Friday, December 02, 2011


Given all the Bonfire of the Vanities style rage being used against Jeremy Clarkson for being a prat and saying some ill judged things on TV this week, you would think there would be more focus on words that are intended to cause harm being used.

Specifically the term Scab.

An official for Unison has sent an email round which included the following ( reported by Sky news and in the Daily Mail ).

    To the small minority of UNISON members who refused to respect the democratic decision to strike, and went in to work, I say two things.

    First, you were wrong. What you did was immoral and unacceptable and you should be ashamed. Whatever reason you thought you had to let your colleagues down it was not a good reason. It will (if you are a decent person) be difficult for you to look into the eyes of colleagues who gave up a day’s pay to defend our pensions, knowing that you were prepared to let them make that sacrifice for you.

    It may be unpleasant to be called a “scab” but it is more unpleasant for those of us who take strike action to know that there are a minority who refuse to accept democratic decisions. If you cross a picket line you are a scab. There is no other word for it and it is one of the worst things that can be done.

    Secondly, there is still hope for you. Should further strike action be necessary (as I fear and expect) then you will have an opportunity to redeem yourself by taking the right decision next time. Please think carefully about this and never again make the mistake of crossing a picket line.
Its a clear case of bullying and intimidation. In any other context ( race relations or other equality areas the police would be involved ). It comes close to inciting violence.

Clarkson was an idiot - who perhaps deserves to be taken down a peg or two, or even sacked. But what this unchastised Unison official did is far worse, and far more likely to result in violence and bullying.

Its time we agreed not to use words like scab.

If Unison can't get its members to support its coarse of industrial 'action' then its going to have to accept it can't act in unison after all ...


Anonymous said...

Doing this once they may be able to get away with. If they do it again it likely falls within section 2 of the offence of Harassment.

An offence under this section is a course of conduct (at least two occasions) which amounts to harassment (causing alarm or distress) which, in this case, the union, knows, or ought to know amounts to harassment of another.

Section 4 makes it an offence if a course of conduct causes another to fear that violence will be used against him or her.

Harassment includes "collective" harassment in which members of a group (union members who did not strike) are subjected to harassment.

Penalties include restraining orders, fines and imprisonment.

For many of the unions barely 1/3rd of the members actually voted at all, which only serves to compound the potential for the crimes of harassment and putting people in fear of violence.


Anonymous said...

Democratic decision? Yeah right.

Have a look at the percentage of Union members who actually voted as opposed to the percentage of those in favour. Democratic my arse.

Anonymous said...

Why in the UK is the answer to every perceived sin to demand that the bread be take out of the mouth of the sinner by sacking him?