Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dagger to the heart

: : :

Well, last night I watched the film It Happened Here an interesting film about what could have happened had the Germans conquered Britain in World War II.

An interestiong feature of the film, and one that would be recognisable to your average Leninist, is the relatively apolitical centralk character who goes with the flow, collaborating with the occupiers and then with the partisans as circumstance dictates and allows (although she seems to have conscientiously objected to taking part in a euthanasia programme and been arrested for it - that isn't too clear). My point is that it shows the idea of poles of attraction and compulsion - the sort of soft support Leninists usually are looking for.

Now, apropo discussion yesterday - we could look at a similar soft support for Unions. There are a good number of free riders in unions and workplaces who with a small shove could be helped to participate. One of the main barriers is the law. Much is made for the ban on solidarity strikes, but that is just an emotive (and relatively easilly overcome) aspect of the legislation.

The real dagger at the heart of unionism is this beauty,
The Right not to be unjustifiable disciplined - applying where :
2) This section applies to conduct which consists in—
(a) failing to participate in or support a strike or other industrial action (whether by members of the union or by others), or indicating opposition to or a lack of support for such action;
(b) failing to contravene, for a purpose connected with such a strike or other industrial action, a requirement imposed on him by or under a contract of employment;...
Backed up by this part of the Human Rights Act.:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.
I actually thought those two were going to be in conflict, seeing as how giving members carte blanche to ignore the rules of the club seems to me to be a breech of freedom of association - we can't dissassociate ourselves from scabs and blacklegs it seems.

Anyway, it is this law that really knackers Unions and turns them into service providers - there is no corresponding duty to the right (as New Labour would have it). If members were aware that their membership was conditional they would be more inclined to join in - if only to vote against strike action they don't agree with. Use it or lose it is the order of the day.


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