Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/789/17765

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 November 2013

Unite sector conferences: Union delegates seek strategy for resistance

Kevin Parslow, Unite 1228 branch secretary (personal capacity)

Unite the Union held its biennial sector conferences from 11 to 14 November. They took place in the midst of attacks on the union's methods of campaigning from the Tories, the capitalist press and the Labour Party.

General secretary Len McCluskey said that the union "would not be retreating from the leverage campaign or peaceful protest" that had come under attack in the aftermath of the Grangemouth setback.

He would not "cow this union or its leadership" to the likes of the Daily Mail. Delegates were however warned that such big business mouthpieces were in attendance and would be looking to any incident or quote to stir trouble against Unite.

But delegates were not deterred from looking for answers to the important questions they face. Socialist Party members were to the fore. Should the union be bolder against all its opponents? Health delegate Andy Ford asked when coordinated action with other unions would be organised.

Len admitted that the TUC coordinating committee was not working. He said unions wanted to publicise their own disputes and felt their case would not be heard on a coordinated strike day.

But Unite is the biggest union in the country and if it gave a lead in calling for a 24-hour general strike the impact on workers in other unions would be enormous.

In answer to a question on Unite's political strategy construction delegate Dave Walsh was told the union "does not exist to bring the government down"; it is working to get Labour elected in 2015. Len said the union was not prepared to be passive and would support protests, although he was guarded as to what that and other comments meant.

Local government delegate Danny Hogan raised the grim prospect of another 144,000 jobs going in his sector even if a Labour government is elected in 2015. In response Len said the union would have to wait and see if it is successful in changing the Labour Party.

But an increasing number of delegates are questioning the political strategy of the union following the suspensions of councillors for fighting cuts and particularly the Falkirk events and the failure to get Unite members selected as parliamentary candidates.

Radicalism

Len did send a message to Ed Miliband: Labour needs a radical programme or it will be defeated. If Labour loses the next election, the union will have to revisit its political strategy.

But any suggestion of a radical programme from Labour was absent as a series of shadow ministers spoke to the individual sectors.

Local Government and Communities shadow minister Hilary Benn only promised Not for Profit sector delegates a redistribution of money from 'rich' to poor councils, as if so-called rich areas had no poverty problems at all.

These members, working in organisations that increasingly have to deal with the effects of austerity while having grants cut, were so angry they bombarded Benn with a series of questions, inadequately answered.

There is demand for a bold strategy reflected in this incident and resolutions passed in the local government and health sectors calling for strike action.

An attendance of 20 at the Socialist Party fringe meeting to hear speeches from National Shop Stewards Network chair Rob Williams and Unite Housing branch secretary Suzanne Muna also illustrates this. Angry delegates came to hear socialist explanations for the Grangemouth setback and a real alternative to New Labour. Increasingly, Unite members will turn to socialist ideas that will push Unite towards fighting policies and a break with Labour.

New pamphlet: A Socialist Way Forward for Unite
Essential reading for all Unite members - Only 2 including p&p
Available from www.socialistbooks.org.uk

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


In The Socialist 20 November 2013:


International socialist news and analysis

Seattle: 90,000 votes for socialist change

Victory for socialist in Seattle!

Philippines: Typhoon damage worsened by capitalism

Sri Lanka: Cameron's empty promise of war inquiry


Socialist Party news and analysis

Drive the profit vultures out of our NHS

Fight the Tory witch-hunt against Unite

Students must 'fight for the right to fight'

Labour MPs absent in bedroom tax vote

Them & Us


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

We need you to stand against cuts

TUSC byelection candidates: opposing all cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Unite sector conferences: Union delegates seek strategy for resistance

Portsmouth: 'Save the yards, nationalise'

Firefighters determined to fight on

Glasgow strike builds momentum

UPS workers resist bad working conditions

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bedroom tax: Words are cheap - we need action now!

Birmingham children's services - a victim of cuts

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance launched

One thousand march against EDL

Portsmouth: 30 students debate to vote or not to vote?

'Labour is indistinguishable from the Tories'

Pat Cross: 1935-2013


Socialist Party comments and reviews

JFK assassination: Who gained?

We need a real energy bill revolution


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 November 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Unite:

triangleSadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

triangleVictory for school cleaners!

triangleBallots against Bromley privatisers

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Union:

triangleUnison national women's conference

triangleSupermarket's slash jobs - union fightback needed

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

triangleFor workplace trade union organisation against sexual harassment

Labour:

triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

Government:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: How long can May cling on for?

triangleMay's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

Grangemouth:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/2/18

UCU

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

21/2/18

Strike

German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

21/2/18

Cardiff

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

21/2/18

Nottingham

Nottingham hospital black alert

21/2/18

East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

21/2/18

West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

21/2/18

Wales

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

21/2/18

Bradford

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

21/2/18

May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

21/2/18

Kirklees

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

21/2/18

Salford

Save Salford nurseries!

21/2/18

Caerphilly

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

21/2/18

Council

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

21/2/18

Leicester

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

21/2/18

UCU

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999