Anti-union laws

McCluskey moves ahead, but not left

Author: 

Dale Street

In the election campaigning for the post of Unite the Union’s General Secretary, the McCluskey election machine continues to deliver the goods.

With a while still to go before nominations close on 17 February, over 300 branches have nominated Len McCluskey, who has been general secretary since 2011 but has stood down early so he could run for a third term. A statement supporting McCluskey has been signed by 60 out of 64 Executive Council members and a similarly overwhelming majority on other top levels of the union.

The slick campaign being run for Len McCluskey conceals a number of problems, including the gap which separates McCluskey’s election rhetoric from reality, and the gap between McCluskey’s policies and the policies which Unite should be championing.

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Shrewsbury 24: how we started a campaign to defend pickets

Author: 

Keith Road

Our political group has recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. We have been reflecting on some of the movements and disputes that we have played an active role in. One of these was Shrewsbury 24 campaign over the victimisation of building workers in 1972.

1972 saw a major wave of industrial action in Britain. There were more work days lost to strike action in that year than in any other since the 1926 General Strike. States of Emergency were declared during both a miners’ and a dockers’ strike.

1972 saw a major wave of industrial action in Britain. There were more work days lost to strike action in that year than in any other since the 1926 General Strike. States of Emergency were declared during both a miners’ and a dockers’ strike.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore,Simon Nelson and Peggy Carter

Workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton struck on Friday 7 October, and will strike again on Saturday 15 October. The Ritzy cinema was completely shut down by the strike, and films due to be shown as part of the London Film Festival moved to other venues.

Picturehouse cinema strikes spread; Southern workers strike again; #Unisongate hearings to start; Hackney traffic wardens fight for unsocial pay; Sheffield bin workers strike.

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Still mobilised against “Labour Law”

Author: 

Marianne Davin

Hello! I have recently moved to Paris, and every month I will be writing a “Letter from Paris” to keep Solidarity readers up to date about France and its far left. Hopefully this will be an interesting year in which the far left can have serious conversations about our political ideas in light of the passing of the Labour Law with essentially no vote, the upcoming presidential election, and the continuing “state of emergency”.

In February, a large scale mobilisation against the proposed Loi Travail (Labour Law) began in France where students and workers mobilised in the streets, workplaces, and universities.

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“We are the strength behind Corbyn’s leadership”

Momentum activist and teacher trade unionist Laura Rogers spoke at the Jeremy Corbyn rally at Heartlands, Cornwall.

Momentum activist and teacher trade unionist Laura Rogers spoke at the Jeremy Corbyn rally at Heartlands, Cornwall.


As a teacher I know something about bullying and what Jeremy Corbyn has endured would not be tolerated in any classroom. Thank you Jeremy for not being cowed because the other thing we know about bullies is that they act from a place of fear. And they are right to be afraid.

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Give workers freedom to organise!

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

Corbyn′s campaign has published ten pledges. In this and future issues of Solidarity, we will be critically examining these pledges. Here, Charlotte Zalens looks at the ″security at work″ pledge.


The “security at work” pledge goes further towards outlining a positive charter of workers′ rights, stating: ″We will give people stronger employment rights from day one in a job, end exploitative zero hours contracts and create new sectoral collective bargaining rights, including mandatory collective bargaining for companies with 250 or more employees.

Strengthening representation at work must mean a right to strike. And the right to have workplace ballots, to have political strikes, to effectively picket to stop the bosses moving production elsewhere or using scab workers to break strikes.

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French left attempt censure of government

Author: 

Olivier Delbeke

At 3.45 p.m. on Wednesday 6 July, deputies on the left wing of the National Assembly (socialists, communists, ecologists not part of the government and non-party deputies) decided to issue a motion of censure of the government.

The motion opposed the forced adoption of the labour law by means of article 49-3 [which allows the French President to turn a vote on any law into a vote of confidence in the government]; however they were only able to collect 56 out of the required 58 signatures.

Deputies on the left wing of the French National Assembly have issued a motion of censure of the government, opposing the forced adoption of the labour law by the President.

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Four months of struggle against the labour law

Author: 

Olivier Delbeke

On Thursday 23 June, for the first time since the Gaullist state ban on the 8 February 1962 demonstration against the war in Algeria, which ended in the massacre of eight CGT activists in the Charonne Metro station, French trade unions saw their demonstration banned by the authorities.

In the face of the firm refusal by the unions (CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires, UNEF, UNL, FIDL) to back down, the government relented, much to the disgust of the right-wing Figaro newspaper, which ran the headline “The government obeys the CGT”.

The real achievement of the anti-labour law movement in France in the last four months is that in spite of the drip-drip tactic of the union leaderships, chosen so as to avoid calling a general strike, wave after wave of strikes or demonstrations continue to give voice to a movement of resistance, which can still bring hundreds of thousands or even millions into the streets.

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Democracy, direct action, and socialism


There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.
Is direct action undemocratic? What methods should the labour movement use to defeat the bosses? Should we stick within the law? This new pamphlet discusses these issues and more.

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French strikers defy bosses

Lutte Ouvrière (editorial 12 June)

The government, the bosses and the media ... have used the victims of the floods as part of their grotesque moral blackmail [in a fight over France’s new labour laws]. They used Euro 2016 to demand that the strikes stop. And, in spite of everything, the SNCF [French rail] strike is carrying on, the refuse workers are sticking to their guns, and Air France pilots have carried out their threat to strike. They are right to do so.

The national demonstration organised in Paris on 14 June, and the many initiatives which are being taken locally, are an opportunity for French workers to show the massive rejection of the anti-labour law.

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