spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All People subcategories:

BAME

International figures

Labour Party figures

Lefts

Miscellaneous

Nationalists

Other UK politicans

Socialist Party and CWI public figures

Tory figures

Trade union figures

Transport

* Writers and artists


Writers and artists keywords:

Bob Marley (1)

Boris Pilnyak (2)

Charles Dickens (4)

Fela Kuti (1)

George Orwell (6)

Gore Vidal (2)

Gore Vidal (2)

Isaac Babel (2)

Jack Shepherd (1)

Ken Loach (24)

Mark Steel (5)

Marlon Brando (1)

Michael Moore (10)

Paul Robeson (2)

Piketty (2)

Richard Dawkins (3)

Robert Tressell (9)

Rory Bremner (3)

Russell Brand (14)

Upton Sinclair (4)

Woody Guthrie (1)

Zola (2)

Ken Loach


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: Article posted to home page Home, 20 May 2008: Socialist Party news and analysis

Search site for keywords: Belfast - Airport - Unite - Protest - Ricky Tomlinson - Ken Loach - Shop Stewards

Belfast airport workers: Union leaders' broken promises

Three sacked Belfast Airport shop stewards, members of Unite (T&G), have resumed their protest to achieve payment of legal costs and hardship money from their union.

Kevin Parslow

Their request to the union followed their victory in a landmark Employment Tribunal judgement in Belfast last year, which was won on the grounds that they had suffered discrimination on trade union and political grounds.

Gordon McNeill has been on hunger strike since 15 May and Chris Bowyer since 19 May, on the roof of the T&G's offices at Transport House, Belfast. They are fully supported by the third steward, Madan Gupta.

The workers had approached the union to share in their victory, despite a previous official of the union having collaborated with management at their former employer, ICTS, to end their pay strike in 2002 and sack the workers, a fact recognised by the tribunal.

The union leadership has promised four times that they will pay the workers' legal fees, including their legal fees for any appeal by ICTS (due on 24 June), and to enter negotiations on hardship money. However, the union has only paid 106,000 out of the 206,000 legal costs incurred so far.

The non-payment of the outstanding bill has meant that 40,000 of the workers' own money, raised by them through loans and re-mortgaging, is not presently being repaid to them by the solicitors. It also means that, without the payment of the outstanding money, the workers' legal team have threatened to withdraw from the case and ICTS could thus win their appeal by default.

If the outstanding money is paid by the union, that would unblock the logjam and stop the hunger strikes. The solution to this dispute lies with the Unite leadership, with joint leader Tony Woodley in particular.

The workers have received tremendous support from the Belfast public. They have also received messages of support from playwright Jimmy McGovern, actor Ricky Tomlinson and film director Ken Loach.

Gordon McNeill was taken off the roof of Transport House on 19 May by the fire brigade and taken to hospital, but has since resumed his hunger strike. If the worst comes to the worst, Unite's reputation as a 'fightback union' will be severely set back and may not recover for some time.

Socialist Party members and other activists are moving resolutions at union conferences and meetings urging the union to honour its promises. There was also a lobby of the first executive council meeting of Unite on 21 May, at which an open letter was presented to the Unite leadership.

See www.socialistworld.net for more information

"Remember the way the TGWU betrayed the Liverpool dockers? I bet you thought no union could ever sink so low again. I did too. We were so wrong. The way in which Unite has treated the Belfast Airport workers is a disgrace. Unite's leaders should hang their heads in shame." Jimmy McGovern

"I have been on hunger strike myself and can fully sympathise with these workers".

Ricky Tomlinson

"What will it take for the Unite leadership to deal fairly with Gordon NcNeill and the Belfast Airport workers? It is a fundamental principle of trade unionism to support workers in struggle. This situation should never have been allowed to develop. Tony Woodley, the general secretary, should intervene now to resolve the situation in favour of Gordon and his comrades."

Ken Loach

"Tony Woodley and Irish regional secretary, Jimmy Kelly, say they won't talk if we are on protest. But after they promised to pay our bills last September we didn't protest. And they would not talk to us or make any move to fulfil their promises. They won't talk if we protest and they won't talk if we don't. It's a case of heads they win and tails we lose.

"All they have to do is pay the legal fees as they had agreed so that the 40,000 we have paid to our solicitor will be given back to us and the protest will be suspended. We would see this as a gesture of good faith and would negotiate on the other issue".

Gordon McNeill

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

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

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: 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: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999