Unite

The message from Andrew Murray

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 09:18
Author

Ann Field

Ever the Stalinist nostalgic, in his new book The Fall and Rise of the British Left, Murray laments the passing away of “a largely vanished world of working-class power” and the fact that “none of the scenarios which gripped the left I grew up with in the twentieth century appear fully plausible any more.”

What is to fill the vacuum?

Murray’s answer is not: Slough off the dead weight of Stalinism, re-assert the centrality of independent working-class politics, and reforge a labour movement fit for the overthrow of capitalism.

Instead, and this is his explanation for Corbyn’s election as Labour

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:31
Author

Gerry Bates, Dom Sztyber, Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

The ballot for general secretary of the civil service union PCS will open on 7 November and close on 12 December.

For the first time in 18 years, the sitting general secretary, Mark Serwotka, faces a challenge from the left.

Bev Laidlaw, the Independent Left candidate, got 17 branch nominations, topping the number of 15 required to get on the ballot paper.

Serwotka got 62 nominations. The candidate backed by the Socialist Party, Marion Lloyd, got 39.

The SP was a dominant force in the union, closely allied with Serwotka, until about a year and a half ago.

In the Assistant General Secretary

Letters

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 11:38

I would like to add a couple of comments to Barrie Hardy’s review “Sweden in the 1930s: a shithole country”.

Barrie mentions the strikes in Adalen in the 1930s. The Swedish director Bo Widerburg made an interesting film featuring these events: Adalen 31 (1969). I haven’t seen it for a long time but if you can find a DVD check it out. Widerburg also directed a film about Joe Hill in 1971.

Barrie mentions the Native American Party, noting that they were “appropriately dubbed the Know Nothings”.
No doubt they were as thick as planks but their name, as far as I am aware, doesn’t originate in their

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:32
Author

Ollie Moore

Harland and Wolff

A hundred and thirty workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast face the loss of their jobs, after the employer went into administration. Workers have occupied the shipyard, demanding it be taken into public ownership. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited workers there on Monday 5 August. The Unite union has argued the yard’s productive capacity could be used to manufacture renewable energy infrastructure.

EMT out again on 17 August

Guards on East Midlands Trains, soon to be East Midlands Railway, struck for a third successive Saturday on 3 August.

The

Ford workers to meet again

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 10:22
Author

Matt Dunn

Union members at Ford Bridgend will meet again in the week up to 6-7 July to discuss the next steps in resisting attempts by the company to shut the plant, losing thousands of jobs in the process.

Nothing is off the table, including industrial action and “leverage” campaigning. Unite leverage takes a thoroughgoing approach to forcing a company to move – applying pressure to the investors and clients of the investors and clients and potential clients of the company concerned.

If Ford face the loss of business worth more than the saving to be made from closure because, alongside workplace action

Some setbacks at Unite union rules conference

Published on: Tue, 02/07/2019 - 09:43
Author

Ann Field

Despite some setbacks for the top table, the 24-28 June Unite the Union Rules Conference saw little or no progress in democratising Britain’s second-biggest trade union.

The number of branch nominations needed to get on the ballot paper in a General Secretary election was increased from the current 50 to 5% of all Unite branches – around 150.

Trebling the number of nominations makes it far more difficult for rank-and-file candidates to get onto the ballot paper. It effectively makes General Secretary elections the preserve of Unite full-timers and their ‘election machines’.

Motions proposing

Ford: build the fightback!

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 07:28
Author

Matt Dunn

At the Ford Bridgend engine plant, union members have voted to reject the closure and to take industrial action if needed.

The question now is what union leaders will do to build on those votes. A plan to save the jobs at the Ford Bridgend engine plant should combine three key elements: • A serious leverage campaign — aimed at hurting the key decision-makers right in their profit drivers • Political campaigning, to commit Labour on a public ownership plan for key industrial enterprises such as this that come under threat — nationalisation under workers’ control • A campaign to win the

Bridgend: fight the closure!

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 08:52

On 6 June, Ford said it would close its Bridgend engine plant in 2020. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, declared: “Unite representatives across all of Ford’s UK sites have previously stated if any plant in the UK is faced with closure or compulsory redundancies that they would all move to a ballot for industrial action.

“Ford bosses should be in no doubt. Unite will not stand back and let Ford turn its back on its loyal UK workforce and allow our members’ livelihoods to be shredded because they are cheaper and easier to fire than their counterparts elsewhere

Maelstrom of mendacious messaging?

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 10:40
Author

Jim Denham

Sometimes the Morning Star comes up with an editorial comment so bizarre, so devoid of evidence, that you wonder whether editor Ben Chacko (or whoever it is writes this stuff) re-reads their own words, or thinks about them, before dashing them off to print. The print edition on Friday 24 May, the day after the Euro-election, carried an extraordinary example.

Under the heading “Democracy demands a general election now” the editorial began: “In yesterday’s maelstrom of mendacious messaging, the most dishonest emerged from the Liberal Democrats confirming their reputation for hypocrisy.

“No-one

Public ownership and workers control of British Steel

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 07:27
Author

Sacha Ismail

The British Steel crisis, says Labour for a Socialist Europe in a statement calling for public ownership of the steel industry, “is yet another reminder of the sheer irrationality of Brexit, attempting to reverse important elements of the integration of the European and global economy – even when that means putting vast numbers of livelihoods and whole communities at risk.” And “of the irrationality of a capitalist system where decisions about livelihoods, communities and vital social production are placed into the hands of a tiny number of profit-seekers.”

British Steel was purchased in 2016

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