Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1147/33022
The Socialist 15 September 2021 |
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Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action
In April this year, Scott Hunter, a member of the Socialist Party and a striker at Goodlord, in east London, wrote to his local Labour MP, Emily Thornberry, asking for support for the workers fighting against 'fire and rehire'. Scott finally received a response on 2 September, six months after the original email asking for support, and several months after the dispute had ended. The email still does not give the support asked for. Below we print Scott's response to Emily Thornberry's reply.
Goodlord picket including Scott Hunter (centre right), photo James Ivens (Click to enlarge)
Dear Emily Thornberry,
I find this to be a condescending and insufficient response. I wrote to you nearly five months ago, when my colleagues and I were fighting to keep our jobs and stay in our homes. Not only have you responded to me so late as to have completely missed the chance to support us in our struggle, your response does not even contain an offer of support!
You have instead seen fit to talk down to me and spend half your email explaining the definition of fire and rehire and the second half talking about how you've supported a bunch of failed bills. It looks to me like you've done very little at all!
Is this all the Labour Party can offer to working people? I know it may seem remote to you with your MP's salary, but we working people are fighting for our lives out here. Our strike went on for 12 weeks and you did nothing, nor did any of the Labour MPs in any of my colleagues' constituencies, nor the Labour MP of the constituency where our employer is based, nor our Labour mayor of London, nor did one damn councillor lift a finger to help us.
The only elected politician from the Labour Party to actually show up and support us was Jeremy Corbyn, and he was (and still is) suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party! We live in constituencies with Labour MPs, in wards with Labour-majority councils and in a city with a Labour mayor, but it seems that all the Labour Party can do is pass on cuts from Westminster.
I've voted Labour all my adult life, but, tell me, why should I ever vote Labour again now when the party is apparently unwilling or unable to support the struggles of working people?
The people who did show up to support us were the trade unions, the local community, the renters' unions and housing associations, and the local Socialist Party. It is clear to me now, through your conduct and the conduct of your colleagues, that the Labour Party is beyond hope. It is vital that we build a new mass workers' party that will fight for the interests of working people rather than collaborating with the Tories in Westminster.