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Citizenship

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					                         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.

				
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