Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

Call for DWP-wide ballot

Author: 

A PCS member

On 7 July, the Department for Work and Pensions announced a list of 74 Jobcentre and 28 back of house office closures. The PCS DWP GEC has called an emergency meeting Friday 14 July.

Earlier this year, the DWP issued proposals to close Jobcentres and offices and said some sites would be considered for co-location with local authority offices. Although the PCS union Group Executive Committee issued a campaign plan and opposed the proposals, it was left to individual offices and branches to make submissions to the National Executive for industrial action.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street and Gemma Short

After one-week strikes in Glasgow and London, PCS members in the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Cardiff office are on strike 29 May — 2 June. 5-9 June, coinciding with the general election, PCS members will be on strike in the EHRC’s Manchester office.

EHRC strikers keep fighting; damning report on Unison election; Unison left wins in NEC elections; cinema workers strike again.

Trade Unions: 

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PCS conference votes to back freedom of movement

A report of PCS conference by a delegate.

PCS, the civil service union, held it′s national conference in Brighton 23-25 May.

Workers’ Liberty supporters, organised as part of the left-opposition faction, "Independent Left" within the union were delegates. Going into conference with victories in the NEC and Bargaining Group Executive elections.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

On Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 April, National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) members at Forest Hill school in Lewisham struck for the fifth time in their on-going dispute against a management proposed restructuring to deal with a £1.3 million deficit. The management’s proposal sheds 15 teaching jobs, significantly increases teachers’ workload, radically reduces the depth of the creative aspects of the curriculum, ends any specialist English as an Additional Language (EAL) support, and massively diminishes the support for students with Special Educational Needs.

Forest Hill teachers strike; cinema workers to strike on May Day; Tube round-up; NUT: close vote on Labour; DOO strikes continue; UCLU cleaners strike.

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Letter: Courts not answer to undemocratic unions

Author: 

Daniel Randall

Anyone who has had to confront the bureaucratic officialdom of any trade union will have some sympathy with the GMB activist who wrote in Solidarity of "unelected, barely elected and crookedly elected bureaucrats".

Their letter promotes the new "GMB Grassroots Left" network; prominently involved is Keith Henderson, a former GMB official who has twice taken his former union, and employer to court.

The bosses' courts are not any kind of instrument for reforming the labour movement.

Trade Unions: 

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McCluskey only just re-elected

Author: 

Ann Field

Gerard Coyne — the candidate of the right, backed not just by the right-wing media but also by the most right-wing elements of the Labour Party — came within 5,500 votes of being elected the new General Secretary of Unite the Union.

McCluskey got 59,000 votes (45.5%); Coyne 53,500 (41.5%); and rank-and-file candidate Ian Allinson 17,000 (13%). McCluskey was re-elected, but in every other respect the election result was a major setback for McCluskey and the trade union politics which he represents.

The dominant left culture within Unite has an excessive focus on elections. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win elections. The problem arises when political life degenerates into electioneering at the expense of rebuilding grassroots organisation at branch and workplace level.

Trade Unions: 

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Dodgy general secretary election?

On Friday 17 March, an Employment Appeal Tribunal judge overturned the decision of the Certification Officer to reject a complaint against the GMB bureaucracy, brought by GMB member Keith Henderson.

Keith had complained that a misinterpretation and misapplication of the rules had prevented him or any other rank-and-file member from standing in the 2015 GMB General Secretary election. Among other things he claimed by-law 13 had been misinterpreted and misapplied to prevent potential nominees from contacting branches to seek nomination.

The GMB Grassroots Left has been setup to challenge the GMB unelected or barely elected leadership on behalf of GMB members.

Trade Unions: 

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Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Author: 

Ann Field

Ballot papers for Unite the Union’s General Secretary and national Executive Council elections have been sent out to the union’s 1.4 million members. Voting runs to 19 April, and the result will be out on 28 April.

West Midlands Unite full-timer Gerard Coyne is the right-wing challenger to Len McCluskey, the incumbent General Secretary seeking re-election for a third time. Ian Allinson is also standing as the candidate of rank-and-file democracy.

Unite members should vote for Len McCluskey in the General Secretary election. But that is no more than the first stage of the campaign needed.

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Trade Unions: 

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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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Unite: danger of ring-wing swing under Coyne

Author: 

Dale Street

By the end of January Len McCluskey had secured 180 nominations in his bid to remain Unite General Secretary. Ian Allinson, standing on a platform of rank-and-file democracy, had 19 nominations. Gerard Coyne, the candidate of the right, has not publicised how many nominations he has picked up.

Despite being a highly-paid member of the Unite bureaucracy, Gerard Coyne is masquerading as an "anti-establishment" candidate in the union's General Secreatary election.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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