Newham workers angry at councillors

AROUND 100 people met to support Michael Gavan, victimised chair of Newham Unison, at a meeting in Stratford on 11 February.

Michael Gavan highlighted the hypocrisy of councillors on £35,000 a year expenses with town hall managers on over £100,000 while they cut services, jobs and pay. Newham’s New Labour council is run like a one-party state and wants a compliant union, something it has not got.

The meeting came to life after two bin workers told of their own victimisation and hardship. Their frustration spilled over as union officials were berated for a lack of action. Two one-day strikes have taken place in defence of Michael Gavan but there is a need to build on the bitter anger of the wider workforce.

Guest speakers Tony Benn and John McDonnell spoke of the need for unity in struggle and explained how unions originally set up the Labour Party to provide workers with a political voice.

But New Labour long ago turned its back on working-class people and that task has to be repeated. The trade unions should provide the backbone for a new political voice in the form of a new workers’ party.

Manny Thain