Well done you Labour MP’s!

February 25, 2008 at 5:07 pm (class, Gordon Brown, Jim D, labour party, politics, unions, workers)

There’s a headline I never expected to write and you, no doubt, never expected to read. Not at ‘Shiraz’, anyway.

But credit where it’s due, I say: last Friday these Labour MP’s defied the government to ensure Andrew Miller’s Temporary and Agency Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) bill got a second reading. Miller’s bill is scarcely revolutionary: it simply proposes that agency and temporary workers should get the same meagre rights (eg sick pay and paid holidays) as directly employed, permanent workers. It was one of the points supposedly agreed between union bureaucrats and the Labour leadership in the Warwick agreement of 2004. Disgracefully, not only has the government reneged on its Warwick promise, but it also (at the end of last year) blocked an EU Directive that would have outlawed unequal treament of temporary and agency workers (another victory for the anti-EU brigade!).

So on Friday sufficient Labout MP’s remembered their basic labour movement principles to ensure that the government and the Tories failed to scupper the bill. Even Peter Hain and the preposterous Ian McCartney voted for it. My gawd – even Prescott waddled into the lobby with the rebels on the first part of the vote (to prevent the Tories talking it out), though this mighty hero of the class struggle couldn’t quite bring himself to vote for the bill itself.

If you have a Labout MP and s/he didn’t vote for this elementary piece of common decency and fair play, get onto them pronto and find out why not! 

Of course, it was the vigourous campaigning of both sections of Unite that ensured those MP’s voted the right way, and it’s encouraging to note that joint General Secretary Tony Woodley seems to be resisting Gordon Brown’s attempts to lure the unions into a commission that will delay and water down the legislation that is required.

A battle won, but not the war. We must keep up the pressure.


  1. Martin Ohr said,

    Well done indeed, there seems to be someone obviously missing though.

  2. John said,

    Good to have a handy checklist of Labour MPs worthy of the name, too.

  3. voltairespriest said,


    Would you be talking about Alan Simpson? Can’t see him on the list…

  4. Jules said,

    “A battle won, but not the war. We must keep up the pressure.” Indeed, a good start though and a reminder that even now a Labour Government is preferable to a Tory one.

    VP – I think the MP Martin was thinking of might have the initials GG.

  5. martin ohr said,

    VP, well I didn’t even look for Simpson, if he didn’t turn up then it’s very sloppy of him, I get the impression from comrades in Nottingham that he has given up on mainstream politics anyway -I think I read in one of the sunday papers that he is building a million pound eco house.

    I tried to post a comment on the SU Galloway in Manchester thread but now all my comments get classed as spam and are automatically deleted. I had tried to ask whether RR thought that shaking hands with mancunian shopkeepers was more useful to the working class than extending the rights of workers- I guess I’ll never know the answer now.

  6. voltairespriest said,

    Sion Simon and Geoffrey Robinson?! Someone must have spiked their champers!

  7. modernity said,


    The SU blog is the Internet equivalent of the Lubyanka.

    the current debate on Israel Shamir – The ‘Unique & Advanced Thinker’ Behind Gilad Atzmon indicates how politically slow and regressive some of the contributors, such as Ian Donovan are:

    “99. No, I dont consider them anti-semitic. They are Jewish, and calling them anti-semitic is as meaningless as calling me an anti-English racist. Which I have been called on this blog…

    Comment by Ian Donovan — 26 February, 2008 @ 11:53 pm”


  8. scwr said,

    Why am I completely unsurprised to find Eric Joyce missing from the list?

  9. Mike said,

    I’m amused to see that while my current MP, Brown’s former deputy Andrew Smith is on the list (as he assured everyone he would be) my previous MP, David Kidney, who resigned his government job over Iraq, is conspicuous by his absence. Of course, it would be absurd to attribute this to my having changed my electoral registration in the meantime…;-)

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