spotArguments for socialism




spotAround the UK

All keywords

All Organisations subcategories:



Committee for a Workers International


Labour Party

Left and radical


Nationalist and National Liberation

Pro capitalist and Imperialist


Social Networks

Socialist Party


* Trade Union


Voluntary & non-profit

Trade Union keywords:

BFAWU (124)

BMA (49)

Bectu (21)

CPSA (7)

CWU (374)

EIS (5)

Equity (18)

IWGB (25)

IWW (2)

NEU (73)

NSSN (407)

NSSN (407)

NUM (2)

Napo (29)

National Education Union (95)

National Shop Stewards Network (454)

New Education Union (1)

Nipsa (9)

PCS (982)

Society of Radiographers (1)

TUC (439)


Telecoms (18)

Union (1907)

WSSN (1)

Wales Shop Stewards Network (1)

Wales TUC (7)

Zhanartu (1)


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1075, 26 February 2020: Austerity kills

Search site for keywords: London - Trade union - Union - Workers - NSSN

Packed meeting of workplace militants, strikers, socialists and trade union leaders

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party
The meeting sent solidarity to the CWU postal workers' dispute

The meeting sent solidarity to the CWU postal workers' dispute   (Click to enlarge)

A packed London meeting of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) on 18 February brought together 80 workplace militants, strikers, socialists and leading left-wing trade unionists to discuss some of the most pressing questions facing the working class since Boris Johnson's victory.

Entitled "Fight the anti-union laws - support the strikes", speakers and participants who discussed strategies to fight the Tories included assistant general secretaries of the transport union RMT and general union Unite, Steve Hedley and Howard Beckett, and deputy general secretary of the postal workers' union CWU, Terry Pullinger.

The meeting pledged solidarity with the postal workers embarking on a reballot.

The meeting brought these speakers together with some of the key battles taking place in London at the current time. Kathy Smith, Unite branch secretary, fresh from the victory at Bromley libraries was joined by Unite regional official Onay Kasab reporting on the battle of parking wardens in Hackney, a victory on Woolwich ferries and the fight against outsourcing.

PCS union member Lydia Ndoinjeh spoke about the battle to save Ealing tax office, while PCS official Helen Flannagan spoke on behalf of the bold cleaners, security and maintenance workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, fighting for union recognition from private employer Interserve.

Fiona Taylor, University and College Union (UCU) member at Goldsmiths University, reported on the national strike action UCU members were about to embark on again, while Lewis Baker reported on the fight for 15 an hour by McDonald's workers, members of the bakers' union BFAWU.

Reminding the meeting that the RMT formed the NSSN, Steve Hedley called for "maximum unity among rail unions", and said the fight would require "reaching out to groups like this, and other trade unions, and the whole trade union movement". He pointed to the possibility of unofficial action.

Terry Pullinger explained "we need to inspire a new generation of trade unionists and we'll only do that if they see trade unions taking action. Being prepared to get into the workplace and organise."

Declaring that anti-trade union laws are "in danger of wiping out the trade union movement and neutralising us to staff associations" he referred to the outrageous court action against the CWU and said "if that ain't enough for the TUC to get up off its knees, I don't know what is."

Speakers (left to right) Fiona Taylor, Lydia Ndoinjeh, Kathy Smith, Steve Hedley, Rob Williams, Howard Beckett and Onay Kasab

Speakers (left to right) Fiona Taylor, Lydia Ndoinjeh, Kathy Smith, Steve Hedley, Rob Williams, Howard Beckett and Onay Kasab   (Click to enlarge)

Howard Beckett said that despite the Tories winning the election, "don't let anyone say we should step back from politics, we should step forward". He lambasted Labour councils that use anti-trade union laws against their own workers, and Labour councils that go to war against their care workers.

Onay Kasab said that the test in the Labour leadership election is where do you stand on council cuts - do you agree with the 'dented shield' idea that it's better for cuts to be made by a Labour council than the Tories, or do you call for needs-based, legal, balanced, no-cuts budgets.

From the floor, Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe stressed the importance of the political fight, and raised the need for socialists in London's City Hall. Who will fight for socialist policies in London, if Sadiq Khan is left unchallenged by socialists and trade unionists?

The meeting also heard about the youth climate strikes and students supporting UCU strikers.

Chairing the meeting, Socialist Party member and NSSN national chair Rob Williams declared that this is "not a strong Tory government, it is far from certain that it will last five years, but that's conditional on this trade union movement fighting."

He said: "The worst thing we can do is play the waiting game and hope that Boris Johnson forgets he talked about anti-union legislation" He called on the Trade Union Congress - and if not them, the unions that are willing - to use their authority to organise a national tour of rallies in every town and city, to prepare the ground for a national Saturday demonstration.

And "link the strikes, to win those disputes and to build the fight necessary to defeat the Tories and defend the right to strike."

The issues raised above are among the many reasons why it is important to fight for socialists to be in London's City Hall. See a socialist manifesto for London and donate to the campaign for socialist policies in London's May elections, at:

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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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: 


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: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021