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Gee viz! A great way to honour women workers.

Byline: TorcuilCrichton

THIS year's poster for the STUC May Day parade is a cracker. Instead of the traditional workers' march under a union banner, the message is printed on the back of a high visibility vest.

I like High Viz Liz, with red carnations in her hair, looking across Scotland.

It's a clever nod at how blue collar factory jobs are now yellow vest service posts and how many of them are taken by women.

Continental trade unions have long adopted the high-viz vest as a campaign tool. You've got to admit, wearing one with pride would be less tiring than holding a placard aloft on the miles to Glasgow Green.

Speaking of trade unions, I see that Uncle Len has been having a strop. Unite union leader Len McCluskey, whose funding and members' votes made Ed Miliband Labour leader, has decided to call time on his protection money.

McCluskey warned Miliband he would be "cast into the dustbin of history" if he is seduced by the siren voices of proven election winners such as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander. To which everyone said: "Eh?" No surprise that Miliband described the Unite leader's comments as "reprehensible".

Unite might be Labour's biggest donor, but it doesn't own the party, and a lurch to the left is just what Dr Osborne would prescribe for 2015.

McCluskey has done Red Ed a favour. Expect him to pick more fights with the unions - backing a squeeze on public sector pay, for example - as he woos voters in the middle ground where elections are won.

There is plenty a Labour government could do to restore workers' rights. This Coalition is reducing redundancy consultation to 45 days, has made it harder to claim unfair dismissal and will start charging for employment tribunals - on top of health and safety inspection cuts.

None of these attacks will be reversed by an unelected McCluskeyite Labour Party. Comrades should give Uncle Len a metaphorical slap with a wet dinosaur fish.

Labour needs to build a compelling vision but, as TUC chief Frances O'Grady says, unions need to be "smart and realistic about what to seek from a new economic settlement".

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WATCH YOUR BACK The new poster for the STUC May Day parade
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Title Annotation:News; Opinion, Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 29, 2013
Words:374
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