Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

Steps forward at RMT AGM

Daniel Randall was a delegate to the recent AGM of the RMT rail union. He reports here in a personal capacity. The annual general meeting of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) took place in Leeds from 24-29 October. The AGM had held-over business from the truncated 2020 AGM, which took place online, as well the 2021 business. It took place against the backdrop of threats including big job cuts in Network Rail, a pay freeze across the rail industry, and cuts on Transport for London. Recent officer elections in the union have seen the Broad Left alliance between...

Surprise vote in NEU

The Deputy General Secretary (DGS) election in the National Education Union (NEU) has been won by "moderate" candidate Niamh Sweeney. It had been expected that Gawain Little of the “NEU Left” would win. Workers’ Liberty supported Martin Powell-Davies, the candidate of the rank-and-file Education Solidarity Network, and we advocated a transfer to Sweeney to stop Little. Little is a prominent member of Communist Party of Britain, with all that entails. In the first round Little got 9,953, Powell-Davies 6,724, and Sweeney 11,035. Sweeney got around 60% of Powell-Davies’s second preferences...

The World Transformed: scratching the surface

A lot of radical things were said at this year’s The World Transformed festival. As one participant said, many speeches only scratched the surface. Clear political conclusions or concrete demands weren’t always drawn out. For example, at a panel on “Kill The Bill,” speakers said that we cannot support police reform and that we must instead “abolish the police” – all the while talking about the negative implications of the police bill. Occasional jibes were made at “white people talking about Trotsky or whatever, telling us how to do a revolution.” Nevertheless, TWT was an informal, accessible...

Vote Martin Powell-Davies in NEU!

Voting in the election for the first ever elected Deputy General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) opens on 4 October, with ballot papers being sent to members’ homes. Voting closes on 29 October. Socialists, rank and file activists, and members should vote for Martin Powell-Davies, the Education Solidarity Network (ESN) candidate. Martin is standing on a 10-point manifesto: 1. Action to protect the health, safety and welfare of staff and our communities from Covid-19 2. End excessive workload, and end the high stakes testing that drives so much of it. 3. A Union that builds...

After Sharon Graham's election, some immediate ideas to change Unite

Scrap all Regional Secretary posts. Overhaul the Legal Department. End meddling in lay-member democracy by full-timers. Reformat meetings of constitutional committees. Campaign for union policy on scrapping anti-union laws. Review support for the Morning Star. These are the proposals which a motion passed by my Unite branch earlier this month called on the higher levels of the union’s constitutional committees to give consideration to. The motion was passed in the context of, and on the basis of, Sharon Graham’s election as Unite General Secretary. Graham stood on a platform of change, a focus...

Unite: transforming our union

The Unite General Secretary election gave us a chance to talk about what our union, and wider movement, should look like.

Little choice in CWU election

Nominations in the posts and telecoms union CWU closed recently, providing further evidence of the sharp decline in the activist base within the organisation. Four National Officer posts saw candidates returned unopposed. That includes three that were vacant following the retirement of the previous incumbents. All the new occupants are drawn from the HQ bureaucracy. This is a sad state of affairs given that five-year elections were agreed by a conference, giving rank and file activists the opportunity to challenge incumbents who had previously been elected for life. Such challenges were a...

Back Martin Powell-Davies in NEU

Nominations close on 13 September for the newly created Deputy General Secretary role in the National Education Union (NEU). All three candidates already have at least 15 Districts, the number they need to ensure they are on the ballot paper. Martin Powell-Davies is the Education Solidarity Network (ESN) candidate. The ESN is a rank and file organisation fighting for a more democratic, militant and industrial union. Workers’ Liberty is centrally involved with the ESN. Gawain Little is the candidate of the mis-named “NEU Left”, the group that currently control the union. Gawain is also a long...

Strong left minority at PCS Conference

The National Conference of the civil service workers' union PCS took place virtually on Sunday-Monday 13-14 June. Branches were allowed to submit motions and requests to speak in advance of the conference, with votes taken during the conference based on the strength of branch memberships. There was no ability to submit emergency motions or for branches to appeal to conferences to challenge standing orders. PCS Independent Left comrades on the NEC made proposals for this to happen, but this was voted down by the leadership majority. The conference was split into four sections: Covid-19 and...

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