Union mergers

Tackling the union bureaucracies

Trade union organisation has always tended to centre in the better-off sections of the working class. But that tendency has been sharpened in the neoliberal era by increased inequality within the working class, and union organisation receding into more limited “bastions”. In Australia — and in general — trade unions have been able to hold on to a degree in some strongholds, but in my working life, 45 years now, the influence of trade unions in society has markedly decreased. Unions have become much more bureaucratic. Most union leaders put the trends down to the anti-union laws which have been...

Industrial news in brief

Outsourced workers from four trade unions united for a day of action on Tuesday 26 February. Members of the IWGB at University of London, UVW at the Ministry of Justice, and PCS at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy all struck to demand better pay and conditions, and direct employment. RMT London Transport Regional Council, which organises outsourced workers on London Underground, also supported the demonstration. Guards' jobs: nail down the deal! The breakthrough in the big railworkers’ dispute to save train guards’ jobs is a cause for celebration, but some caution...

Industrial news in brief

Workers’ Liberty school workers met on 7 October 2017 to discuss our plans in our workplaces and in the new National Education Union, formed on 1 September by the merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. The new union is making a recruitment drive, offering membership free to trainees and students, for £1 to newly qualified teachers, and for £10 for the first year to all teachers and all school support staff. The response has been good, with twice as many new recruits to the NEU in September 2017 as there were to the NUT and ATL in September 2016...

Industrial news in brief

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. In addition to the strikes, there was...

New education union

A National Education Union (NEU) is likely to be formed by a merger of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). This merger is a step forwards for school workers organising. Both the NUT and ATL held special conferences on Saturday 5 November to decide whether or not to ballot their members on the proposal to create a new union. The merger would create the largest school workers’ union in the country, organising 450,000 members. Although the majority will be teachers, the ATL also organises a number of support workers who would be included in the...

Industrial news in brief

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal. An announcement from the negotiations is expected on Wednesday 18 May; at the moment it is impossible to tell what the...

Unite policy conference to debate Labour and Europe

No merger with the PCS this side of a General Election. And maybe never. Although they do not put it as bluntly as this, that’s the substance of two of the motions submitted to the Unite Policy Conference being held in Liverpool late June and early July. Merger with a union not affiliated to the Labour Party would be “a huge distraction” from winning the election for Labour. Mergers are a good thing only if the unions involved have “similar industrial interests”. Mergers are bad for Unite if its financial situation would be damaged by the pensions liabilities of the other union. Consequently...

Trotsky on trade union unity

Leon Trotsky wrote an article for the US Militant in 1931 on ‘The Question of Trade Union Unity’. The article is attached. The article is about the attitude of the French communist trade union federation (CGTU) towards the reformist trade union federation (CGT). Unlike in Britain, in several countries – including France – trade union federations have been (and still are) organised along political lines, rather than having one federation for all trade unions. Trotsky argues against those communists who don’t want to dirty their hands by uniting with reformists – and his argument is therefore...

RMT and TSSA to Merge?

A chance is presenting itself for a stronger trade union movement in the transport industry, with a possible RMT/TSSA merger. This is a positive step. RMT has 80,000 members and TSSA 30,000. If we could one day also get ASLEF to join us in creating a single union, we could virtually write our own terms to management. But as well as welcoming the prospects of merger, we need to shape how it will happen. When unions merge, their leaders have a nasty habit of prioritising the preservation of their comforts and positions. Some mergers have seen the most bureaucratic aspects of each union brought...

RMT and TSSA to Merge?

An opportunity is presenting itself for a stronger trade union movement in the transport industry to become a reality.

Rumours have been spreading for sometime now of a possible merger between the National Union for Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’...

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