An Open Letter to Donna Jones

In a letter to the Leader published exclusively on S&C, contributor Rosie Bremer takes a tongue in cheek look at the reduction in funding facility time passed by Portsmouth City Council on 14th February.

Dear Mrs Jones,

I’m so sorry I was unable to attend the recent Portsmouth City Council meeting discussing reducing facility time for trade unions. As a member of the public I would have enjoyed nothing more than sitting in the public gallery cheering on my civic representatives in their wholly well-meaning efforts to set Portsmouth on the right and proper path to prosperity.

I applaud the council’s genuine commitment to keeping all the goodies safely in the pudgy hands of the 1%, as this frees us – the 99% of us who don’t own the fruits of our labour – to innovate some inventive survival strategies. I was recently very impressed by the management style of Mr Ashley of Sports Direct and am relieved that PCC is emulating his lean, efficient style of running a Victorian enterprise a full 116 years after the demise of that great era.

In particular I hope that, if workers for PCC are without adequate union representation (in fact, let’s call it what it is – interference), more women will follow the shining example of the employee who gave birth in the toilet at a Sports Direct warehouse because she couldn’t afford to take time off work. If only everyone would just go just that extra mile!

For far too long people have been allowed luxuries like sick pay, holiday pay, weekends off, tea breaks and parental leave. I absolutely understand how it must stick in your throat to abide by any kind of regulation that gets in the way of your business case. Extensive studies reveal that workers perform so much better when they’re absolutely exhausted, not paid properly and there’s insufficient support for them. These are of course the ideal conditions for workers – it’s why the sweatshop model works so well.

I think it most impertinent of the unions to spend so much time complaining about their members’ working lives. The truth is that anyone these days should be grateful to have any kind of paid employment after the bankers spectacularly crashed the economy in 2008, like a toddler trying to fly a plane.

It’s only fair that the people who had least to do with this global catastrophe should be the ones to take all the shit for it. That’s just the way of the world, isn’t it? It’s the natural order of things.

The luxuries of life like a house, some clothes, food on the table three times a day, heating in cold weather, a night out at the cinema every now and again (which a disreputable trade union rep might try to help workers’ secure – in YOUR time!) rightfully belong in the august hands of people such as yourself. Well-respected, successful, property-owning people are the only ones who should be allowed to be successful, well-respected and property owning. If the works of the splendid Friedrich Hayek taught us anything, they taught us this: that it is property that sets us free and not trade union representatives.

Every PCC employee now has the opportunity to be truly free with reduced facility time for trade union representatives. Each and every worker experiencing workplace stress, financial insecurity, bullying and harassment will now get the chance to own his or her very own bottle of prescription anti-depressants.

It is most heartening to witness your drive to fleece us of anything that might make our working lives more bearable, more productive and happier, and I know it will yield some great results. Sadly I have no surviving female ancestors but my daughter has a grandmother; do let me know if you want me to put her up for sale to assist the council in its efforts to recoup the money squandered by the gambling spiv bankers in those heady 2008 days.

Heaven forbid that we should take the path that Iceland took, and let the people off paying the bankers’ debts.

Yours In Appreciation Of Your Smash And Grab Efforts,

Rosy Bremer