Scenario - You are a well known specialist advisor for Pressure Group activity in the UK. A local woman’s group has contacted you because they are concerned about the extent of bullying taking place on a local housing estate. A ten year boy was recently attacked. After being taken to hospital for head injuries he later died in hospital. He was an only child. The group would like to raise awareness of the effects of bullying and start a campaign to stamp out bullying. In addition, they would like the law to impose tougher penalties for those who bully. - What advice would you give to the group? Think about what their “success criteria” would be and the best way they could achieve their aims. - You must give them at least 5 good pieces of advice Factors behind success Media support Compatibility with Gov’t / insider or outsider group Public opinion Strategies used Quality of organisation/reputation of leaders Availability of research Aims of pressure group (success criteria) Ability to cause disruption e.g. fuel protests Local, national or international group/campaign Financial wealth Size of group Local, national or international base Trade Unions Have a long history in Britain. Their primary function is to represent the interests of workers in specific fields. Trade Unions speak on behalf of their members about issues such as wage bargaining and conditions of employment. Normally represent specific industries e.g. teachers, health workers etc Anyone can join but you normally have to pay a subscription fee. Links with Political Parties Some funds raised through membership are used to support political parties. Traditionally, the unions have been close to the Labour Party. The hope is that once in power, the political party will pass legislation favourable to the union. Unions can advise policy makers. Unions can provide unions with evidence of research to influence policy makers. Disputes Disputes between Trade Unions and employers can result in strike action. This is designed to put pressure on employers to adopt or reverse policy in line with the wishes of the workers. When a dispute arises trade unions and employers negotiate through a third party referred to as ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). When no decision can be agreed upon the Trade Unions will seek a mandate to call the union members out on strike or some other industrial action. Fire Fighters Strike In 2002, the UK Fire Fighters Union, the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), voted to take strike action in an attempt to secure a better salary. The FBU was demanding an increase in pay of 39% (£30,000 per annum). The strike was a direct result of changes to working practises in the fire service in the United Kingdom. This was the first nationwide fire fighters' strike in the UK since the 1970’s. Fire Fighters Strike The first few weeks of the planned action were postponed while negotiation took place. The armed forces provided emergency cover but this was not sufficient. Lives were at risk but each side blamed the other. There were numerous examples of striking fire fighters responding to emergency calls from the picket line and several rescues were made in this way. On June 12, 2003, the dispute ended with the fire fighters accepting a pay deal worth 16% over three years linked to changes to working conditions. Fire Fighters Strike Public support for the fire fighters had initially been high. However, more people came to resent what they perceived to be an attempt by the fire fighters to abuse their position for financial gain. A recent study (Lancet) found fire fighting to be the 23rd most dangerous occupation after common occupations such as refuse collectors, builders, lorry drivers etc. Over 40 applications are received for every fire fighters job. This tells us that public opinion thinks that fire fighters get a good deal. An 86-year-old man died in a house fire. His sheltered housing was half a mile away from a striking fire station. It took 25 minutes for a Green Goddesss to reach him from its base five miles away. Typically, 600-700 people die each year in fires in the UK Was the strike legitimate? Were the fire fighters being unreasonable in their demands for a 39% (£30,000) pay increase? A Police officer will start on £20,397. Do you think the armed services who are not trained fire fighters would have provided sufficient cover? They eventually accepted just 16%. To what extent did changing public opinion contribute to the end of the strike? Many fire fighters left the pickets to help with emergencies. What other forms of protest could the fire fighters have used to achieve their aim? Examples TUC (Trade Union Congress) membership now stands at 62 unions, representing nearly six and a half million people. GFTU (General Federation Trade Unions) UNISON (public services) NUT (National Union of Teachers Past Exam Questions Refer to session on Political action or Pressure Groups.