New Unionism 2014: a conference for activists, 29 March, London

Submitted by AWL on 22 January, 2014 - 11:50

On 29 March, Workers' Liberty, the IWGB University of London branch, Lambeth Activists, PCS Independent Left, Ruskin College UCU, and others will host a conference on how the activist left can contribute to rebuilding and transforming the labour movement.

  • Click here for a printable/copyable leaflet
  • Click here for the Facebook event
  • Click here for the conference's dedicated blog
  • 11.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 29 March
    University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY

    Tickets bought in advance will be £10 waged, £7 low-waged/students, £5 unwaged/school or college students - including lunch.

    On the day prices will be £12, £8, £5.

    Buy online now:

    Tickets for "New Unionism 2014", including lunch

    How can we defend ourselves against the bosses' attacks, rebuild working-class power and transform the labour movement, including trade unions, into a force which can change society?

    Trade unions in Britain still have almost seven million members. When they move, they can shake society, but this doesn't happen very much. For the most part, unions have little base among the millions of casualised (often young, often migrant) workers in growing industries like fast food, retail and hospitality; millions of union members are not really organised; and defeats like Grangemouth and Royal Mail show even organised workers struggling to assert their power. The interests of the unemployed, benefit claimants, service users and pensioners are sidelined. Unions have tolerated the continuation of Blairism's neo-liberal policies by the Miliband Labour Party.

    Yet there are also many inspiring workers' struggles springing up, often where you would not expect them.

    This conference will discuss and seek to learn from the experience of organising the unorganised, in Britain and other countries, in history and today. It will hear from working-class activists on the frontline of today's class battles, and of struggles to reshape trade unions.

    This conference will discuss and seek to learn from the experience of organising the unorganised, in Britain and other countries, in history and today. It will hear from working-class activists on the frontline of today's class battles, and of struggles to reshape trade unions.

    Agenda

    Registration from 11am

    12 Opening plenary, with speakers including Janine Booth (London Underground RMT activist and Workers' Liberty) and Robinson (IWGB activist at University of London)

    12.40 Workshops
    i) 3 Cosas: the story of how outsourced workers at University of London got organised, with Marta Luna, Rubiela Hoyos and Cecilia Tapia-Lopez (IWGB University of London branch)
    ii) How New Zealand fast food took on McDonalds and won, with Mike Treen (national direct of the Unite union in New Zealand, via Skype)
    iii) How bosses use “performance management” as a weapon of class war, with activists from PCS Independent Left

    2 Lunch

    2.50 Workshops
    i) Micro-unions, pop up unions and more: what role in transforming the labour movement? Speakers include Adriano Mérola (University of Sussex activist involved in the Pop-Up Union) and Daniel Randall (RMT activist and AWL industrial organiser)
    ii) Many “New Unionisms”: 200 years of labour movement history in Britain, with Edd Mustill (Independent Working-Class Education Network)
    iii) Women rail workers’ fight against sexism – in their industry and in their unions (Becky Crocker and Christine Willett, RMT activists just returned from an international women transport workers’ conference in India)
    iv) The fate of the “organising model” in the US and UK (Kim Moody, author of US Labor in Trouble and Transition)

    4.10 Break

    4.25 Workshops
    i) Independent working-class education past, present and future (Colin Waugh, author of Plebs: the lost legacy of working-class education)
    ii) Mary MacArthur and the 1911 chainmakers’ strike (Jill Mountford, Workers’ Liberty)
    iii) Organising against zero hours contracts, with John Leach, RMT London Transport Regional Organiser

    5.50 Closing Plenary, with Daniel Lemberger Cooper (Workers' Liberty and IWGB), a speaker from UID-DER, a rank-and-file network in the Turkish labour movement, via Skype

    More information: email daniel.cooper@ulu.lon.ac.uk or ring 07840 136 728