Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/611/8819

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2010

Trade union rights for service personnel

UK SERVICE personnel urgently need the right to join and organise in a trade union. In several other countries, including some whose soldiers are currently serving in Afghanistan, service personnel have trade union rights.

Danish soldiers have had a trade union for over 50 years and won collective bargaining rights in 1973.

Over 2,500 Spanish military personnel demonstrated in Madrid before Christmas under the slogan 'Dignidad y Derechos' - Dignity and Rights - for improvements to their career prospects, and gained support from other trade unions for their fight.

Dutch soldiers, including those serving alongside UK soldiers as part of the Nato deployment in Afghanistan, can join a trade union. AFMP, one of three unions for military personnel, is affiliated to the Dutch union confederation FNV, and defends service personnel's rights, welfare and conditions.

It takes up political questions, calling for example for the resignation of the military leadership who turned a blind eye to the massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica in Bosnia in 1995.

On the Afghan conflict, AFMP chairman Wim van den Burg says that troops are "citizens in uniform" who have "similar qualms" about the Afghan deployment as the rest of the population.

"The decision of course remains for the government and parliament.... but we've been in Afghanistan for four years with little progress. We're pushing for troop withdrawal. It's important the voice of the military is heard," says van den Burg.

In Ireland PDFORRA is the union for soldiers, sailors and aircrew and is affiliated to the Irish Conference of Public Service Associations. It increasingly aligns itself with the Irish working class' struggle to resist attempts to make them pay for the crisis.

Having seen service personnel used to break strikes such as those by ambulance staff and bus workers, in 2009 its general secretary Gerry Rooney demanded assurances that service personnel will never again be used in that way.

A trade union for UK service personnel which could take up issues around welfare (sub-standard accommodation in barracks, medical and psychiatric facilities etc.) and could also ask the right questions about military deployments, would be a huge step forward.

In 2008 an official survey on the ArmyNet website revealed that nearly three-quarters of serving soldiers would welcome a 'federation'; support today could well be higher.

The trade union movement has a responsibility to ensure that working-class youth in the forces, many conscripted by unemployment, do not have their lives ruined by what they experience on the frontline or by the system's negligence.

Socialists, as well as continuing to campaign against the war in Afghanistan and for the immediate withdrawal of the troops, should also support the right of these troops to organise in a union.

Paul Gerrard Manchester Socialist Party

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


In The Socialist 10 February 2010:

Fight university cuts


Unison general secretary election

Fighting leadership needed in Unison - Nominate Roger Bannister for general secretary

Greenwich Unison backs victimised branch secretary


Socialist Party news and analysis

Preying on the living and dead

Waltham Forest: Campaigners score a victory

Fiddling MPs: Jail the whole lot of them!

Vulnerable lose out on benefits

Socialist Women: Fighting for equality through socialism

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Civil service strike ballot: Vote 'yes' for action

Boycotting the 2010 SATS in schools

Coventry youth workers' strike

Metaldyne workers strike

Stoke: Axiom workers in overtime ban

Saving jobs and services in Worcestershire

Workplace news in brief


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Hazel Blears must go

TUSC: Wellingborough socialists make a stand


PCS young members

PCS young members network conference

Bristol job centre workers fight transfer


Socialist Party feature

Trade unions in Britain - are they ready for the coming battles?


International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: An agreement to cement division

Sri Lanka President Rajapakse removes his rival, Fonseka

Tamil Solidarity -: Successful northern conference


Unison witchhunt

Trotskyism on trial


War and occupation

Armed forces: Release Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton

Trade union rights for service personnel


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 February 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Trade union:

triangleGender pay gap figures show need for trade union action

triangleFCC Wilmington refuse workers' strike in hull stands firm

triangleVictimised recycling strikers uncowed as Hull strike wave builds

triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action

triangleWoolwich ferry workers win automation campaign

Troops:

triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

triangleSyria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha

triangleVietnam War: 50 years since the Tet Offensive

Unions:

triangleTaking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

triangleFor Whom the School Bell Tolls: Our kids or the Tories?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/4/18

Bromley

Bromley library workers win strike campaign

18/4/18

UCU

UCU members vote to end pensions dispute

18/4/18

Usdaw

Usdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

18/4/18

Leeds

Victorious Fearnville Fields campaigners thank the Socialist

18/4/18

Hull

Hull says no to war, no to austerity

18/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist - a fighting, campaigning, workers' paper

18/4/18

Socialist Party

Building fund: 150,000 milestone smashed!

18/4/18

Fighting Fund

Give us your change (and more) to fight for system change!

18/4/18

Scotland

Workers' victory over anti-union Scottish council

18/4/18

Newham

Avenue School strikers and parents win judicial review

18/4/18

PCS

Vote for a left, fighting PCS leadership

18/4/18

PCS

PCS rejects Acas offer - further strikes announced

18/4/18

Bromley

Bromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

18/4/18

Butterfields

Butterfields tenants join TUSC campaign

13/4/18

Cuts

Fighting the cuts to women's services

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: 0784 114 4890

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


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999