UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A Tale of Two New Year Messages

A comparison of the New Year messages issued by the CBI and the TUC reveals a far more assertive and upbeat mood from the employers organisation. The CBI Director General John Cridland sets his stall out for a hard line on deficit reduction (aka cutting public spending), for business friendly restructuring of the education system, EU reform (aka deregulation, notably singling out the Working Time Directive).
   Ever hungry for new markets for his profit seeking affiliates, Cridland promotes the EU/US trade deal TTIP and calls for a radical ‘structural reform’ of public services including integration of health and social care.
   TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady focuses on the unrelenting decline in real earnings in the UK (a reduction of £487 in 2014 alone and £2,509 since 2010) and challenges employers and politicians to ‘make wage-led growth a policy priority’. While the TUC leader is right to raise the alarm about the Tory threat to the right to strike it is unclear what evidence exists (given the austerity consensus) to support her sweeping statement that the ‘Autumn Statement opened up a huge choice in British politics between radical cuts and pay freezes versus investment for the future and a strategy for decent jobs, homes and living standards’.