Archive for the ‘Trade unions’ Category

We want nationalisation, we want workers’ control. We want union freedom, and the Tories on the dole.

May 21, 2017

For a “weak”, “unelectable” leader, Jermy Corbyn seems to be packing crowds in wherever he speaks. Labour are rapidly closing ground on the Tories in the opinion polls. Could it be that their policies – of a living minimum wage, to end zero hour contracts and to renationalise the utilities and railway network, might just be proving popular?

Labour have promised to bring back the railways under public control, but only as the franchises expire. They have promised “cradle to grave” free education, with the abolition of tuition fees. They are opposing austerity – though this has yet to be put into practice by Labour councils.

Opinion polls show overwhelming public support for socialist policies – 52% support public ownership of the railways, 65% support higher taxes for those earning more than £80,000/yr, 54% of people support more council house building, 71% of people support the scrapping of zero hour contracts. The Labour manifesto promises a Britain “for the many, not the few”. How much more inspiring than vague right-wing promises, which have failed to deliver. No surprise then that millions of, mostly young voters, are registering to vote.

The Labour manifesto can be criticised for its climbdown on Trident and for nationalised energy, for example, to be run alongside private utility companies. Surely it would be better to acknowledge that Trident is a white elephant and that the only way to plan and invest in renewable energy would be to renationalise the whole industry at one stroke, and to have democratic control of industry.

However, it is a huge step forward compared to the Blairite mantra of the Third Way, of public-private partnerships and PFI, which have continued Tory plans to get rid of our control over the public sector. The NHS has rapidly been privatised, so this election is in effect a referendum on whether we still want a national health service – not that the Tories want us to know that!

However, their manifesto also misses a target in failing to renationalise the banks. Lack of public control over the banking sector has been shown in the failure to prosecute RBS over that bank’s failings.

The right wing press complain about the expense of nationalisation – but it needn’t cost us a penny – rather big shareholders should receive no compensation whatsoever; they have held the public to ransom for far too long.

Tyneside Labour Party Young Socialists came up with a song in the 1970’s which sums up the situation (to the tune of the Blaydon Races) –

“Aye lads, we all want nationalisation
But not the kind they’ve got in the mines
Or in the railway stations.
We want workers’ control and not participation,
And then we’ll be on were way – to the socialist transformation!”

The reference “not the kind they’ve got in the mines or in the railway stations” is due to the post-war Labour settlement which ended up with the same coal owners still in charge in the National Coal Board, and which still shut workers out of control.  However, even this top-down, limited nationalisation would still be preferable to the present situation!

In contrast, there is a classic example, from the 1970s, of Lucas shop stewards being asked what they could do with the skills in the British Aerospace industry – they came up with long-life batteries, and dialysis machines rather than making weapons for the defence industry. Similarly the GLC, in 1981, before its abolition by Thatcher,  Mike Cooley, sacked from Lucas for his activism, was appointed Technology Director of the GLC’s new Greater London Enterprise Board (GLEB). A series of Technology Networks were created. Anticipating FabLabs today, these community-based workshops shared machine tools, access to technical advice, and prototyping services, and were open for anyone to develop socially useful prototypes.

Technology Networks aimed to combine the ‘untapped skill, creativity and sheer enthusiasm’ in local communities with the ‘reservoir of scientific and innovation knowledge’ in London’s polytechnics. Hundreds of designs and prototypes were developed, including electric bicycles, small-scale wind turbines, energy conservation services, disability devices, re-manufactured products, children’s play equipment, community computer networks, and a women’s IT co-operative. Designs were registered in an open access product bank. GLEB helped co-operatives and social enterprises develop these prototypes into businesses.

However, it is wrong to say that Corbyn’s manifesto is simply a return to the 1970’s. Then, 13 million people were members of trade unions, there was an element of democratic control in some workplaces with “closed shops”, where the union would be able to decide who was hired and fired. There was more equality, cheaper housing, more council housing, better job security, an 80% top rate of income tax – and key industries were nationalised (albeit on a top-down, Stalinist model, inherited from the gains of the 1945 Labour post-war government).

Fast forward 40 years – we have zero hour contracts, the race to the bottom with our terms and conditions being eroded, wage freezes for public sector workers and insecure jobs.

A programme of nationalisation could begin to reverse decades of underfunding and Thatcherite economics. With advances in technology and robotics, we could have a shorter working week without loss of pay (at the moment automation is being used as a tool to drive up profits at our expense).

One drawback is that Corbyn, welcome though his reforms are, is trying to improve workers’ rights and transform society, without actually taking power out of the hands of big business. There will undoubtedly be a retaliation. There are questions over how he will force his programme through. 100 Blairite MPs have already signalled their intention to form a breakaway party, should Corbyn lose the general election, but remain in charge.

The answer to this is to have mandatory reselection of MPs and re-democratise the Labour Party, with more influence for the 500,000 members who have joined as a result of Corbyn’s shift to the left. This has happened in Aberdeen, where 9 Labour councillors were recently suspended for going into a local coalition with the Tories!

Brexit, would allow Corbyn the freedom to break with EU treaties which enforce competition and the internal market. Dave Nellist has dubbed this “Thatcherism on a continental scale”. It would allow trade unions the freedom to campaign for better wages for migrant workers, levelling wages up, rather than the practice of “social dumping”, where EU regulations have meant the ripping up of negotiated agreements and allow companies to employ workers on less than the UK minimum wage, a practice analogous with the use of “flags of convenience” on board ships. Corbyn needs to campaign for a socialist Brexit. Theresa May, on the other hand, would use Brexit to rip up what little protection Europe offers the UK, in terms of the working hours’ directive, for example.

In summary, the general election is a golden opportunity, the first time in my lifetime that I will be able to support a Labour government offering an alternative to cuts. It lifts our aspirations and will encourage millions, whereas all the Tories have to offer is a continuation of drab, grey austerity Britain, where millions rely on food-banks, where people are terrified of putting their head above the parapet for fear of losing their jobs, where the disabled and homeless are victimised, rather than supported. We need a return to the fighting spirit of the 1970s, rather than a return to Victorian conditions and the 1870s.

(This is a speech I gave to Leicester Socialist Party meeting, May 2017 – on the topic – “Nationalisation – is Corbyn taking us back to the 1970s?”)

Sonnet for #heartunion week

February 23, 2016

#loveunions

We fought hard for breaks from labour and toil
A weekend of leisure, an eight-hour day.
We won our fair share of the bosses’ spoil:
Now doctors are striking ‘gainst  cuts to pay.
Support brothers and sisters in struggle;
At pickets, on protests – with banners high.
Stand firm and the government will buckle,
To break us, lies and tricks they will try.
Forever hated by the company boss
But loved by workers – their only defence.
Without trade unions, it is our sad loss
Face up to their lies, politicians’ pretence.
So stand together this Valentine’s day,
Unions give us protection, come what may.

unions

In support of junior doctors

February 23, 2016

As junior doctors gear up for more industrial action against Hunt’s imposition of a new contract, which threatens unsocial hours payments, this is the summary of a speech by Rob and Francis, two members of the BMA who spoke at a meeting of Leicester Trades Council recently.

If the media were to be believed, junior doctors should be grateful. They are reportedly getting a 13% pay rise, the reforms will bring about safer weekend working practices, and the NHS is becoming a 24/7 service, despite its staff being given no extra money. If this was true, there would not be a Minister for Health running the NHS, but a Minister for Magic!

In reality, doctors see attacks on their terms and conditions as the beginning of an attack across the whole of the NHS. This is being done in order to make the NHS more attractive to private companies, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Health, who have recently landed a huge contract to provide care in the South West. This is being done in order to attack the principle of the NHS – that it is a nationwide, comprehensive healthcare service, provided for all and free at the point of need. The Health and Social Care Act has already taken away government responsibility for our health service – any “willing provider” can take over chunks of our healthcare system.

So it is not just that junior doctors and student nurses, whose bursaries are being removed, are angry for themselves. They are also concerned about patient care and the principle of a free health service, paid for through central taxation. However, on a personal level, they also have plenty of grievances against the government.

They are angry that they will have to work more night-shifts and weekends, that their working week will lengthen and their breaks decrease. This will have a direct impact on patient care, the morale of the profession and the health and stress of working in a hospital. It sets a precedent for the rest of the NHS and amounts to a substantial pay cut. Doctors who do voluntary or paid work in their spare time – manning an air ambulance, working as a medic on the sports field, or working as  a locum – will have to check if their employer needs them first.

This action is not just about a group of (justifiably) disgruntled employees – this is about the future of the NHS. So get down to a picket line at a hospital near you and talk to the doctors who are taking action. One day, your life might depend on them.

 

Dear Bob

March 25, 2015

DSCN0408 

I took the train, that fateful day

When you reached the end of the line.

You fought like hell, for workers,

But your heart sadly hit the buffers.
 

I was wearing my Jarrow March T-shirt;

I got off, at the end of the line.

Bob’s right – bollocks to the cuts!

And your big heart softly hit the buffers.
 

Trade union banners lined the way

And the black cortège passed by.

Red flags waved farewell to the winter sky,

52 was far too young.
 

A round of applause arose from the crowd

As the funeral cortège passed by.

Millwall FC, loving dad – tearful tributes.

52 was far too young.
 

I still fight for what you believed in

Socialism, equality – common sense.

I wondered when my train would draw near,

My heart slowly hit the buffers.
 
 

DSCN0395

Remembering Bob Crow

March 11, 2014

A heavy loss to all in the labour movement – the leader of the RMT union, Bob Crow passed away last night, at the all-too-young age of 52. He fought tirelessly for his members and never shirked from a struggle – with the result that union membership in the RMT increased from 50,000 when he was elected leader, to 80,000 today. My thoughts are with his friends, family and comrades today.

The RMT union has a political vision and funds the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which looks to build a new, mass working-class party. It stands against all cuts carried out by councils is looking to stand 625 candidates in the forthcoming elections in May – please support TUSC, but also consider standing yourself  in memory of Bob Crow – see http://www.tusc.org.uk for more details.

Amongst tributes, Dave Nellist, ex-Coventry MP and former Socialist Party councillor paid tribute to Crow’s fighting spirit – http://www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2014/03/11/news-Ex-MP-Dave-Nellist-pays-tribute-to-RMT-chief-Bob-Crow-99284.html

I saw Bob Crow speak eloquently at last year’s Socialism 2013 event about the need for a new workers’ party, which he played such an important role in building, as the leader of TUSC and one of the key voices in the RMT union, arguing for a combative, left-wing voice in politics, as opposed to the bankrupt policies of the Labour Party, which is complicit in passing-through Tory cuts.

In this respect, it is extremely hypocritical of Nigel Farage, to jump on the bandwagon of eulogies from Tories, who were Crow’s enemies in his lifetime. Crow was implacably opposed to racism and stood for workers’ unity, and an exit from the EU on socialist principles. Farage would introduce a flat-rat tax, and stands for the rich. His party is xenophobic, racist and would be just as eager to privatise the railways and public services which TUSC and No2EU Yes To Workers’ Rights seek to protect.

The best way to remember Bob Crow’s massive achievements in winning gains for his members, and the socialist policies he fought for, is to get involved with the Socialist Party, which is part of TUSC – the electoral coalition which was initiated by and supported by the RMT union.

“Do not go gentle into that good night”.

 

Complaint to BBC on biased coverage of Bob Crow’s death –

Your Complaint

Type of complaint: BBC News (TV Radio Online)
What is your complaint about: BBC News Online
URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26527325
Complaint category: Factual error or inaccuracy
Contacted us before: No
Complaint title: The obituary on the railway union leader Bob Crow.
Complaint description:
There is a factual inaccuracy on the report on the sad death of Bob Crow, leader of the railway workers’ union. You report that “he was not a member of a political party”. However, he is on the steering committee and is a founding member of TUSC – the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. You report views from a number of politicians, including many of his opponents, but do not give space to anyone from TUSC, such as ex-Coventry MP Dave Nellist, or any of the hundreds of trade unionists standing in this year’s local elections. Please apologise and correct this inaccuracy.

 

Why are we in this mess?

August 16, 2013

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” – the opening words of the Communist Manifesto highlights the fact that there has always been a subjugated class (slaves, peasants, workers) and a higher elite, which has opposed their interests (slave-owners, aristocracy, bosses).

The Communist Manifesto was written in 1848 at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, which transformed economies – the mass of the population moved into cities for the first time, workers congregated together in factories as mass production took the place of traditional craftsmanship. This led to the emergence of a working class for the first time and the beginnings of socialist parties – making it possible for the working class to take over the running of society.

Looked at in terms of two opposing classes and the tension between them, economics begins to make sense. Workers struggle against oppression, while bosses fight to maximise their profits. The interests of the two are incompatible.

Marx describes this process as “surplus value”. For him, goods are valued according to the labour involved in their production. Companies take away some of our labour value – whether this is indirectly in terms of services, or directly by manufacturing goods. In return, we get a proportion of this as wages. Workers struggle through trade unions and may take strike action in order to get more pay. Meanwhile, the company seeks to maximise its profit margins. The film, The Corporation, gives a good description of how individual companies operate under capitalism – as psychopaths – devoid of human compassion, feeling or empathy and striving only to maximise their profits.

Because of this, capitalism is incapable of solving the problems of the world. It is incapable of co-operation on a global scale, incapable of planning to meet the problems of global warming, or of even finding enough resources to feed the world, or to provide clean, safe drinking water for all of us.

Capitalist economics, as Trotsky, said, creates within it the conditions for its own crisis – “capitalism is its own gravedigger”. However, there is no final crisis of capitalism, without a mass revolutionary movement to bring about socialism.

When capitalism cannot get rid of the surplus it creates, prices fall according to the law of supply and demand, and conditions are created for recession or even depression.

Eighty years ago, the Great Depression was caused by a perfect storm of forces – the stock market crash in the US, hyperinflation in Germany after the destruction of the workers’ movement, the collapse of banks, and a failure of harvests in the Dust bowl. Capitalism only emerged from this by using World War II to raze whole cities to the ground. The same process of imperialist resource-grabbing, of divide and rule (in the case of Nazi Germany taken to extremes), the naked preoccupation with nationalism and profit has led to violence, hatred and the loss of millions of lives.

Instead, socialists argue for workers’ co-operation internationally, for a planned, genuinely democratic economy where it ordinary people are in control over the means of production. We decide what our priorities are, how resources should be divided up, and we have a real involvement in decision-making. With the rule of profit gone, people are therefore able to enjoy the full fruits of their labour – a shorter working week, more leisure time and to rid themselves of the burden of poverty. We would be able to invest more resources into the economy in order to fully realise our human potential.

The present economic crash in 2008 was caused by speculation on sub-prime mortgages, with debts being consolidated and re-sold around different investors. There was a downturn in the economy, causing interests rates to be lowered, and so there was a boom of cheap credit. Loans were sold to people who simply could not afford the repayments. The system collapsed like a house of cards, or an elastic band that has been stretched way past its breaking point.

Any theory can be tested by how well it predicts actual events. Capitalist economists completely failed to predict the economic crash. Francis Fukuyama predicted “The End of History”, with the fall of the Eastern Bloc and the supposed world-dominance of neoliberalism. Gordon Brown said arrogantly that he had “abolished boom and bust”. However, in the pages of “Socialism Today”, we predicted that a crash would come sooner or later, that the bubble had to burst at some point, and that when it did the result would be disastrous for working people.

After the crash of 2008, house prices fell through the floor. No lenders were offering mortgages and banks had to be nationalised and bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars worldwide. This goes to show that the money is there in society, it is just not spent where it is needed – on public services, or clean water, but on maintaining the status quo for big business, at any cost. Meanwhile the people at the bottom were left homeless.

In 2013, we are still not out of the woods. In an effort to reduce the debt, public services are slashed and privatised. However, post-1945, our national debt was much higher than it is now, at 240% of GDP. Yet we still managed to build council houses, found the welfare state, the NHS, and nationalise 20% of the country’s industry. All these gains were won by pressure from below – servicemen coming back from the front demanding change, a land fit for heroes. There remains massive potential for a huge fight back from the trade unions and community groups across the country – what is lacking is any leadership. Unlike 1945, Labour has shifted massively to the right, and refuses to countenance any alternative to cuts and austerity. We need to build that alternative.

However much workers gained through their struggles, capitalism will always come back for more. We get a few crumbs from the rich man;s table in good times, but in bad, there is no hesitation in cutting jobs and wages, even if this costs lives. Look at the rises in NHS waiting times and the increase in the number of deaths in our hospitals as the cuts bite.

We need to build a new parties to represent working people internationally. In Britain, TUSC is hopefully the genesis of a new workers’ party. The trade unions must break with Labour or be broken as they will lose members in their droves, either through disgust at the way they are treated by their leadership, or through job losses and privatisation. The Labour Party is undemocratic, and the Falkirk scandal, where Milliband threatened Unite with legal action for the crime backing its own (not even very left-wing) candidate, and getting working-class people to join Labour, proves that it is completely unfit for purpose.

Depressions can have a stunning effect on workers – they can keep their heads down, afraid of the sack, or grateful that they have a job at all. However, at some stage, there must be a mass fight back. The potential was shown on November 30th 2011, when 2 million workers took strike action. Across Southern Europe and North Africa, the fight back is already happening – people have no choice but to take to the streets and fight their own governments, who have nothing to offer but austerity.

The crying shame is the lack of a revolutionary leadership of these movements, capable of uniting struggles and putting forward a socialist programme to take power. Join the Socialist Party and the CWI and help us build that leadership.

Falkirk

July 7, 2013

The Wheel rotates
Water compensates
Balances the arms.

Unite donates
The right incriminates,
Betrays and harms.

The principle is as simple
As the pimple
On Archimedes’ naked bum.

Milliband’s nimble lies
Only serve to symbolise
Deceit. Following The Sun.

Build an alternative. Break the link;
Just think:
New Labour is tarnished.

Turn the wheel
Of a real workers’ party, to feel
The union’s power. Harnessed.

___________________________________________________________________________

You can help support the Socialist Party by buying a short book of my poems, ‘Little Red Poetry’: Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

The left in Britain 1990-2013

May 21, 2013

left party

Abbreviations – SP Socialist Party, SWP Socialist Workers’ Party, AGS Alliance for Green Socialism, AWL Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, CPB Communist Party of Britain, S All remaining members of Socialist Alliance, ISN Independent Socialist Network

This is a timeline I made to illustrate attempts to build a left alternative to New Labour. It is by no means exhaustive (I have missed out developments in Scotland, for example, which whole books have been written about).

It is clear to increasing numbers of people that there is a crying need to oppose Labour cuts, and that there is little difference between any of the main political parties. If a party is not built which can represent working-class people, and bring together trade unionists in struggle, the cuts will only get worse, and people may resort to the blind alley of nationalism, of fighting amongst ourselves rather than uniting against the bosses.

It is also obvious that this has been the case for the last 20 years. TUSC and Left Unity are only the latest in a number of attempts to build a mass, left-wing alternative. I would like to look at some of these briefly and outline where I think they have gone wrong, not in order to score any political points, but because we need to learn from past mistakes.

The Socialist Labour Party has not built on its foundations, because it is not outward-looking or democratic in its approach and has not sought to build links with other socialist groups. It has been controlled by Scargill in an authoritarian fashion and has consistently refused not to stand against other socialists. As much as we can admire Arthur Scargill as a militant trade union figure, this is not, in my opinion, the way to build a mass consensus for socialism.

The Socialist Alliance was formed in the mid-1990s, and had some modest successes before unfortunately the Socialist Workers’ Party tried undemocratically to wrest control of the party at its 2001 conference.

Respect had enormous potential, launched after the start of the Iraq War, on the back of the 2 million strong Stop The War Coalition demonstration in Hyde Park. Incidentally, this was when I first became involved in political activity, as I joined the Socialist Party, out of increasing anger at the betrayal of New Labour. By ditching the Socialist Alliance for Respect, the SWP jumped onto a pro-Islamic platform (perhaps on the basis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”), which led them to compromise on important principles – such as abortion rights, LGBT rights and feminism. When cracks in Respect appeared, the SWP abandoned this project in turn. Now they too are in crisis and the democratic opposition which has split from the SWP has recently launched the International Socialists platform, which I hope will grow into a democratic and outward looking party.

The Socialist Party looked towards the trade unions, and the mass of the organised working-class. It approached unions like the RMT and FBU (the RMT having been expelled from supporting Labour for supporting Scottish Socialist Party candidates, and the FBU having voted to disaffiliate due to cuts to the fire service), through the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party, launched in 2006.

At the CNWP’s first conference, I remember Bob Crow giving a stirring speech, calling on anyone left within New Labour to stop giving it a left cover, and join instead the beginnings of a new workers’ party. The Socialist Party does not envisage a party with a fully-fledged socialist programme coming out of nowhere, but emerging gradually and organically through struggles of the working class. This led first to co-operation with the RMT and CPB (Communist Party of Britain) in the No2EU Yes to Democracy challenge in the European elections, the first nationwide left-of-Labour challenge. The RMT had a historic role in founding the Labour Party itself, with the Taff Vale dispute and the Labour Representation Committee representing a decisive break from Liberalism at the beginning of the 20th century.

Out of No2EU, and with the CPB reverting back to its former position of supporting Labour (although at the 2012 TUSC conference, it said that it would give Labour ‘one last chance’), grew TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. From the timeline above, it is clear that these are early days for this new electoral force. It brings together the two largest revolutionary parties the SWP and the Socialist Party, together with Independent Socialists. it now has the official backing of the RMT, but we still need more unions to jump ship from Labour and fight for their members’ interests. TUSC is based on the idea that we agree on a set of core policies, but candidates are also free to campaign for their own party – a federal and deliberately cautious approach.

TUSC is important because it is putting down an anti-cuts marker for the future. So far, voters understandably have largely settled for Labour as opposed to the Tories, as the lesser of two evils, while many are turned off politics altogether, or have fallen for the lure of the far right UKIP as a protest vote. However, as Labour is once again likely to come into power in the next few years, it will be more difficult for them to appear as anything other than a vicious party, intent on cutting services and slashing jobs. They have committed themselves to maintaining the Tories’ austerity programme, just not as fast or as deep. Labour have expelled those few councillors who have stood up against cuts (the Southampton Two and Hull Three, for example).

However, TUSC is not yet a fully-fledged party in its own right. Left Unity has also gathered a lot of support recently, following Ken Loach’s screening of the Spirit of ’45. I hope that the two forces can co-operate, that more trade unions will back a project to build an alternative to the left of Labour, to stand up for their members and oppose cuts. The urgent need to do so has never been more apparent, with the demolition of our NHS, privatisation of the postal service and comprehensive education, with corrupt politicians awarding themselves massive pay rises and a widening gulf between rich and poor. In such a volatile situation, disgust at mainstream parties can quickly produce results – look at the spectacular rise of Syriza in Greece.

It is still early days and we need to be patient, but is clear that we need to build a united force to the left of Labour. Let’s learn from past mistakes and build a comradely, non-sectarian, federal and democratic organisation, welcoming to new layers of people coming into struggle for the first time as Tory and New Labour cuts bite ever harder. TUSC is still the best chance of achieving this, in my opinion.

Reclaim UNISON

May 14, 2013

UNISON members across the country are facing attacks on pay and conditions and their jobs are at risk. In schools, libraries, the NHS and council departments workers are facing the threat of downgrading or redundancy, as councils make cuts. Labour councils have not put up any real resistance to these cuts, except for a few councillors in Southampton and in Hull – their reward has been to be expelled from the Labour Party!

If there is one union that could stop the government’s attacks on the public sector dead in their tracks, that is UNISON. Prentis boasts about the potential strength of the union’s 1.3 million members but he has then done everything possible to avoid national industrial action. On the one occasion, workers did come out in November 2010, mass demonstrations were held up and down the country and picket lines were buzzing with excitment. However, this glimpse of possible militancy has never been repeated. We need national strike action again, this time co-ordinated with the private sector as well. We have tried being reasonable and negotiating, but this has only encouraged the government and been taken as a sign of weakness.

If you agree that we need a fighting, democratic union, vote for Reclaim The Union Candidates on your ballot paper for UNISON NEC elections. If you have lost your ballot paper, if it is underneath a pile of junk mail on your desk, or if the dog has eaten it – you can get another by phoning 0845 355 0845 befoire 21st May. Ballot closes 24th May.

Jean Thorpe (East Mids region, Female Seat)
Adrian Picton (East Mids region, Male Seat)

Monique Hirst (Black Members’ Seat)
April Ashley (Black Members’ Seat)
Hugo Pierre (Black Members’ Seat)

Suzy Franklin (Health Service Group)
Gary Freeman (Health Service Group)
Mark Boothroyd (Health Service Group)

Greta Holmes (Young Members)

Claire Wormald (Eastern)

Jim McFarlane (Scotland)
Duncan Smith (Scotland)

Jamie Davis (Wales / Cymru)

Dave Auger (West Midlands)

Bernie Parkes (South West)

Helen Davies (Gtr London)
MarshaJane Thompson (Gtr London)
Jon Rogers (Gtr London)
Gundula Seidel (Gtr London)

Bernie Gallagher (North West)
Karen Reissmann (North West)
Roger Bannister (North West)
Tony Wilson (North West)

Jacqui Berry (South East)
Diana Leach (South East)
Paul Couchman (South East)

Helen Jenner (Yorks & Humber)
Mike Forster (Yorks & Humber)
Vicki Perrin (Yorks & Humber)

Reclaim our Union. Standing together for a fighting, democratic union.

We stand for – resistance to all cuts, privatisation and job losses.
industrial action against attacks on pay and conditions.
strike action to be co-ordinated across all trade unions.
only funding and supporting politicians who will oppose cuts and fight for our members.

A generation of trade unionists will dance on Thatcher’s grave

November 20, 2012

Thatcher, Thatcher, the milk snatcher

1979 – the start of the decline.

1980 – cuts, job losses, all things weighty.

1981 – Brixton riots, not much fun.

1982 – Falklands, jingoism makes me spew.

1983 – Another term of misery.

1984 – struggles and strikes keep the wolf from the door.

1985 – Liverpool fights, our hopes kept alive.

1986 – Wapping falls, we’re in a fix.

1987 – Militant still fighting, no quarter given.

1988 – British Steel sold off, not part of the state.

1989 – Can’t Pay Won’t Pay holds the line.

1990 – Mass non-payment breaks the Iron Lady.