Posts Tagged ‘Philip Davies’

Saturday News Review

18/06/2011, 06:52:11 AM

Unison flexes its muscles

Britain’s biggest wave of industrial action since the 1926 general strike will be sparked by Government pension reforms, the largest public sector union’s leader has said. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, issued the warning as angry unions threatened to walk away from talks over plans to pay more for reduced entitlements. He told the Guardian newspaper: “It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won’t be the miners’ strike. We are going to win.” It comes after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told public sector workers it would be a “colossal mistake” to reject a deal that was the best they could hope for. Under the reforms, the general retirement age in the public sector will rise from 60 to 66, in line with the state pension. – Sky News

The leader of the largest public sector union promises to mount the most sustained campaign of industrial action the country has seen since the general strike of 1926, vowing not to back down until the government has dropped its controversial pension changes. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison – which has 1.4 million members employed by the state – described plans for waves of strike action, with public services shut down on a daily basis, rolling from one region to the next and from sector to sector. He said there was growing anger over a public sector pay freeze that could trigger more disputes further down the line and that the changes would unfairly penalise women, who form the majority of low-paid public sector workers. “It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won’t be the miners’ strike. We are going to win.” In an interview with the Guardian, Prentis – who also chairs the public sector group at the TUC – repeatedly insisted that he still hopes to negotiate a settlement with the government through talks that are currently under way. – the Guardian

They are still the nasty party

A Tory MP has sparked outrage after saying disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage. Right-winger Philip Davies said if employers had to pay the same wage they would always choose to hire an able-bodied job candidate over a disabled rival. The Shipley MP told the Commons yesterday: “People with a learning disability can’t be as productive in their work as somebody who hasn’t got a disability.” He added: “They (disabled people) accept an employer would take on a person without mental health problems if they were both having to be paid the same rate.” His comments came during the second reading debate of Tory Christopher Chope’s Employment Opportunities Bill, which opens up the possibility of workers “opting” to work for less than the £5.93 minimum wage. But Dame Anne Begg, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “To suggest that disabled people should be treated as second class citizens is shocking and shows just what a warped world some Tories inhabit.” – Daily Mirror

Downing Street has moved to protect the Prime Minister from a torrent of criticism after a senior Conservative suggested that people with disabilities should be paid less than the minimum wage. Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, claimed people with disabilities or mental health problems were at a disadvantage because they could not offer to work for less money. Relaxing the law would help some disabled people to compete more effectively for jobs in “the real world” in which they are “by definition” less productive than workers without disabilities, he claimed. The remarks stunned both Labour and Tory MPs and provoked a furious response from charities and equality campaigners, who condemned Mr Davies’s “insulting” suggestion as “absolutely outrageous”. During a Parliamentary debate, Mr Davies told MPs that the minimum wage of £5.93 per hour meant disabled people who wanted to work found the door being “closed in their face”. Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of disability charity Scope, said Mr Davies had “got it seriously wrong”, adding: “We need to challenge employers’ prejudices – not pander to them.” The MP was also warned that he will be questioned over his remarks by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is conducting an inquiry into disability-related harassment. – Daily Telegraph

Waiting lists rocket

Longer waiting lists nail David Cameron’s lie that the NHS is safe in his Tory hands. Behind the bald Whitehall statistics are real people unnecessarily suffering for longer and, in some cases, probably dying. Over the past few weeks I’ve had to listen to the PM denying that waiting lists are rising. He can’t do that any more – although I wouldn’t put it past someone so slippery as him trying. The quack doctor in Downing Street deserves to pay a political price for his misdiagnosis and botched operations. I can’t pretend I’m surprised that he is dismantling the NHS as we know it. I wasn’t convinced five years ago when he declared: “The NHS is safe in my hands – of course it will be.” Tony Blair, he added, used one word three times to explain that education was his priority. Mr One Upmanship said he could better that: “I can do it in three letters – NHS.” Really, Prime Minister? You’ve an unhealthy way of proving that to those who rely on an NHS you’re harming. – Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror

Ed on the campaign trail again

Scots are feeling the pinch from “reckless” Conservative policies, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband. Mr Miliband joined candidate Iain McKenzie campaigning for the Westminster Inverclyde by-election seat yesterday. He said: “Iain McKenzie is a superb local candidate, a man who knows this community like the back of his hand because he has lived here all his life and fought for the area. People deserve well-paid, secure jobs, and Iain will work hard to make that happen for the communities he knows so well. But I know many families and pensioners here in Inverclyde are hurting, and hurting in the face of risky and unfair Tory cuts. We need a plan B on the economy to help people right across the country. There is now no coherent plan for growth. David Cameron’s plan to cut spending too far and too fast is a reckless gamble with people’s jobs and livelihoods, and it is making things worse, not better.” – the Scotsman

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