Saturday, 11 June 2016

The EU and workers rights? Part 1.

OK, so my mother went back to being 'leave'. Which casual conversations on twitter were happy about. A colleague of hers more related to the 'real world' than me gave her perspective and my mother was turned back!

However, the concern she gave is something I had started thinking about, even though to many people there is an emotional core that they are talking about when they make decisions which is not the reason they will give for making one (in my estimation), the concerns are nevertheless those repeated oft times by people that are casually remain... That we will be left on this little island with only the Tories who will then begin a tyrannical campaign of blood on workers rights.

Domestic events:

Before I get to the actually politically relevant part of this argument, right off the bat in my view there is something very fishy about this projection of events. It has seemed to me that the real power in the Tories is David Cameron and the leadership structure he is a face of. The idea, in my view that the Tories themselves are overly vicious and that they are a group of sociopaths that would be doing something just as awful no matter where they were is flawed. The first example of this is the man who has been a bit of a legend in shitting on others... Iain Duncan Smith.

Iain Duncan Smith left his cabinet position apparently out of protests of being made to defend cuts he did not initially agree with and then having those cuts be turned back on. He has really been the bogey man, the pin up of all that is wrong with the Tories in a casual tendency to lie about statistics and condescending refusal to address the suffering of others (supposedly). So he left the cabinet... Now... Did the Tories collapse? Was there relief that such a 'vicious sociopath' was not there to do the job of threatening the other Tories and without him the good people in their ranks can begin an overthrow of the corrupt system?

No, there really wasn't. Without even missing a beat. Without so much as a word of discomfort and protestation. David Cameron found someone just as bad, a man named Stephen Crabb, and dumped him in the position vacated by Duncan Smith. The Department of Work and Pensions is still putting up resistance to publishing statistics on the people that have died shortly after being denied what is not- at- all- correctly termed 'benefits'.

Now this offers a strategic challenge surely to anyone fighting the current system. That when someone who apparently was influential in this regard leaves they are replaced and by that definition, can never have really been that influential!

International coup de etat's:

Now we can expand this model out and look at other EU member states. In 2011 the EU was having major problems with two of its member states actors. What is extremely interesting was that they came from both wings and were pretty strong on their respective wings... They were both democratically elected... George Papandreou of Greece and the EXTREMELY democratically popular... Silvia Berlusconi of Italy.

So what were these 'major problems'. In the case of Papandreou he committed cardinal sins of the EU, he told the truth; by explaining that Greece got into the EU via the manipulation of figures by Goldman Sachs (we're waiting on the court case on that... Any time now?), he also.... and this infuriated the EU... wanted to put the spending cuts being pushed by the EU in return for bailout money to a public referendum.

They were very angry about that one! The perspective on the EU can be summed up by Juncker who said there can be no democratic choice against EU rules. Silvia Berlusconi is not quite as clear. But it does not appear he was co- operating with the EU, he had always been a bit of a renegade, and also, it is reported that in personal meetings with the EU, he had talked about getting out of the Euro!

It is interesting how in line with their respective wings these two people were! The thing that gets the socialist in trouble is the play of 'power to the people' and 'telling the truth' (politician and 'telling the truth' don't comfortably go in the same sentence!) The thing that gets Berlusconi in trouble is a larger than life personality that isn't obedient to the system (Donald Trump, Nigel Farage anyone?) and sensible economic policy!

This is also true when you try and what might be called research (i.e. Google) the information here. Those concerned with the overthrow of Papandreou were often sites like the 'socialist worker' fretting the take over of the world by global banks. Those writing about Berlusconi were more independent seeming blogs of an infowars variety and I was lead back to a source that I haunt... Zerohedge. That wrote in detail about the exact people involved in overtaking Berlusconi.

So, to be clear, both these presidents were overthrown and replaced non democratically with technocrats. We have a model here for the EU's behaviour and real social agenda. We have two leaders whom the country did not like, replaced with two that the EU then chose.

This is where the term 'technocraphic government' comes in. Both leaders were former economists and workers with Goldman Sachs. Both of them entered the government and lead the country without being elected! (Democratic?) and both of them started MASSIVE austerity drives resisted by those they had just replaced.

... and although there was a lot of material here about how bad all of this was, obviously I focused foremostly on workers rights since I knew this would be the focus of this article:

The replacement for Berlusconi, Mario Monti, immediately made changes to articles 15 and 18 of Italy's constitution. The changes to article 15 allows the government to make changes to existing labour laws without consulting the Unions... this is surely the first step in all sorts of nasty things... The changes to article 18 were still in heavy discussion many years later, the original law states that workers can legally challenge companies that mass fire their workers, the changes mean that Italians can no longer do that... Which perhaps prevented a lot of trouble as the economy unwinds.

So this information isn't sourced (the left in general seem a little more lax about sourcing information), however, we have already discerned pattern enough to make an educated guess that it is correct:

Red Pepper: Greece, how to avoid a social default.
Terms of the bailout

Under the terms of the new agreement, there are going to be drastic changes. The minimum wage is going to be reduced by 22 per cent. For new workers under 25, the reduction will reach 32 per cent.

This reduction is also going to affect all other private sector employees covered by collective contracts and agreements. Most sectors will see wage reductions of up to 50 per cent - on top of drastic pay cuts already made.

All pensions are going to be reduced by more than 15 per cent - a reduction again coming on top of other reductions imposed earlier. Moreover, the terms of the agreement demand a new overhaul of the pension system, paving the way for more reductions and the raising of the pension age.

All forms of social spending are going to be drastically cut, including funds for hospitals and health coverage and social benefits. Hospitals are already in a critical condition thanks to earlier cuts, so this new wave of cuts is expected to lead to a dramatic deterioration.

A new wave of privatisations is demanded, including the sale of crucial infrastructure such as ports and airports, and full privatisation of public utilities. And a new wave of lay-offs of public sector employees is going to be implemented, helped by a wave of closures of schools and other public institutions.
Is this not familiar? Selling off public assets. This is what the Conservatives are up to... Coincidence? Doing the same thing as that mandated by the EU to other member states?

World Socialist Website: Unelected prime minister demands more sacrifices from Greek workers
At the Wednesday meeting, Papademos outlined some of the new measures planned. At the heart of the proposals are a downward revision of the country’s minimum wage, new cuts to public sector salaries and pensions, and the slashing of holiday benefits. The government is also intent on changing the country’s labour law to allow it to accelerate the dismantlement of public services via direct dismissals. 
Papademos’ list goes on: immediate cuts to social and welfare benefits amounting to around 14 billion euros per year and further cuts in pharmaceutical and medical expenditure. On Thursday, his cabinet held a meeting in Athens to decide on further measures to break up the country’s so-called “closed professions,” thereby permitting even more sackings.
Papademos’ Bonapartist dictatorial regime is carrying out a barbaric counter-revolution against the workers, youth, small farmers and the self-employed in Greece. Youth unemployment is now officially at 51 per cent and the total unemployment figure is 24 per cent the highest ever. 
The government is pushing through mass sackings of civil servants and the privatisation of the whole energy (oil, gas, coal mines, electricity) section. 
Wages and pensions are now, on average, 60 per cent of what they were nearly four years ago in the autumn of 2008 while prices have risen by about five per cent each year. Workers’ families have been led to desperation by huge taxes and constant high rises in household bills.  
A large percentage, as high as 30-40 per cent, of shops on main Athens avenues have been shut down while in working class and middle class neighbourhoods local shops have been decimated with newspaper and tobacco shops almost disappearing. 
Small family businesses have been decimated; reports state that ‘tens of thousands’ throughout Greece have ceased to operate.
If the 'workers revolutionary party' considers that small business is key to any overthrow of the corporates then I have something strongly in common with them! The left wing in England don't seem to have made that conclusion and seemed locked in an imaginary life or death struggle with Thatcher!


I've realised while writing this that this is not the only article I will do on this subject, because I have far more to say but am exhausted at the moment! But as well as workers rights I will also expand on whether the EU has any respect for ethics at all in subsequent posts.

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