Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/709/14133

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 March 2012

Socialist Party Congress report: Trade unions and workplaces

Preparing for the struggles ahead

At the Socialist Party's national congress on 10-12 March, the discussion on developments in the trade unions was introduced by Rob Williams. He proposed, and it was unanimously agreed, to send messages of support to the Remploy workers facing a battle to keep their factories open and to the MMP packaging workers in Bootle who are also fighting redundancies foisted on them by a vicious employer.

The conference erupted in cheers as delegates agreed to send congratulations to the construction workers who have defeated the big construction companies' attempts to slash their wages and working conditions.

Rob graphically set out what workers are facing in the age of austerity. In the public sector, especially in local government, the Con-Dems have been able to push through cuts, a pay freeze, redundancies and privatisation - impossible without the collusion of Labour councillors and often a defeatist role played by trade union bureaucrats.

But the anger and frustration about all these attacks has been concentrated on the pensions dispute. That battle, and the willingness to fight of public sector workers, has had an affect on the private sector by legitimising struggle again. There has been a rash of disputes, notably those reported on in the Socialist, such as Unilever, Wincanton and the Stagecoach bus drivers.

The correct tactics and strategy being adopted by the leadership of the civil service union PCS, which includes Socialist Party members, has been important. The Left Unity conference on 7 January played a vital role in keeping united national action on the agenda.

The pensions struggle is continuing, with the planned strike on 28 March - and it could reignite. But whatever happens it has helped to reinvigorate the fighting spirit within the trade unions and it has paved the way for the battles to come, including over the NHS.

The construction workers' battle showed the complexities within the trade union movement - the need to go through the official union bodies as well as organising rank and file action. The trade union officials involved were largely weighed down by past setbacks and the bold and imaginative methods used by the rank and file were essential in igniting and spreading the dispute. But the employers only backed down after there was an official strike ballot.

Through all of these disputes the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has played an increasingly important role and the conference on 9 June should further develop its significance as a fighting organisation for active trade unionists.

The discussion ranged across many unions and workplaces, delegates explaining how future battles will emerge. In education for example, school teachers are taking action against privatisation and cuts, as well as pensions, the action taken by the NUT having an influence on the other teaching unions.

Affiliation to the Labour Party was another theme, with a member of Unison pointing out how the confidence in Labour has been severely dented after all the cuts being implemented by Labour councils. Only one third of Unison members were paying into the affiliated political fund anyway.

The long-running witch-hunt against Socialist Party members in Unison is an indication of the fear the union leadership has of the arguments for a fighting democratic union. And the repeated failure of the witch-hunters to win the arguments at employment tribunals is an indication of their political weakness.

Several delegates mentioned the importance of selling the Socialist in workplaces. Many workers will take out subscriptions to the paper, especially if the content is used to develop workplace discussion groups and some will be convinced to join the Socialist Party by what they read.

The lively and interesting discussion and the summing up by Jane James, from the executive committee, really underlined the important positions many Socialist Party members have in the trade unions and the necessity of continuing the preparation for the forthcoming battles.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 March 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Resist Cameron's cold cruelty

Fight the cuts - for a workers' alternative

Fight back against attacks on pensions

Those fracking Tories

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Construction workers fight on

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Widespread fraud alleged as Putin wins presidential poll

Kazakhstan: Oilworkers' lawyer freed from prison


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

National demo needed to save our NHS

Liberals' 'democratic' conference

Fighting Con-Dem attacks on education

14 March - Socialist Students get a response

Housing crisis in London

Library cash goes to supermarket bosses

Coventry: Fight for a socialist alternative

May Day greetings


Socialist Party congress

Socialist Party Congress 10-12 March 2012

World developments show - capitalism is crisis

Trade unions and workplaces

Britain: working class begins to 'rise like lions'

Building the Socialist Party: 'year of the branch'

Young, socialist and proud to be!


Reviews & readers' comments

'Westenders' - omnibus edition

The best of 'literary fiction'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 March 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  




Related links:

Socialist Party:

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

Union:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool

Unions:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/12/17

Housing

Two in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

13/12/17

Brexit

Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

13/12/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

13/12/17

Fees

Uni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

13/12/17

Retail

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2