Power-crazed organisations coercing government to enact policy against the will of the people and subverting democracy - so runs the popular left-wing critique of big corporations in the corrupt, neoliberal world. There's truth to it in places, but it's major failing of many that they feel to see some of the same issues with unions.
They even plan to make it a criminal offense for more than six people to stand peacefully in a picket line. This is ridiculous. The police should be out there catching the real criminals, not wasting their time arresting people on peaceful union pickets. If they get away with it, democracy and liberty in the UK will be seriously damaged. We will have the most draconian strike laws of any democracy in Western Europe.
The Queen's Speech was supposed to position the Conservatives as the party of working people. If so, they've got a strange way of going about it. A list of priorities that includes curbing trade union rights, chipping away at workplace protections through EU negotiations, freezing in-work benefits, cutting jobs and freezing pay in the public sector doesn't read like a workers' wishlist.
Low pay and wage stagnation have left a gaping hole in the UK's public finances. New research published by the TUC for Fair Pay Fortnight shows that the government is collecting £33.4billion less in income tax and national insurance than had been forecast by the Office of Budget Responsbility, following the longest squeeze on wages since Victorian times.
TTIP is a big issue for politicians, business, unions and the rest of society. The secrecy which pervades the negotiations has kept it out of public debate for too long... That's why the TUC's Congress this September called for the negotiations to be halted. A good deal could be done, but not by starting from here.
The simple truth is that many employers can afford to pay more. For large companies in sectors such as food production, banking, construction and software/computing - which employ over 1 million low- wage workers - paying all staff the living wage would mean an increase of less than 0.5 per cent of the total wage bill.
The critics of austerity have been proved right. The OBR confirm today what we already knew - the recovery is at least two years behind schedule. The Chancellor has failed to meet the objective he set of a rebalanced economy growing enough through exports and investment to close the deficit by the time of the next election.