Waltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

PPE against coronavirus, April 2020

PPE against coronavirus, April 2020   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

In organising a meeting on PPE and workplace safety, Waltham Forest Trade Union Council showed the role of these bodies in drawing together workers in struggle, strengthening solidarity, and helping clarify the tasks for the labour movement through discussion.

Hundreds of small – and not so small – victories are being won in workplaces through workplace organisation and collective action all over the country .

Our trade union council meeting was organised so we could hear about some of those victories and to look at how the whole trade union movement can benefit from discussing them and perhaps emulating them.

There were seven panel speakers at the Zoom webinar discussion. Len Hockey from Barts Healthcare Unite union branch, Esme Choonara, a GMB member and paramedic, Max McGee, Usdaw union rep at a Tesco warehouse, Moe, a London bus driver from Unite, Katharine Lindenberg from the National Education Union and Rob Williams from the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

And Jared Wood, explained the fight on London Underground, emphasising that in this crisis we also have to raise the big picture – the failure of capitalism and the need to fight for socialism.

The meeting agreed to carefully test out the potential to show trade union solidarity with the health workers with a trades council car cavalcade through the hospital at 8pm when the staff are clapping to show support for action for PPE and workplace safety.