TGWU

Transport and General Workers Union

Woodley appeals to shop stewards

By Jim Denham

Tony Woodley is one of four candidates standing to replace Bill Morris as General Secretary of the TGWU.

Although the political differences between the candidates are not immediately obvious from their election material, their records within the union point to important differences. Tony Woodley is backed by the union's Broad Left and has a record of rank and file activism and opposition to 'business unionism'. His slogan is "If we fight we may not always win, but if we don't fight we will surely lose".

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Union recruits through the Web

Sussex District of the T&GWU is establishing a new branch for lorry drivers, using the Web as a prime recruitment tool.
Many drivers now use laptop computers to keep in touch from the cab whilst away from home, both in the UK and abroad. The website also carries Russian-language material. Firms from Eastern Europe, paying very low wages, threaten to undercut UK-based firms in international haulage, and the branch is working to recruit drivers whose first language is not English.

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Norwich busworkers strike

By Patrick Yarker
No sign of a strike for months, then three come along at once. After recent action by NATFHE and FBU members in the city, TGWU members have embarked on a week-long strike to fight the latest attack on their working-conditions by transport company First Eastern Counties.

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Rally for Friction Dynamics

A thousand strong rally in support of Friction Dynamics workers was held on 8 June in Caernarfon. 87 workers at the motor parts factory have been locked out for over a year.

The dispute started when US boss Craig Smith tried to cut time-off and enforce a pay cut of 15 per cent. The lock-out came about when Smith enforced the 1999 Employment Act which allows employers to dismiss workers after an eight week dispute in which the employer has "followed an appropriate procedure to resolve the dispute."

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Lessons from the Liverpool dockers' dispute

"The dockers did not climb down, they were let down, and forced to end their remarkable two-year struggle... because the Transport afnd General Workers' Union virtually guaranteed its failure. Had this rich and powerful organisation launched a national campaign... the battle could have been won there and then". This comment, in a letter to the Guardian by the left-wing journalist John Pilger, led TGWU general secretary Bill Morris to claim that Pilger had a "vendetta" against the union. "John Pilger and others like him, with their message of false hope... who did more than anyone to prolong the agony... The union has... spent over £1 million on relieving the hardship amongst the sacked dockers' families... That the dockers' solidarity and resilience did not succeed in securing their just demand for reinstatement is down to the most repressive anti-union laws in the western world, not the T&G... The view that victory could have been achieved if only the T&G had been prepared to ignore the law and put the entire union at risk is a fantasy".

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"We are the muscles and brains that make it work"

The Liverpool dockers’ dispute is now 26 months old. In October the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company made a pay-off offer, to be voted on by secret ballot. The dockers rejected the deal by over two to one. The vast majority want their jobs back, and are prepared to stick it out until they win.

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