Sefton Labour Councillor goes Independent

It’s not been hard to pick up on the fact that Molyneux ward Labour Party have not been a happy bunch of campers for quite some time so when Sefton Cllr. Tony Carr announced he was resigning from the Sefton Council’s Labour Group, last week, to see out the rest of his term as an independent it did not come as a complete surprise to me.

If memory serves Tony was elected to serve for Molyneux ward (Southern Maghull, Melling and Aintree) in 2010 the year before I moved from Molyneux ward to Park ward (western Maghull and Lydiate) as a Lib Dem Sefton Councillor. I continued as a Sefton Councillor until 2015 so served alongside Tony for 5 years. My memory is of him being someone who was a good caseworker for residents and of a decent guy too. Like me, his background was from within the trade union movement. I think he was from UNITE, whilst I was PCS. I’ve noticed in the past that lay trade unionists can also make decent councillors as in reality the roles are not dissimilar; both need good communication skills and a willingness to help folk in difficulties.

I must admit to not really knowing Tony very well so I’m not sure where he would sit within the very wide spectrum of Labour activists. I’m guessing that he will not hold views as progressive as my own as a Social Liberal but I might be doing him an injustice there. It’s just that experience has taught me over many years as a trade unionist and politician that most Labour folk hold views that are to the right of me, some very much so.

I do hope there won’t be calls for Tony to resign his seat due to him leaving Labour to sit as an independent because my understanding is that he’s well thought of across the political divides and in particular by Molyneux ward residents.

And yes I have noted the very public allegations that Tony has made (via Facebook) with regard to his reasons for leaving Sefton Labour. Suffice to say that they are troubling indeed.

I wish Tony well as I’m not particularly tribal in my politics and am willing to say when someone from a differing political tradition to my own is doing a good job.

Bootle – Yet more Civil Service jobs to be withdrawn!


On the back of HMRC giving notice to quit to Bootle and Netherton ACAS has seemingly now joined the abandon Bootle movement of Civil Service jobs out of a Town that so obviously needs them. My last posting about the HMRC job losses is available via the link below:-

The HMRC jobs some 2,500+ are going into Liverpool whilst the much smaller number of ACAS jobs are moving to economically overheated Manchester!

What on earth was the point of putting Civil Service jobs into Bootle in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s simply to withdraw them all now? Does no one in Government give a fig for the more deprived and economically struggling communities in the north of England?

Is this all part of the Norther Poorhouse policy to further impoverish the towns and smaller communities of the north by pushing all the jobs and investment into the major northern cities? What good can come from such a policy?

One of my major concerns about about the development of City Regions is that exactly this sort of thing will continue to happen. What’s the point of Liverpool being successful, for example, if its surrounding Boroughs are asset stripped to achieve that. I despair I really do.

Labour Leadership election – thousand denied a vote but…

The BBC has the story – see link above

Well PCS is my trade union, the one I worked for over many years and via its previous names as well.

I had to scratch my head a bit about Mark Serwatka though as thought he was a socialist who would not have anything to do with the (Red Tory) Labour Party. Surely he can’t be surprised that someone as high profile as him has been smoked out by Labour’s panicked election organisers?

I am begging to wonder though about Mark Serwatka’s judgement as I had a run-in with him over his, in my view, poorly thought out response to a promise of a pay rise for me and my fellow Civil Service workers during the last election. This previous posting refers:-

John Pugh – Lib Dem candidate for Southport – On the Tories plans for regional pay.

John Pugh MP for Southport

Iain Brodie Brown has the story on his Birkdale Focus Bog Site – see link above.

This is a subject close to my heart as I spent many years as a trade union officer and activist for IRSF, PTC & PCS trying to resist regional pay which would make public sector workers outside of London and the South East second class employees.

Lib Dems pledge on pay equality

The Liberal Democrats have pledged a statutory measure on gender pay that will see large companies (more than 250 people) fined £5,000 if they refuse to publish the difference in pay rates between men and women. The party claims the voluntary system on gender pay differences has been a failure and points out that in 2013 the median pay for a woman was 19.7% less than the median for a man. The average hourly wage for women was £10.33 while men were paid £12.97.

As someone who was a long time trade union officer for IRSF, PTC & PCS I am pleased to see this pledge from my Party. Women have been disadvantaged over pay for far too long.

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story

Tories stir up union trouble in Civil Service

Liberal Democrats have described a move by Conservative ministers to stop Whitehall departments deducting trade union subscriptions from civil servants’ pay packets as a “vindictive attack.” Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has written to departments urging them to end the “check-off” system of deducting union subs through Whitehall’s payroll system, but his request is set to be ignored in ministries headed by Lib Dems. A leading advocate of ending “check-off” is Eric Pickles, who last year lost a court case when he tried to scrap the system in the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Today’s Press:- i, Page: 4 The Independent, Page: 15 Daily Mirror, Page: 11

As someone who spent many years working for the trade union movement in the Civil Service I understand what this ‘check-off’ system is about. For generations Civil Servants have paid their union subscriptions via direct deductions from their monthly salaries/wages by the Government Dep’t they work for. The money is then paid over to the appropriate trade union they belong to.

Also for generations, despite the odd Thatcher type blip, Governments have encouraged Civil Servants to join trade unions. This, in general, has enabled the Civil Service to have fairly reasonable industrial relations.

Why on earth the Tories want to cause industrial strife in the Civil Service via this petty idea of stopping the collection of union subs baffles me. It can only be driven by that infamous ‘them and us’ approach to industrial relations that has bedeviled the UK for so many years. A good employer embraces good industrial relations; the success of the German economy since the Second World War proves that.

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.