From the TUC

Luke Johnson: nasty, biased and wrong

23 Sep 2010, By

Rich entrepreneur Luke Johnson has a weekly column in the Financial Times where he drips bile on people like trade unionists under the guise of offering pearls of wisdom. He has contributed massively to society by making pots of money out of hedge funds and grim restaurant chains, exploiting his workers and using money to make money. But in his latest column, “Unions are an obstacle to progress and change”, he takes his bigoted and poorly researched jottings to a new low.

Admitting from the start that he has a personal grudge against unions because Jack Jones once threatened to sue his dad, he serves up prejudice and anecdote as fact. If he wrote this stuff about any other group in society he’d be banged up, but of course unions are fair game.

For the record, we are not perfect, and like any large group, we have our bad apples. But there’s been research. Unions produce higher wages, more equal treatment, longer holidays and safer workplaces. Hedge funds, which is what Johnson runs, destroy jobs (venture capital, which starts new firms and therefore obviously creates employment, is a different animal) and reduce wages for everyone but the elite. There’s lots of academic research that shows unions actually make change possible, while maintaining ordinary people’s living standards – which is why people in their millions (hundreds of millions, globally) join us.

It can of course be difficult to summarise all the material in a short article, but this one is shorter than Johnson’s and is more grounded in fact.

Actually, on reflection, it’s pretty easy to summarise the issue in a sentence. Unions are good, Luke Johnson is bad.