Support for socialist alternative to pro-cuts New Labour at GMB conference

Ryan Aldred, Socialist Party Plymouth branch

On 2-6 June, Plymouth hosted the annual GMB union conference. Socialist Party members, who set up a stall outside, were generally met with a very positive response from GMB delegates. 50 delegates bought copies of the Socialist.

Les Woodward, part of the Remploy Consortium, said he really enjoyed the conference: “Remploy fired up passionate debate. Renationalising Remploy and reopening branches was well received.”

Remploy factory closures have made 3,500 disabled people unemployed. Brian Davies, a Remploy worker for 33 years, now works for the GMB.

He remarked that “spirits were raised with some good discussions, people have not forgotten the Remploy workers”.

Brian supported the call for a 24-hour general as a step towards further action “until we get rid of this lot!” Brian was also supportive of a motion to break ties with the Labour Party, and backed the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Cut the link

Charlene Sibley, a domestic at Derriford hospital, said she was dissatisfied with Labour’s betrayal of the trade unions, through their inaction regarding the anti-union legislation.

Charlene said: “I would [support a motion to cut ties and funding], I have been pushing to have all funding cut.”

It is clear that there is dissatisfaction with GMB’s funding of Labour, with rank and file union members expressing more than a little concern about Labour’s ability to represent working class people.

These seeds of dissent are being nurtured by Ed Miliband’s recent announcement that Labour will not reverse the cuts.

Ryan is standing as a TUSC candidate in Plymouth council’s Southway ward on 27 June. Ryan is a young member of the local Unite union community branch, a former participant in the Occupy movement and recently elected as a delegate to the Plymouth trades council.