Socialist Organiser

Our debate with Jeremy Corbyn on Nicaragua, 1983

Published on: Mon, 04/03/2019 - 18:13

Jeremy Corbyn, Sean Matgamna

Our criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's politics is not of yesterday. From 1978, and through the early 1980s, Jeremy Corbyn wrote frequently for Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity. The picture above shows him on the platform (to the right) at a conference organised by Socialist Organiser in September 1983, the same month as the political exchange of opinions reprinted below.

The exchange was on Nicaragua, where in 1979 the old US-backed dictatorship had been overthrown by the left-wing, Cuba-oriented Sandinista movement. Many on the left besides Jeremy Corbyn were uncritical enthusiastic

OILC: the new union picks up momentum

Published on: Fri, 08/11/1991 - 17:37

Recruitment to the new offshore workers' union is going very well and steadily.

Regular weekly meetings will be started in Dundee in addition to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Newcastle, and offshore workers in Liverpool have asked for meetings to be set up.

The priority for the next six months or so will be setting up recruitment meetings, and getting solidarity motions through other unions' meetings, pressing for TUC recognition.

Support from Trades Council and other unions has generally been very favourable - many activists are puzzled that an independent, offshore union was not set up 15 years ago.

Offshore workers form new union

Published on: Fri, 18/10/1991 - 18:42

Tom Rigby

"We've only been recruiting since last Friday and so far the response has been very positive indeed. The people offshore know us, I'm very optimistic."

That's how Ronnie MacDonald, Chair of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) summed up the tasks facing the committee just four days after they had made the momentous decision to form themselves into a new union for offshore workers.

"The decision was not taken lightly", explained MacDonald. For a long time now the OILC has been pushing for a unified bargaining approach from the North Sea unions. However, after praising OILC activists

Support the 'splitters'!

Published on: Fri, 18/10/1991 - 17:49


The decision of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) to form itself into a new union has brought forth predictable cries of condemnation from predictable sources.

Frank Doran, the Labour Party's 'spokesman on Oil and Gas', called the decision "damaging to the cause of workers offshore"; Jimmy Airlie of the AEU called it "foolish and tragic"; while Alex Ferry, General Secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) called upon offshore workers to put their faith in the "existing unions".

All of which is a bit rich, given that OILC has been attempting to

OILC poll results

Published on: Fri, 18/10/1991 - 12:34

Percentage of employees who believe that the workers would be more effectively represented by a single industrial union:
TU Members: 85%
Non Unionists: 81%
Total: 83%

Percentage of employees who would consider joining an industrial trade union which represented all offshore workers regardless of occupation:
TU Members: 82%
Non Unionists: 62%
Total: 71%

Percentage of employees who are trade unionists who feel their trade union adequately represents its members offshore:

Percentage of employees who feel the OILC have successfully represented the feelings of offshore workers during the last 3

"The future is ours"

Published on: Fri, 18/10/1991 - 11:29

OILC Standing Committee

The Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC), which organised the unofficial strikes and rig occupations in the North Sea in 1989 and '90, has decided to form itself into a trade union for offshore workers. Here, the OILC Standing Committee explain their actions.


Anyone expecting euphoria at the formal announcement of the formation of an Offshore Workers' Union at the Queens Hotel in Brighton in 3 October was to be sadly disappointed.

The OILC had earlier been unofficially briefed on the outcome of a meeting held that morning, chaired by Alex Ferry of the Confederation of Shipbuilding

"To do nothing is just not an option"

Published on: Fri, 18/10/1991 - 08:25

Ronnie MacDonald

Ronnie MacDonald explains how the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee plans to the the newly formed Offshore Workers' Union by focusing on health and safety iisues and the need for workers' unity on the rigs.


Among the many regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act never extended offshore was the 1977 regulation on Safety Committees.

The trade unions have consistently maintained that these regulations should be extended offshore. But the Cullen Report on the Piper Alpha disaster said that Department of Energy regulations introduced under Parkinson should be given a chance and

To break or not to break?

Published on: Thu, 10/10/1991 - 19:25

John O'Mahony

Elsewhere in this paper we carry reports on the new 'breakaway union' being formed by workers in the offshore oil and gas industry. What does history have to teach us about such breakaways?

In the Transitional Programme of 1938, Leon Trotsky argued that we should be against breakaway union of a sectarian type that pull away from the broad mass of workers in a particular industry. On the other hand we are against making a powerful rank and file movement bow down to entrenched bureaucrats. We are against sectarian breakaways, and we are also against making a fetish of unity.

The clearest example

A union for offshore workers

Published on: Thu, 10/10/1991 - 19:22

Offshore Industry Liaison Committee

OILC is seeking certification as an independent trade union for offshore oil workers. It is anticipated that the process will take to two years to complete. However, OILC, for the purposes of Section 28 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act (TULRA) 1974 is already a trade union. Recruitment has commenced.

It is OILC's intention to base itself in its already well-resourced headquarters in Aberdeen. Our branch fficers in Glasgow and Newcastle will remain open and we will open other offices as the need dictates.

OILC will provide a legal service to its members second to none. The new union

Norwegian union pledges support for OILC

Published on: Thu, 10/10/1991 - 19:01

OFS, Norway

We are informed that the British Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, OILC, will announced its transition from being a rank-and-file organisation to becoming an independent trade union later today [Friday 4 September].

Let it be known throughout the British offshore industry that OFS, Norway's leading offshore union, is applauding and welcoming your decision.

We are organising 6,000 offshore workers on the Norwegian Continental Shelf; highly skilled engineers and technicians as well as utility and catering personnel; oil company employees on fixed installations as well as contracting personnel

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