - far too many for me to answer on an individual basis.

Now as regular readers know, the JE review was conducted by the Council and the trade unions and if I remember correctly, it was accepted that other jobs could be reviewed going forward.

In effect the baton was passed to the trade unions, but Action 4 Equality Scotland continued the fight on behalf of Sheltered Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants in the Glasgow Employment Tribunal (ET).

The A4ES clients involved in the ongoing Glasgow ET hearing eventually won the argument to have their JE scores and grades matched to higher paid male comparators which resulted in a much more favourable settlement of their equal pay claims.

But the tribunal outcome affects only the individual clients of A4ES and the three job categories involved were not included in the recent NLC job evaluation (JE) review, primarily because the ET hearing was still underway. 

My understanding of the JE review is that other NLC jobs can still be brought into the process, if a strong case could be made on behalf of particular groups - a test which must surely be satisfied as far as Sheltered Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants are concerned. 

So if I were a Sheltered Housing Warden, a Clerical Assistant or a Classroom Assistant I'd be asking asking the Council via my trade union when they are going to review the scores and grades of these three jobs - given that the ball is now well and truly in their court.

  


North Lanarkshire Update(01/09/16)



I've had lots of enquiries about backpay and the NLC job evaluation (JE) review which I have written about regularly on the blog site for the past year and more.

Here are two posts (one from May 2015 and the other from June 2016) which explain the background to the JE review and the fact that only a limited number of posts were covered by the review in the first place.

  


North Lanarkshire Update (23/05/15)


Lots of readers have been in touch to ask about the re-evaluation of various jobs in North Lanarkshire Council which has been prompted by the council being forced to concede at the Employment Tribunal that a number of female dominated jobs had not been assessed and graded correctly back in 2006/07.

As part of the equal pay settlement it was agreed by all the parties that the process of carrying out a further job evaluation would be down to the council and the trade unions.


Now that is quite sensible because while Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) has led the fight for equal pay in North Lanarkshire all these years, the council (management and councillors) along with the unions make up the permanent collective bargaining structures in North Lanarkshire.


Part of the agreement is that A4ES will be kept fully informed about what's going on and how the council and the unions intend to tackle the problems that clearly exist within the present grading structure.


Apparently the unions have issued some limited information on the process which says that the following jobs will be subject to further evaluation:  

  • Playground Supervisors
  • School Crossing Patrollers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Road Sweepers
  • Refuse Collectors
  • Gardeners at grades 4 and 5
  • Chargehand Gardeners at grade 6
Now the list contains only the three female dominated jobs which were originally identified at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

Other employees such as Admin and Clerical Workers and Classroom Assistants, for example, may have a case to argue that their jobs and factor scores should be reviewed as well which could be done by bringing a group of such workers together to look in detail at the existing job description and individual factor scores.


Now this would also require a proper look at the male jobs to compare what scores these jobs have been awarded under all the different factor headings to ensure consistency and that jobs are not being treated in isolation.


As I've said before on the blog site what would help this process is maximum transparency and openness which could be achieved by putting all of this information on the Council's web site, for example, where everyone could see what is going on and have the opportunity to comment if they wish.


Over the coming weeks I'll do my best to answer people's questions and requests for information on the blog site, so watch this space.

  

NLC JE Review (12/06/16)


I submitted a freedom of information (FoI) request to North Lanarkshire Council on Friday (10 May) asking for details of the report to the Policy and Resources Committee on the Council's late-running job evaluation (JE) review.

But later that day a helpful contact from within the Council sent me a copy of the report and here is a summary of the main outcomes as far as JE is concerned.

Claimant Jobs

Home Support Workers - Existing Grade NLC 3, New Grade NLC 7

School Crossing Patrollers - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 3

Playground Supervisors - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 2 (no change)


Male Comparator Jobs

Road Sweeper - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 3

Refuse Collector - Existing Grade NLC 4, New Grade NLC 4

Gardener (4) - Existing Grade NLC 4, New Grade NLC 5

Gardener (5) - Existing Grade NLC 5, New Grade NLC 5

Chargehand Gardener - Existing Grade NLC 6, New Grade NLC 7


So two out of three claimant jobs have seen their grades increase (notably the Home Carers) and three out of five male comparator jobs and the new grades will be backdated to 1 April 2015.

However lots of predominantly female job groups have been left out of the JE review which will, I suspect, make many people very angry.

So the trade unions have a lot of explaining to do especially to fee-paying members who have been excluded from the review process.

  

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Dangerous Demagogue

Image result for trump + demagogue

The Independent reports that a Trump supporter in Iowa has been charged with election fraud after casting two votes in the American presidential election. 

Terri Rote tried to explain her behaviour away by claiming that "I don't know what came over me."

Which is nonsense, of course, because what 'came over' Terri is that she's been listening to Donald Trump making wild and bogus claims that the election is rigged against the Republican candidate.

In due course, an American court will throw out Terri Rote's risible claim that her first vote for Trump would somehow be counted as a vote for Hillary Clinton, whom she describes as "Satan" on Facebook by the way.

Democracy has its work cut out in dealing with a dangerous demagogue like Donald Trump, but that's what's a stake in America's 2016 presidential election.     

 


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-supporter-charged-voter-fraud-iowa-election-rigged-clinton-a7386886.html

Donald Trump supporter charged with voter fraud after casting two ballots and claiming election is 'rigged'

Iowa native Terri Rote said she decided to vote a second time because she feared her first vote for Trump would instead be counted for Hillary Clinton


By Tim Walker - The Independent


On her Facebook page, Terri Rote has described Hillary Clinton as 'Satan' and written derogatory posts about black people (Polk County Jail)

An Iowa woman charged with voter fraud has admitted to casting two ballots in the US presidential election, because she feared her vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump would be changed instead to a vote for Hillary Clinton.


Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old registered Republican, was arrested by Des Moines police on Thursday after she reportedly cast an early ballot at the Polk County Election Office, and then voted again at a second location in Des Moines.