Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/628/9785

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2010

Unite conference - union at the crossroads

The recent conference of Unite in Manchester had the opportunity to establish the framework for a fight against the coalition government. Delegates felt that such a struggle was necessary, as shown by the rousing response to London bus convenor, Steve O'Rourke, who called for a united campaign across the public sector to fight the cuts. However, most resolutions carried did not show a clear way forward on action, partly because they were drafted before the general election.

Kevin Parslow

The executive was overturned on two or three occasions. Its statement on pensions was defeated as not being strong enough to defend state or occupational pensions. Visteon pensioners had submitted one of the original motions calling for industrial action. They organised a lobby of conference, addressed by joint general secretary Tony Woodley and assistant general secretary Len McCluskey, to get the union to force their former employer Ford to pay 100% of their pensions. Conference also called on the union to ask Unite-sponsored MPs to put John McDonnell on the Labour leadership ballot paper.

As mentioned in last week's Socialist, a composite congratulating Youth Fight for Jobs and supporting its work was carried. Later on in the week, a resolution calling for affiliation to the National Shop Stewards Network was remitted; no doubt NSSN officers will contact Unite for further discussions on cooperation.

At the end of the conference, blacklisted electrician Steve Acheson was allowed to speak, having lobbied with other blacklisted workers outside the conference all week.*

Inside and outside conference, Unite members stood foursquare behind the BA cabin crew. Most were prepared to go further than the general secretaries in their support for cabin crew union branch Bassa, and a packed fringe meeting on the dispute reflected that determination to resist the union-busting employer.

The conference had something of an 'end of an era' feel to it: both joint general secretary Derek Simpson (retiring in December) and Jack Dromey (now a Labour MP) bade their farewells. Woodley will also be gone within 18 months. For many on the left there is a feeling that we need to wipe the slate clean and elect a new leadership.

So it was no surprise that, outside the conference, there was some lively campaigning for the general secretary election this year. There are now five declared candidates and the candidate of the United Left, Len McCluskey, organised a lunchtime meeting of 400 to promote his campaign. If McCluskey and a strong left executive (reduced to just over 60 members following a special rules conference) were elected, it could take the union forward. But the right, particularly around former Amicus official Les Bayliss, will put up a strong challenge. It will need a lively campaign around fighting policies to achieve a strong socialist leadership in the union.

Unite stands at a crossroads. A move to the right in the union would be demoralising for those looking to build opposition to the cuts and redundancies facing the working class. Socialists and militants will have to show a way forward in the branches and committees of the union to rejuvenate the union and face the challenges of the next few years.

  • Steve is campaigning for his reinstatement after being sacked from Fiddlers Ferry power station in Warrington, Cheshire, because he is on a blacklist operated for the big construction companies against trade union activists.
  • Support Steve and demand his reinstatement. Write to the employers: General Manager, Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, Fiddlers Ferry Road, Warrington, WA5 2UT. Please send copies to and for more information, ring 07949 335 390, write: 13 Thompson Close, Manchester, M34 2PQ.

    YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al8GrJj1C78

    facebook: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=185467827827

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


    In The Socialist 9 June 2010:

    Reject these brutal cuts


    National Shop Stewards Network

    Come to the NSSN conference unite the fightback!


    Socialist Party Marxist analysis

    Why public sector cuts are not inevitable


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Marches show opposition to Israeli state terror

    Determined BA cabin crew ready to reballot

    EDL thugs sent packing from Cardiff

    EDL protest stopped in Swansea

    Fast news


    Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

    CWU ballots BT workers for strike over pay

    Unite conference - union at the crossroads

    Wales TUC - rank and file delegates support socialist fightback


    Socialist Party youth and students

    Future of cuts a nightmare for youth

    College campaign success

    Socialist Students national meeting: Preparing for a student fightback

    Youth Fight for Jobs open steering committee

    Lobby Iain Duncan Smith at his surgery

    Socialist Party youth meeting: ready to build a fightback


    Socialist Party feature

    Soccer World Cup 2010: South Africa, the ugly backdrop to the beautiful game


    Environment and socialism

    Oil spill shows hazards of the profit system

    Bhopal - little justice 25 years on


    News and comment

    Will the Lib Dems survive coalition?

    Bradford murders and prostitution


     

    Home   |   The Socialist 9 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  




    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

    Fiddlers Ferry:

    triangleWorkplace news in brief

    triangleBlacklisted electrician stands his ground on right to protest

    triangleSmash the bosses' construction blacklist!

    triangleWorkplace news in brief

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns

    20/2/18

    Manchester

    After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

    19/2/18

    Walthamstow

    Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

    16/2/18

    Haringey

    No fudge with the right wing

    15/2/18

    TUSC

    TUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

    14/2/18

    Haringey

    Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

    14/2/18

    UCU

    Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

    14/2/18

    Cardiff

    Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig

    14/2/18

    Carlisle

    Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

    14/2/18

    Firefighters

    Staines fire services saved

    14/2/18

    Surrey

    Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

    14/2/18

    Woolwich

    Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

    14/2/18

    London

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

    14/2/18

    Mansfield

    Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

    8/2/18

    Newham

    Teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

    7/2/18

    Unison

    Unison national women's conference

    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