Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 July 2021

Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights

NSSN meeting discussed what Freeports mean for workers

NSSN meeting discussed what Freeports mean for workers   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Chaffey, Southern Socialist Party secretary

Over 50 trade unionists from unions such as Unite, RMT, PCS, Usdaw, and NEU, and reps from local trades councils in Southampton, Hull and Liverpool met with the assistance of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) to discuss what 'Freeports' mean for workers and how trade unions should respond.

Rob Williams, chair of the NSSN, introducing the meeting outlined the importance of raising awareness about the development of Freeports and the danger they pose to workers: "There must be no bonfire of our rights", he warned.

On the day of the meeting, Unite secured a significant union recognition agreement with XPO-Nestle over the East Midlands Gateway logistic hub that will eventually cover six million square feet of warehousing. It is a glimpse of how the Tory 'levelling-up' agenda will impact the workplace as incentives are offered for investors in the form of deregulation and tax breaks.

Dave Williams, Unite executive member said: "This is a welcome step in the right direction but there is a lot at stake to stop a continuation in the race to the bottom that will weaken and undermine jobs and the future."

Darren Proctor, RMT national officer for maritime, spoke about the longstanding race to the bottom that has seen seafarers' wages attacked by the bosses.

Claire from PCS in East Midlands outlined how far deregulation had spread across Europe with 83 Freeports already in the European Union. It's not only coastal ports that are the targets, but also flight hubs such as East Midlands Airport, which is now second to Stanstead in terms of air freight.

Reeling from a decade of government funding cuts, cash-strapped local councils, including Labour councils, are supporting these measures, attracted by the increase in revenue from business rates, despite the threat to workers. Evidence already shows that Freeports don't create jobs but promote job transfers. The role of Labour councils makes this a political issue that must be addressed by the unions.

The meeting was unanimous that trade unions must defend all existing national and local agreements. Where current agreements exist with companies like UPS and DHL, trade unions must ensure that job transfers to Freeports are fought in order to defend workers' pay and conditions. Our approach must be to demand that all new jobs, including apprenticeships, are at agreed trade union pay rates and conditions.

The Socialist Party gives its full support to the development of a coordinated trade union response to Freeports. The meeting proposed a further national meeting in the autumn and a national day of action to raise awareness and mobilise opposition. This should include making links with trade unions in the 83 Freeports across Europe who will face their own attacks in the period ahead.

The only way to ensure a real levelling up for all is through implementing socialist policies that should include the renationalisation of the ports and transport as part of an integrated plan of production and distribution to ensure full employment and improve current pay and working conditions.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 28 July 2021:


Labour expulsions confirm need for new mass workers' party

'Pingdemic' exemptions

Tories and Labour fail on child poverty

Nationality and borders bill

London floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

Jobs and homes for all


Cuban protests - what do they represent?

Flood devastation in Europe

Israel: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

In brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI

Public sector pay

Public sector pay - Prepare for action!

Unite to fight Tory pay insults

New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

Government departments move to impose pay cuts

Further education set for industrial action over pay

Trade union

Sheffield Uni UCU fights archaeological dept closure

Bexley bin workers strike for better pay

Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights


Thousands march to Reclaim Pride

Tower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

East London resident fighting eviction again

Barnsley 'Big Green Space' protest

Youth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched

Selling the Socialist

Scottish socialist breaks running record

Readers' Opinion

TV Review: Stateless blames mismanagement rather than system


Home   |   The Socialist 28 July 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleSocialists and the four-day week

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleWorkers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

triangleTory cuts to Universal Credit: we need a union fightback

triangleNHS workers reject 3% insult


triangleWorkers' politics won't come from Labour

triangleA pivotal moment for the trade union movement

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the unions can win a decent pay rise for health and other public sector workers

triangleReject the Ministry of Justice pay offer


triangleOaks Park strikers call eleven days' more action

triangleMOJ pay deal accepted - we demand 10% and no strings attached

triangleInterview: Bakers' union to vote on Labour disaffiliation

Trade unions:

triangleTrade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety

triangleBuilding back better? Fight for a socialist recovery


triangleFlood devastation in Europe

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleBexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

European Union:

triangleCatalonia independence movement two years on

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Youth Fight for Jobs

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs relaunched



West Sussex 'disability tax' - our protest is not going away



Oaks Park strikers call eleven days' more action



Fighting evictions in Cornwall



Leeds taxi drivers and disabled passengers unite to fight station changes


Socialist Students

Socialist Students: Youth lit up when they saw us on campus


Trans rights

York: Non-binary and trans rights protest


Climate change

Who pays for the climate crisis?



Interview: Bakers' union to vote on Labour disaffiliation



NHS workers reject 3% insult


Martin Powell-Davies

End the teaching workload crisis



MOJ pay deal accepted - we demand 10% and no strings attached



Workers at 13 colleges to strike over pay



RMT announces new strike dates in East Midlands Railway guards dispute



Stop press: Sparks walk out

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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021