October 2011 (late)

Passenger traffic up, but cargo down in latest IATA figures

Cargo Slump Threatens More Pain For 747-8

International Labour Organisation: World economy on verge of new jobs recession

A warning about austerity without job creation

Air France cancels 15% of Monday flights

Air France cancelled around 15% of its flights on Monday and restricted the number of passengers flying on other planes to comply with safety requirements on the number of cabin crew. The five day strike has involved six unions, two of which have since decided to terminate their industrial action. However, it is claimed that the four unions still carrying out action represent around 75% of the employees in the affected roles.

31st October 2011 

Twenty-six nations expected to lodge a formal protest against EU carbon law

Disabled people at risk from legal aid cuts

Qantas Resumes Flights As Government Intervenes

Dispute Will Deter Bidders For Qantas

Labour drops support for 3rd Heathrow runway

Contact a Lord and ask them to stop the sell off of our NHS

Mixed mode trial of Heathrow runways begins tomorrow

A trial which will see arriving aircraft use the departures runway and departing aircaft use the arrivals runway will start tomorrow, November 1st. At present one runway is designated a departures runway for the first part of the day while the other handles only arrivals. This designation is swapped in the early afternoon so that local residents all receive an extended period when they are not underneath aircraft as they take off.

The trial is intended to reduce delays that are unavoidable in an airport with as congested a runway schedule as Heathrow, but is not without its critics. Locals will experience some noise during their "quiet" periods and air traffic contriollers have expressed concerns that having aircraft landing and taking off at the same congested runway will introduce additional safety problems. Others have rejected safety concerns on the basis that some major airports (such as Gatwick) have only a single runway and operate in mixed mode all the time.

31st October 2011

Unite - 12 million to lose out in government pensions squeeze

Anti-Air Passenger Duty case put by British Chamber of Commerce and Abta

The government is criticised for having no clear strategy to support Civil Aviation

Qantas ordered to resume flights by tribunal

Many will see this decision as a perversion of natural justice. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (who has just taken a 71% pay rise) made the decision to ground all 108 of his fleet and locked out his staff in response to what was described as limited industrial action by 2 unions and the wearing of red ties by the other. The dispute has its routes in a restructuring plan that could see massive job losses, a large part of the business outsourced and much of the Qantas operation moved to Asia.

The lockout was clearly a union busting tactic and its impact was to threaten Australia's international reputation and trade. It is difficult to believe that this failed to influence the tribunal (Fair Trade Australia) in its decision to remove legal protections from the workers if they took industrial action. The right to withdraw labour or to take part in other forms of lawful industrial action is a fundamental one, so any legal decision that denies that right must be open to scrutiny.

While the decision will also bind Mr. Joyce to terminate the lockout and enter into negotiations, the unions will feel that they have been denied not merely their rights as workers to take part in industrial action, but an opportunity to publicise the damage that they believe that Mr. Joyce is doing to Australia's national airline.

Australia's Transport Workers Union believes that the grounding of the aircraft was a pre-planned tactic by Alan Joyce to force the tribunal to take place and rule in his favour. The other unions involved in the dispute were the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association and the Australian and International Pilots Association. At the tribunal Qantas had 25 members in its legal team, who appeared to have prepared well in advance and had files marked "Project Other". We have to ask if Qantas "played" the Australian government by pressuring it to set up this emergency tribunal in the first place.

Solidarity to TWU, ALAEA and AIPA!

The background to the Qantas dispute


Write to Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

Hundreds of Qantas passengers stranded at Heathrow

30th October 2011

Video - Hayes & Harlington Labour MP John McDonnell Speaking At St Pauls

ITF GLOBAL PRESS RELEASE: Global union supports Qantas workers

Qantas grounds entire fleet

Transport union puts its case on Qantas

Qantas dispute: Flights 'to stay grounded into Monday'

Women victims of domestic violence to lose out in legal aid reforms

Tory peer says airport restrictions 'damaging economy'

Conservative peer, Lord Geldenbrook (the former owner of bmi) argues that there is a strong "environmental and economic case to continue building at Heathrow". 

ALJAZEERA report - Pakistan's bonded slaves

Far from being a thing of the past, slavery still thrives today in many countries around the world. According to some estimates, there are more slaves today than at any time in history.

30th October 2011

Lufthansa ‘ready to break up BMI’

Lufthansa seems intent on maximising its profits from a sale of bmi, even if selling off its slots at Heathrow and its regional airline business leads to suvbstantial numbers of job losses and a reduction in competition in aviation that allows costs for passengers to rise. This is despite Lufthansa reporting a strong operating profit of 578 million euros for the first 9 months of 2011 (net profit 288 million euros). It remains to be seen if the Competition Commission, the CAA or the Department for Transport will object to these plans or whether a buyer can be found to acquire bmi as a complete airline, together with its much sought after take off slots at Heathrow.

Lufthansa Group reports operating profit of EUR 578m after nine months

30th October 2011

Bad news for climate change sceptics - and the rest of us

One of the few scientists who supported the sceptics arguments that there was not enough evidence of global warming has carried out his own study and dramatically changed his position. This study of 1.6 billion temperature readings, the biggest so far is almost identical in its conclusions to other studies showing that temperatures have risen by an average of 1 degree in both northern and southern hemispheres over the past sixty years.

Politicians must take note and stop burying their heads in the sand. The worst polluting industries must be forced to change. Carbon capture must be made to work and we must invest in the development of sustainable forms of energy. If not, Earth's rising population faces a bleak future - if it has a future at all.

30th October 2011 

Public sector pay remains frozen while private sector pay rises 3% below inflation

As inflation hits 5.2% or 5,6%, depending on which index you use, public sector pay has on average stayed the same as last year. The few jobs that have seen increases are offset by several that have seen pay cuts. This impacts not just the wages of these workers, but devalues their pensions by around 5%, before the devastating changes that are planned are fully implemented.

Meanwhile private sector pay has risen by just 2.6%, a full 3% below RPI. This is in stark contrast to the pay of directors in the FTSE 100, who have awarded thamselves a massive 49% increase on average in the past 12 months.

It is clear that we are NOT "all in this together" and that the super-rich do not see any necessity to share in the pain that this government is inflicting on us through its austerity measures. The "Occupy" protests at St. Pauls and in at least 80 cities around the world are starting to get this message across to the public.

High pay damages our economy

29th October 2011

BA warns ‘serious retaliation’ by foreign airlines could kill emissions trading

90 BA flights cancelled due to planned French ATC strike & Alitalia cancels flights too 

A strike by French air traffic controllers which is planned for Tuesday is likely to see widespread cancellations across Europe.

Meanwhile Alitalia cabin crew have reacted badly to plans to cut their numbers and higher numbers than usual have reported in sick, resulting in many cancellations.

29th October 2011  

Air France cabin crew 5 day strike - 200 flights cancelled (SNPNC-FO & UGICT-CGT France)

Air France cancels flights as 5-day strike begins

Cabin crew strike forces Air France to cancel 200 flights (AFP)

List of confirmed Air France cancellations

Changes to rules of Royal succession do nothing to change the inequality of the system

HMRC staff start walkout vote

Compensation claim charges 'deny justice'

Changes to the claims process by the government could see thousands of people who have been injured at work deterred from submitting claims. As protections for workers become weaker, the number of accidents will increase - and this is already happening. 

This is not justice. This is just protecting cowboy employers.

29th October 2011 

BA cabin crew ‘must socialise with pilots’

Labour row grounds Qantas flights

Striking Qantas workers are to be locked out in what is becoming an increasingly bitter row between management and unions. Management say that it is necessary to restructure to return Qantas to long term profit, though thousands of jobs may be lost. Unions say that the excellent safety record of the airline is being put at risk and that the cost cutting is unfair with executives awarding themselves massive pay rises.

Qantas families deserve better – AUF Qantas Families Campaign

Are thousands of jobs at Qantas being lost to fund a 58% rise in executive pay?

29th October 2011

Unite research - Public servants lose thousands, while FTSE directors' pay goes into orbit

TUC - CEO pay bears no resemblance to performance or economic reality

Morning Star - Some boats are bigger than others

Plane truth behind trolley-dolly brand (The Age – Australia)

Sexist attitudes to stewardesses continues into the modern era

Passengers stage sit-in on plane at Birmingham Airport

Union leader presents shocking evidence to ministers on pilot fatigue

Evidence is presented to the government to show that proposed rule changes could leave pilots as unfit to fly as if they were drunk.

BALPA statement on pilot fatigue

Strike To Hit Air France On Saturday

Qantas dispute is claimed to be costing airline $16 million a week

Students make legal challenge to university fees hike as "Breach of EU Right to Education"

Second St Pauls clergyman resigns in support of stock exchange protestors

Talks to be held with Thomas Cook over nearly 500 cabin crew redundancies

IAG Shares Weak As Union Bank of Switzerland Cuts Target Price

Confidence in the financial performance of IAG has fallen, with predictions of a weak 2012 and strong profits not expected until 2013.

Concerns as EU agrees to hand Air Passenger Data to Australia

How the revised public sector pensions may work (one company's opinion)

This analysis is supposedly based on information that was acquired by the BBC, but the assessment was provided by a private company that contracts pension advisory services. The trade unions will, no doubt seek their own expert advice and we suspect their interpretation may be different in several ways. However, the unions can only do so as and when they actually receive the details that the BBC has obtained and have confirmation that these are concrete proposals.

While the HLC cannot, for legal reasons give pensions advice, we agree with the point in the article that our it should be private sector pensions that are improved, not public sector ones that are devalued. We also note several points that are not made clear in this report -

  • Some private sector schemes (such as British Airways) are linked to aspects of these public sector pension changes (such as the change from RPI to CPI). We do not know how many other companies that were privatised by the Tories in the 80s and 90s may also be affected
  • The comment that women may benefit from these changes is extremely questionable. It is possibly more a case that women may not lose out by so much because of a change to career average earnings, in part because they are less frequently promoted to the best paying jobs towards the end of their working lives. However, it should be noted that as many women take a career break to raise families, their pensions are not always as well paid up as men and they would have had to work into their sixties to recieve a full company pension even under the old scheme. They will now have to work extra years for the same benefits. We are aware of nurses who believe that they may have to work until their late sixties before they can afford to retire under the new scheme. Another factor is that the changes to the state pension age for women will mean that many will be fully reliant on their public sector pensions (or wages) for several years more than they had expected.
  • Low wage increases and pay freezes (or even cuts) in the public sector have brought down the salaries on which pensions are calculated. As a result, they were already being devalued before these changes
  • The puiblic sector had already made major concessions on pensions and the expert view submitted to the government was that they were not unaffordable - hence the HLC must question if these changes were necessary at all
  • Many public sector salaries are substantially lower than equivalent jobs in the private sector. The pensions are only "generous" relative to the wage. The highest paid workers in the public sector receive only a small fraction of the wages of directors, partners and very senior managers in the corporate world and bonuses where paid are tiny in comparison - though the responsibility and pressure is often similar
  • Because the cost of these schemes is being set by the government, it is possible that the actual schemes of public sector workers may be worse (or better) than the examples given

We await the TUs' assessment, but expect that they will continue to ballot members with a view to action on the 30th of November that could see up to 3 million people on strike.

28th October 2011

European Commission wants to regulate sale of airport take off slots

FTSE 100 directors' earnings rose by 49% last year

Er... what happened to "we're all in this together"? A very small number of very rich people seem to be doing rather nicely while the rest of us are struggling under the government's austerity measures.

Bosses' bonuses up by 187% since 2002, report suggests

Councils to demolish homes to cut Housing Revenue Account debt

Now this one really is a piece of madness. According to government figures, the number of new homeless people rose by 17% in the last year. But our coalition government has decided that local councils should be "taxed" on all properties they own, whether or not they are occupied or generating income from council tax.

With their budgets slashed, councils can not afford to carry out major repair work on the houses they own. So they are left unoccupied and huge numbers of people remain homeless. But because the councils will be out of pocket by keeping houses, they are planning to demolish large numbers of buildings.

Despite Birmingham and Nottingham having 30,000 people on their waiting lists for social housing, between them they are planning to demolish 2,000 homes. We can anticipate that the number of homeless will increase, which among other things will make it harder for these people to find and keep employment. The reduced number of homes will push house prices up even further, so making it even harder for people to buy or rent.

When you are not even on the bottom rung of the ladder, it is very difficult to pull yourself up. These proposals must be changed - and changed quickly if we are not to create an underclass that can never escape extreme poverty and whose members will never achieve their full potential in society.

28th October 2011

Are thousands of jobs at Qantas being lost to fund a 58% rise in executive pay?

Quantas “Double Cross” – National Stop Work Meeting on Friday (TWU-Australia) this Friday

David Cameron fails to keep election promise to give third of cabinet posts to women

We're so used to broken election promises from the Tories and LibDems by now that it hardly even makes the news any more.

Unite defends trade union facility time as boon to the economy

Electricians charge into London over 35% pay cut

Boeing and Embraer Agree To Fund Joint Venture For Biofuel Research Facility In Brazil

Canon of St. Paul's driven to resign because he won't OK force against OSX protestors

Giles Fraser has made a stand for his principles and resigned his position, because his conscience will not allow him to sanction the use of force against the protestors who have set up a camp on the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral, where he holds the position of canon.

Giles Fraser makes the point that St, Paul was himself a tentmaker and it is clear that he feels that the Christian ethic has far more in common with the protestors than the City of London bankers. And the bible did make a point that Jesus through the moneylenders out tof the temple, not the people who were protesting about the moneylenders.

But religions often fall into the trap of becoming the establishment that they were founded to oppose. Despite the explicit messages in the bible that people should not worsip Mammon (the god of money) and that rich men aren't likely to get into heaven, many churches are at least as much commercial ventures as they are spiritual. St. Paul's charges £14.50 for an adult to visit, so it is probably beyond the means of many poorer families to enter this "House of God".

If the Church is not prepared to accept its role as including a duty to stop the rich becoming richer at the expense of the poor, it has lost its way. This is Christianity without charity, which is to say, is not Christianity at all.

The Mail’s rent-a-rev called for gays to be tattooed with health warnings

Polls show that public supports "Occupy London" (and other cities) aims and objectives

Canon of St Paul's 'unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp'

27th October 2011

Ryanair terror of the window fixed with sticky tape that came loose in mid-air

Year's imprisonment for vulnerable squatters to be forced through next week

Not a great choice for squatters - freeze to death while a house stands empty or go to prison for a year for taking shelter inside. Is this really a helpful way to deal with a shortage of homes and jobs and an overcrowded prison system?

27th October 2011

Ground Handling Newsletter - Issue 4

The latest newsletter from the European Transport Workers Federation for workers in aviation in ground handling functions

Tory donor's bid to curb job security provokes Lib Dem anger

EU CO2 Scheme May Cost Airlines EUR€2 Bln By 2020

The costs to the airlines are estimated to be equivalent to about 1/4 of a percent of revenue in 2012 rising to a little over 1/2 a percent of revenue in 2020.

What is important is that this tariff - if it is implemented, is done so fairly, with US, Chinese and other airlines not allowed to refuse to take part and gain a competitive advantage over European airlines. It is also important that regulators ensure that there is no collusion between airlines on simply passing on costs to the passenger or increasing fares above the cost of this expense, as happened not so long ago with fuel surcharges.

Another consideration is that the Air Passenger Duty, which raises operating costs for UK airlines should be frozen or reduced to the level of other countries so that the jobs and conditions of British workers in aviation are not threatened by pressures on the industry that make this country unprofitable as a hub. A triple whammy of high fuel prices, APD and carbon trading could see airlines and the companies that contract to them exposed to profit margins that are smaller than is viable. If passenger numbers drop - whether as the result of a double dip recession, Icelandic volcanoes, weather or other circumstances - companies and jobs will be at risk.

26th October 2011

Moldova Closer To EU's Common Aviation Market

Unite announces historic mobilisation of members to defend public sector pensions

TAM and LAN Deal On Track As Rival Drops Appeal

This merger, if it goes ahead could form one of the world's biggest airlines. But as always, jobs are likely to be lost in the process - a worrying thought in times of high unemployment.

26th October 2011

Occupy London Stock Exchange activists vow to fight off legal action

Top five reasons why you can’t protest (according to the right)

Ryanair plan to remove toilets - leaving one per plane - to "lower air fares"

A cheap publicity stunt or a genuine plan to squeeze every last penny out of Ryanair's passengers by making room for extra seats? You decide.

People may remember a story that made the headlines 18 months or so back about Ryanair considering a plan to charge passengers £1 to use the toilets on its aircraft. With David O' Leary it is sometimes difficult to guess whether some of his outrageous comments are just to make the headlines or if he really believes what he is saying.

Ryanair may charge £1 for lavatory use

26th October 2011

Teachers and OAPs join forces for future

BAA cuts losses as passenger numbers rise

BAA Earnings Boosted By Heathrow Growth

BAA (SP) Limited results for the nine months ended 30 September 2011

The figure that many staff will most interested in, is EBITDA (a measure of operating profit) which rose 17% to £842 million (for the first 9 months of 2011).

Report for David Cameron recommends taking away right to claim for unfair dismissal

This outrageous proposal is included in a report that was compiled on the instructions of the Prime Minister's office. Strangely, it seems that the person who was asked to create the report is a venture capitalist and donor of half a million pounds to the Tory Party. Quite why this person (who owns four Aston Martins) was asked for their views remains unknown. The full contents of the report have yet to be revealed to the public.

The right to hire and fire without any accountability would only benefit the most unethical of employers. Raise a health and safety issue? Get fired. Complain about the boss sexually harassing you? Find another job. Asking for a wage rise? Close the door on your way out. Trade unionist, pregnant, got sick, got stuck in traffic, racist or homophobic boss - the possiblilities are endless.

This government (and many senior politicians elsewhere) pay far too much attention to the wishes of the corporate sector and far too little to the needs of ordinary people. One way or another this has to end.

TUC - Scrapping protection against unfair dismissal only helps nasty bosses

Is it too hard to get sacked?

Unite - Making sacking workers easier a sop to Euro-sceptic right-wing, says Unite

Morning Star - Lifting the lid on Beecroft

Unions tear into proposals for bonfire of unfair dismissal rights

26th October 2011

Widespread abuse of Commonwealth Workers' Rights

Boeing's Dreamliner completes first commercial flight

More cracks show in the coalition as Huhne attacks Osbourne for breaking green promises

Sir, the last time I was at the entrance to St. Paul's Cathedral, I met a rather disappointed family with young children on a day trip to London, who were upset that they could not get in. Not because of any protestors, but rather because of the admission prices (currently £14.50 per adult and £34.50 for a 2+2 family).

It wasn't the force of anti-capitalism which had closed the cathedral to these people. Quite the opposite.

Peter Marcus, Leeds

Thomas Cook cabin crew vote in favour of industrial action over nearly 500 job losses

Health inequalies shown as due to wealth gap as poor found to die up to 13 years younger

Air France refuses to comment on whether it is about to issue a profit warning

The lack of women in Westminster has gone on for too long

Air Canada Union Threatens Action On Pensions

The union involved (CAWU) reports that Air Canada is in breach of a collective agreement that it would be bound by the decision at arbitration. The arbitrator ruled in favour of the union's proposals on pensions, but the airline then decided to appeal against the ruling.

26th Octiober 2011

Government cutbacks on workplace inspections risk increased injury and lives

BA could pass emissions trading cost on to passengers

The carbon emissions trading scheme is designed to encourage businesses to adopt more green and sustainable practices. If the airline industry simply passes on the costs of the scheme to passengers then we will see little change.

Climate change is a reality that is accepted by virtually all of the scientific community. It is the business sector that has invested millions on propaganda saying "it's only a theory" to try and delay action by governments that might make the difference between Earth being a pleasant place to live, or a drought ridden wasteland with billions facing starvation.

26th October 2011

Flights Cancelled As Dublin Floods

Unions kick off court battle for pensions

Coalition is picking pensioners' pockets

Support grows for local trade unionist

US House Votes To Ban Airline Compliance With EU Law

Despite the USA expecting foreign companies to comply with the laws of the most polluting country in the world, the House of Representatives has voted to challenge the EU's right to impose carbon trading on US airlines.

Apart from the obvious potential impact on climate change, this would give US airlines a clear competitive advantage over European and other airlines that do take part in the scheme. The EU needs to stand its ground and demand that US flights are taxed at the same rate for carbon emissions as the rest of us.

26th October 2011

Thousands of young people take fight to Parliament

Royal Courts of Justice pension protest

Unite is asking activists to join them in protesting outside the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand in London tomorrow (Tuesday 25th October) in support of the legal challenge that is being made to the change in the way that public sector pensions will be calculated. The protest will be assembling from around 08.30 to about 10.00.

Six unions are challenging the legality of the governments change in calculating inflation from RPI (Retail Price Index) to CPI (Consumer Price Index). The unions argue that this could cost members up to a quarter of the value of their pensions over a period of 20 years and is purely a cost saving measure, which is in breach of the government's contract with its employees in the public sector.

24th October 2011

Airlines divided over appointment of new Transport Secretary

Air cargo at world's busiest freight hub is down 6%

Students turn backs on university as fees rise

The government's austerity measures, combined with spiralling fees and poor job prospects have seen applications to university plummet. The number of women applying to go to university has seen the biggest drop.

As we have previously stated - education should not be a priviledge of the rich. Neither should healthcare, access to legal advice, adequate food and heating, housing, the right to retire before becoming infirm or so many of the things that this uncaring government seems determined to deny ordinary people.

Meanwhile, we can expect Britain to have a skills shortage in five to ten years that will slow our recovery from recession at the same time as we find that we are forced to recruit talent from abroad, whilst our own young people remain unemployed because they have been denied the opportunity to get those skills.

24th October 2011

Calls for quicker action on Heathrow air pollution

Ryanair Eyeing New Phase Of Growth

South-East Airports capacity at crisis point

Heathrow planes targeted with lasers

Virgin view IAG bid for BMI as anti-competitive

'Occupy London' start second camp in Finsbury Square

The Occupy" movement, which took off simultaneously in 82 cities around the world has seen a second camp set up in London. Protestors are demanding that governments stop the gap between rich and poor growing - and stop making ordinary people pay for a recession that they did not cause.

Common demands of the protestors are that a Financial Transaction Tax (Robin Hood Tax) be levied to make the banks contribute towards global poverty and that the use of tax havens be made illegal. Many people believe that austerity measures would be completely unnecessary if the UK government collected all the tax that corporations and banks currently manage to evade or avoid.

According to the government's own figures, around £160 billion of tax was not collected by the treasury last year for a variety of reasons - leaving a bill of £2,500 for every British man, woman and child to pay. This can not go on. Stop pampering banks and big business and start dealing with the needs of ordinary people.

22nd October 2011

Parents of disabled struggling with care

Air Canada, Fight Attendants To Avoid Strike

Osborne's figures smell fishy, say economists

Enough is Enough: Unite battle bus backs public sector workers to vote yes for Nov 30th

Like arthritis, Lansley’s NHS bill is attacking the very thing it should protect

Many disabled people risk losing essential payments under planned benefits changes

It's time that this government stops demonising the disabled and terminally ill by labelling them a "bunch of shirkers". Perhaps if David Cameron actually created some jobs and strengthened disability discrimination law in employment, then fewer disabled people would need to claim benefits. And perhaps those politicians who condemn benefit claimants might put their money where their mouth is and stop claiming hundreds of thousands in expenses from the taxpayer while already being in a well paid job.

2 million disabled people risk losing welfare support in 'tick-box medical test'

21st October 2011

Colin Terry's address to the International Conference on Ground Handling

Sorry, this link takes a while to download, but Colin lays out in detail the problems and threats that workers are facing in the ground handling industry and the actions that need to take place to preseve jobs, terms and conditions.

Activists meeting in London from 10 till 1 on 22nd October to prepare for November 30th

Dear Fellow HLC Colleagues and Supporters

Below is copied and pasted a link to an e-petition set-up by Caroline Lucas MP to force a debate in the House of Commons about the issue of tax avoidance and the scandal of big multi-nationals and wealthy individuals who use their power to deny the Government an estimated minimum of £35bn annually.

Sign the e-petition

With this revenue there'd be no need for £9,000 a year tuition fees, 20% VAT, a 7% increase in bus and tube fares in January, 28% cut in council budgets affecting the poor and elderly people disproportionately, cuts and a costly, unwanted reorganisation of the NHS and this list could simply go on and on and on.

We please ask you to take a few moments to sign Caroline Lucas's e-petition. I have done it and it literally takes 2 minutes maximum.

With more misery ahead of us and the threat of a renewed attack on workers' rights we must take the fight to our opponents as are diverse groups such as UK Uncut and Occupy For The Alternative. It is a staggering statistic but one which must be repeated over and over again that the richest 1% of the population in the US have 44% of the total wealth.

This simply cannot continue unchecked......

In Solidarity

Regards Paco Saez (HLC Secretary)

Aer Lingus at odds with Ryanair over staff pensions and attempts to control shareholders

University trade union 'retaliates' against suspension of Unison rep

BA calls on Government to back Heathrow expansion

Hillingdon Trades Council is restablished to fight cuts and stop attacks on workers' rights

On Thursday the 20th of October, around 50 attendees from various unions in Hillingdon attended a meeting in the council chambers at Uxbridge Civic Centre to refound the Hillingdon Trades Council. Full minutes will be sent out to those who attended.

Hayes and Harlington MP, John McDonnell had identified a need for Hillingdon Trades Council to be refounded two years ago. But after the Conservatives managed to seize power and began an unprecedented series of cuts and attacks on the rights of workers and the poor, it became apparent that this was not just desirable, but essential.

This evening's discussion was dominated by the savage cuts to public services and those who are employed to provide them. Nearly a quarter of a million jobs have been lost in the public sector since the coalition took office, while those who remain face working for an extra 7 or 8 years and having to pay hundreds of thousands into their pension funds to receive the same (or lower) benefits than they agreed with their employers when they started.

The other main topic was the nature of solidarity events and actions that should take place in support of those who go on strike on November 30th. An estimated 3 million people are expected to take part in the strikes, but those who want to save their libraries, hospitals, social services, legal aid, employment rights and human rights are hoped to join with the strikers to send this government a message that cannot be ignored.

More details to follow.

Patients’ safety will be a priority during Unite’s NHS industrial action on pensions

20th October 2011

Passengers say BA is the best airline and Ryanair the worst

Take note, Mr. Walsh. Passengers do not share your vision that BA would be improved by changing to the Ryanair business model that you admire so much. Our national airline deserves better.

20th October 2011

An embarassing few weeks for All Nippon Airways

ANA have made the news twice over the past six weeks and will be less than happy about the publicity they received on both occasions.

On September the 6th, the pilot of a Boeing 737 had left the cockpit - and on his return, it appears that the co-pilot managed to turn the rudder control instead of the cockpit door lock. This resulted in the plane rolling over so that it was briefly flying almost upside down.

And to make matters worse, on October the 13th, ANA had just taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which had yet to make its inaugural flight. The brand new aircraft seems to have suffered what can only be described as a "parking knock" with an airbridge whilst being towed, causing minor damage to the cowling of one of its Rolls Royce Trent engines.

We wish ANA the best and hope that it manages to avoid the headlines for the rest of the month.