Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

PCS conference votes to back freedom of movement

Submitted by Gemma_S on 30 May, 2017 - 10:33

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.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 26 April, 2017 - 12:36 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.

Letter: Courts not answer to undemocratic unions

Submitted by Matthew on 26 April, 2017 - 12:18 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.

McCluskey only just re-elected

Submitted by Matthew on 26 April, 2017 - 12:14 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.

Dodgy general secretary election?

Submitted by Matthew on 12 April, 2017 - 11:58

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.

Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Submitted by Matthew on 29 March, 2017 - 12:42 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.

Shrewsbury 24: how we started a campaign to defend pickets

Submitted by Matthew on 1 February, 2017 - 12:30 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.

Unite: danger of ring-wing swing under Coyne

Submitted by Matthew on 1 February, 2017 - 11:30 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.