Tesco workers are being made to wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working.
A former staff member has claimed employees are given marks based on how efficiently they work in a bid to improve productivity and can be called in front of management if they take unscheduled toilet breaks.
The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery. Tesco said the armbands are used to improve efficiency and save its staff from having to carry around pens and paper to keep track of deliveries. But the device is also being used to keep an eye on employees’ work rates, the ex-staff member said.
The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target. Continue reading →
When people ask me, “what is the most important thing you learned about Bobby Sands?” I tell them one simple thing. The most important thing about Bobby Sands is not how he died on hunger strike, it is how he lived.
New York – Bıa news agency, 5 November 2012
The hunger strikes of 1980/1981, in which ten men including Bobby Sands died, are the most famous use of that political weapon. Yet hunger striking has a long history in Irish political culture. It is said that the ancient Celts practiced a form of hunger strike called Troscadh or Cealachan, where someone who had been wronged by a man of wealth fasted on his doorstep. Some historians claim that this was a death fast, which usually achieved justice because of the shame one would incur from allowing someone to die on their doorstep. Others say it was a token act that was never carried out to the death – it was simply meant to publicly shame the offender. In any case, both forms of protest have been used quite regularly as a political weapon in modern Ireland.
The history of Irish resistance to British colonialism is full of heroes who died on hunger strike. Some of the best-known include Thomas Ashe, a veteran of the 1916 “Easter Rising”, who died after he was force-fed by the British in Dublin’s Mountjoy Jail. In 1920, three men including the mayor of Cork City Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in England’s Brixton Prison. In October 1923 two men died when up to 8,000 IRA prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their imprisonment by the new “Irish Free State” (formed after the partition of Ireland in 1921). Three men died on hunger strike against the Irish government in the 1940s. After the IRA was reformed in the 1970s, hunger strikes became common once again. IRA man Michael Gaughan died after being force-fed in a British prison in 1974. And Frank Stagg died in a British jail after a 62-day hunger strike in 1976.
Unlike in Turkey, the Irish make no distinction between a “hunger strike” and a “death fast,” although many hunger strikes have started without the intention of anyone dying. In 1972, IRA prisoners successfully won status as political prisoners after a hunger strike in which no one died. They were then moved to Long Kesh prison camp, where they lived in dormitory-style huts and self-organized their education (including guerrilla training), work (including cooperative handicrafts production), recreation, and attempts to escape and rejoin the conflict. The prisoners used their relative freedom to raise their collective and individual consciousness about their struggle against British occupation of Ireland. They read international revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Irish socialists such as James Connolly. This was, in turn, a foundation for rebuilding the IRA on a basis that included a less hierarchical and more participative structure, with a higher emphasis on community politics as a part of armed struggle.
As the IRA rebuilt their organization in prison the British government also changed strategy. The main pillar of the new strategy was a “conveyor belt” of security operations that included widespread arrests of young Catholic males, heavy interrogation including torture, and juryless courts in which a single judge pronounced guilt often on the sole basis of verbal or written statements under interrogation. Continue reading →
The Israeli ambassador to Spain, Raphael Schutz, has just finished his term in Madrid. In an op-ed in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition he summarized what he termed as a very dismal stay and seemed genuinely relieved to leave.
This kind of complaint seems now seems to be the standard farewell letter of all Israeli ambassadors in Western Europe. Schutz was preceded by the Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, on his way to his new posting at the United Nations in New York, complaining very much in the same tone about his inability to speak in campuses in the United Kingdom and whining about the overall hostile atmosphere. Before him the ambassador in Dublin expressed similar relief when he ended his term in office in Ireland.
All three grumblers were pathetic but the last one from Spain topped them all. Like his colleagues in Dublin and in London he blamed his dismal time on local and ancient anti-Semitism. His two friends in the other capitals were very vague about the source of the new anti-Semitism as both in British and Irish history it is difficult to single out, after medieval times, a particular period of anti-Semitism.
But the ambassador in Madrid without any hesitation laid the blame for his trials and tribulations on the fifteenth century Spanish Inquisition. Thus the people of Spain (his article was entitled “Why the Spanish hate us”) are anti-Israeli because they are either unable to accept their responsibility for the Inquisition or they still endorse it by other means in our times. Continue reading →
200,000 take to the streets of Dublin to protest cuts in government programs
NY Daily News, November 24th 2010
Debt-stricken Europe was hit by protests, strikes and clashes with police Wednesday.
Strikers brought much of Portugal to a standstill. They all but closed the airport, with passengers unable to get in or out of the country, the Associated Press reports.
In Ireland, proposals were made for its deepest budget cuts in history.
The Irish Stock Exchange saw a plunge in bank stocks as investors panicked and traders speculated on when Portugal and Spain would be the next countries begging for bailouts.
Facing criticism that he has downplayed the scale of Ireland’s financial meltdown, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he expects the European Union-International Money Fund bailout loan to total $115 billion.
“The government is completely in denial about the amount of money they’ll have to borrow,” said Constantin Gurdgiev, a finance lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. Continue reading →
By Sean Flynn, Education Editor Irish Times, November 4, 2010
In the largest student protest for a generation, at least 25,000 voiced their opposition to increased student fees outside the DÃ¡il yesterday.
As he surveyed the vast crowd on Merrion Street, the president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Gary Redmond declared: “The sleeping giant that is the student movement has been awoken.”
For too long, he said, students had been a sitting target for the Government, but the movement had been reinvigorated and they would no longer roll over.
Pointing their fingers accusingly towards Leinster House, the students chanted “I am a Vote, I am a Vote” for several minutes. It was a powerful moment during a protest which seemed at times like a throwback to student resistance in the 1960s.
The scale of the protest, organised hurriedly after weekend reports of a threatened _3,000 student charge, appeared to take even the USI by surprise. It estimated that over 40,000 attended the event. Protesters wore yellow T-shirts bearing the slogan Education Not Emigration. Continue reading →