Trades Councils

Anarchists disrupt May Day rallies

Members of the Anarchist Federation in Nottingham, the “Autonomous Nottingham” group and some individuals staged a protest at the Nottingham May Day rally which ended up disrupting the whole rally.

The anarchists opposed the inclusion of Mansfield Labour MP Alan Meale on the platform of speakers.

New Trades Council in Essex

In most areas, Labour councillors have been implementing cuts. Not all can be tarred with the same brush.

In north Essex the Labour Party has been the most vocal against cuts, in areas where there is not a trades council.

Clacton Labour Party and the GMB union have been the driving force behind resurrecting the Tendring District Trades Council, which was formally set up in a meeting last week.

May Day turnouts signal a big job for Trades Councils

The Leeds Trade Council May Day march this year was much bigger and a lot livelier than it had been for many years. Young UK Uncut activists, and fresher trade unionists, outnumbered the ageing Stalinist stalwarts.

Glasgow also had an improved turnout. Even so, the numbers, 400 in Leeds and 3000 in Glasgow, were modest.

We can beat cuts!

Wirral TUC relaunched Wirral Against the Cuts in order to campaign against closures of care homes.

We leafleted care homes, organised meetings, and a lobby of the budget meeting, and one of the users of the Fernleigh centre who we met put in for a legal injuction.

The Fernleigh centre is the only centre providing support and respite for those with mental health problems.

Now Wirral council have backed down and Fernleigh is to stay open for at least 12 months.

Sheffield Trades Council: this isn't what democracy looks like

Numbers at the recent Sheffield Trades Council AGM were high — 50 delegates and plenty more observers. For me it was a little lesson in democracy — a negative lesson I think.

John Campbell was the sitting President. Knowing he’s unpopular, and his position was up for election again, he turned out masses of Unison local government members. That branch has 70 potential delegate places but it’s rare if even one turns up.

Leeds unions unite to fight cuts


Patrick Murphy, Leeds NUT

At a well-attended meeting in September Leeds Trades Council launched a Leeds Against the Cuts campaign. Delegates from Unison, PCS, NUT, CWU and Unite were present at the first meeting.

Two events have been organised around the comprehensive spending review in October.

Rejuvenating the labour movement

To defeat the cuts, the labour movement will need industrial action, organised by workers in particular sectors to resist cuts in jobs and services in their particular sector.

We will also need a broad and lively network of local committees in which people from trade union branches come together with community, service-users', and tenants' groups.

The struggle will probably not be one "big bang", but a rolling, up-and-down series of smaller and bigger "bangs", some national but many local.

How to build a trades council


Alex Halligan

Alex Halligan from Salford Trades Council spoke to Solidarity about building up a trades council.

The trades council was defunct but we have been building it back up over the last year. We now have the highest amount of affiliations for a long time.

We have held a lot of public meetings in the community. It’s all about reaching out and getting your average worker involved in trade union struggle.

Trades Councils conference: reinvigoration needed!


Elaine Jones

At this year’s Trades Councils conference there were around 70 councils represented (there are now 157 Trades councils and 23 County associations registered with the TUC which is an increase of 31 from the previous year).

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