CESR Review: July 2013
Articles by CESR members
Organising sex workers in the UK: What’s in it for trade unions? Written by Dr Ana Lopes and Jennifer Webber
The current attacks on workers and wide-ranging structural changes in the labour market underline the necessity for unions to adapt to the needs of vulnerable and precarious workers. In this article, Ana Lopes of CESR and Jennifer Webber of the GMB union reflect upon the experience of organising sex workers in the UK in the context of union renewal and the possibility of new forms of unionism. They point out that sex workers, far from being a small and unique group of workers, encapsulate many of the characteristics of the new constituencies in union renewal efforts. The sex worker activist base organises beyond traditional union boundaries and is deeply involved in community and self-organisation. Therefore, unions would do well to look at their experience and support their efforts.
Introduced in 2004, neighbourhood policing (NP) represents a considerable change in the way some police officers perform their role. Rather than focusing on maintaining public order and investigating crimes, neighbourhood officers are expected to engage with members of the public, allow them to help determine policing priorities and provide better support to the victims of crime. These objectives were intended to answer criticisms that the police service had become a discriminatory organisation that did not reflect or understand the diversity found in modern communities.
The malpractice and abuses of power that resulted from this has had a significant negative impact on public attitudes towards the police service. NP is intended to address a 'them and us' attitude amongst officers and promote better relations between the public and police service.
Last May, the Eurogroup praised the progress made by the Greek government in implementing the fiscal and structural reforms outlined in the three Memoranda of Understanding between Greece and its creditors. The rate of recession for the first quarter of 2013 was -5.3%, an improvement from the -6.5% of the first quarter of 2012, and Fitch, the global rating agency, upgraded Greek bonds from the CCC category to B- (still, however, characterising them as 'junk assets').
The Greek government was quick to present these developments as proof of the success of, and a further justification for, the austerity programme implemented in the country over the past three years. However, even if, and this is a big ‘if’, growth is on an upward trajectory, any manifestations in the real economy appear some way off.
In 2011, a study by the CBI indicated that almost three quarters of UK employers were dissatisfied with the skill levels of graduates. As the effects of recession continue to be significant issues in 2013, there is reason to suspect that graduate employment will continue to be cause for concern. A growing literature emphasises the importance of ensuring a focus on employability in degree programmes and reveals that UK universities are aware of the vital role they play in preparing graduates for an increasingly uncertain labour market.
Book Review: Edward Slavishak, (2008) Bodies of Work –
Civic Display and Labor in Industrial Pittsburgh
Durham and London, Duke University Press
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