Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shanghaied by HSBC

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) - chiefly famous for money-laundering - have also shanghaied millions of pounds from ordinary customers by a bit of jiggery pokery with Cash Machines.

If you accidentally leave your money in an ATM for about 30 seconds, the machine takes the money back and anyone would expect that the bank would refund the money to their account. RBS and HSBC do not think like that.

For years they have just quietly kept the money unless the customer specifically complains to them. HSBC was the last major bank to reluctantly and grudgingly agree to give ordinary customers their
money back.

With astonishing bravado they have insisted customers "don't call us -we have all the information to sort this out!"In other words it was not a mistake or oversight, they knew all about it.

If you or I tried a stunt like that we would be looking at the inside of a prison cell. Are the banks above the law?

Isn't it nice to know our money is safe in their hands?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Diary of a Common Soldier

I didn't know my father very well. He died when I was seven. However, I did get to know the young man who was a common soldier in the Second World War through reading his diary.
This diary is now available on Kindle thanks to my sister, the writer Janice Robinson. In the introduction there is the following story which my mother always repeated as a dire warning against being "too clever"

"My dad, F R McMillan, known to all but the family as "Mac" was an ordinary sort of chap. During the depression in the 1930s he took any job he could get and when he received his call-up papers in June 1940, he was a baker's roundsman.

"Being of a sarcastic nature, when asked if he wanted to go into the Navy or the RAF, he replied, "Is that all you have to offer?" And he was promptly sent into the Army."

Read his story.
Click on the link below:

Friday, December 21, 2012

STOPP Gove's performance pay chicanery

Only obedient teachers will be getting pay rises in future if Gove gets his way. The union was founded to oppose performance related pay.

There is a facebook page for those who want to comment on Gove's plans and the union's response.

Click here

Monday, December 10, 2012


ASOSA - yet another acronym to learn. This one refers to "Action Short of Strike Action." LANAC is the "Local Associations for National Action Campaign" which held a conference on 8th December in Leicester I attended with Mark Sandell who was suffering from the worst cold in history.
The LANAC conference was an opportunity to exchange experiences of Action Short of Strike Action. Although there are schools with good union organisation where the union group did not have to take action, the consensus was that ASOSA was giving more confidence to rank and file members of the union.

In some cases the union has had to threaten strike action to get recalcitrant heads to comply. This has generally been enough. In one case the union had had to take escalating strike action – one, two and three days before a head was persuaded to see sense. The consequence was that the union group was stronger at the end of it. The head had assumed the strike action would tail off. On the contrary, the picket line was bigger each time and attendance at union meetings went up.

The nature of the NUT ballot was that strike action could be taken at short notice so heads could not make use of delay to undermine the action.

This squares with the reports given to NUT South East Regional Committee in November.

Gove is threatening to cut teachers' pay still further with all pay rises being for “nice” teachers Some of the appalling bullying heads we have heard of will be the people who decide who's naughty or nice.

Moreover schools which are in dire financial straits may be forced to conclude that they have no nice teachers because they cannot afford to pay them!

Under these circumstances it is likely that there will have to be strike action. There was some discussion over whether this will require another ballot. Nevertheless there was a mood of confidence that the union will have to proceed to “phase two” and the NASUWT may be forced to the same conclusion.

Derek McMillan December 10th 2012