Weeks away from a general election and this weekend it would not escaped the notice of most people that Trade Unionists are preparing to down tools and take industrial action in the defence of jobs, services and what’s left of our industry, well it’s not really our industry but you know what I mean. Whilst I don’t trust any of the current leaders of our trade union movement, we should all nevertheless, give our unequivocal support to workers in their fight and campaign, that’s a fight for the future and make no mistake!
A savage campaign is under way by the political regime and the media against the strike by British Airways cabin crew, scheduled to begin this very weekend.
Its aim is not only to intimidate the 12,000 BA workers immediately involved, but to threaten any workers seeking to defend their jobs and conditions in advance of the massive austerity measures now being drawn up by all the official parties. The dispute centres on working hours and annual pay rise offers in exchange for the cabin crew workers agreeing to BA's planned £62.5m of cost cuts.
Earlier this week the Conservatives unveiled a written account entitled “Charlie Whelan’s New Militant Tendency,” claiming to show Prime Minister Gordon Brown is “incapacitated” to trade union militants and lefties. Using the fact that Labour receives much of its funding from the trade unions—and the Unite union in particular, which organises BA cabin crew—the Tories claim to have discovered that Brown is a “wholly owned subsidiary of the big trade unions,” who they say are intent on class war.
The fact is that the present-day leadership of the Labour Party, and many amongst the trade union somebodies, earned their spurs in the campaign, which climaxed in the creation of “New Labour” as the political representative of the financial oligarchy, prostituting and flogging themselves for capitalism, and Charlie Whelan is a typical representative of this layer. A former public school boy he joined Labour in 1992 where, as one of its “spin doctors,” he played a key role in helping consolidate the party’s rightward trajectory as it renounced any connection with the working class and sought to consolidate its relations with big business. The infamous Charlie Whelan and his return to the centre of spin at the hart of New Labour and its election push was reported and observed by this blog way back in November last year and here. One thing that both contributors of this blog agree on is we don’t think that many people are bothered about the muck-slinging that’s going on between the two representative parties of capitalism, if anything it may turn more away from participating in the election when it comes.
I’ve just read Lansbury's Lido “The Masses Are Revolting” worth a look here
The RMT has announced a possible national rail strike the first in 16 years for this coming Easter bank holiday weekend after workers voted for action.
Unions and the company that owns Britain's rail infrastructure will next week hold talks to try to avert what would be the first national strike in 16 years after the system's signallers voted for industrial action.
Network Rail announced last night it would meet next week at Acas, the conciliation service, with the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union and the TSSA, which represents managerial grades, over two separate disputes. One, over which the RMT has said it will hold strikes, involves the restructuring of Network Rail's maintenance operations and the cutting of up to 1,500 jobs. The other involves roistering of signallers in a number of parts of the country.
Some 5,000 signalling staff, as well as 12,000 maintenance workers, are preparing for a series of national walk-outs which would bring to a full-stop the network during one of the busiest times of the year. Now as you would have imagined the right-wing press are having a field day denoting and denouncing the stand that workers are starting to make, and about time too.
Civil servants' Budget day strike
Chancellor Alistair Darling will have to pass picket lines on March 24 on his way from the Treasury to the House of Commons to deliver his speech on the Budget. The Public and Commercial Services union said it wants to "ratchet up" political pressure after a 48-hour walkout last week and a continuing overtime ban which officials warned would soon start to hit jobcentres, benefit offices, ports, driving tests and courts.
A national day of action is also being held on Friday, including a battle bus touring the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency of Cabinet Officer Minister Tessa Jowell, who has been leading negotiations over cuts in redundancy payments. The union said last week's strike was supported by more than 200,000 civil servants, and attacked Ms Jowell for saying that most PCS members worked.
The union has written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson asking how they could urge both sides in the British Airways dispute to hold talks when the Government is "refusing" to negotiate with the PCS.
Latest from Scunthorpe Corus Steelworks
And finely 3,500 trade union members on the Scunthorpe Corus steelworks remain on tenterhooks about a ballot for industrial action (the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph is reporting) over the company's decision to mothball its plant in Redcar and the loss of 1,600 jobs. The ballot failed to get the go-ahead following a meeting in London between the leaders of four unions Community, GMB, Unite and UCATT.
In a joint statement, the national trade union steel co-ordinating committee said: 'We remain to be convinced about the progress that is being made and we understand compulsory redundancy notices have been issued, which does not demonstrate a commitment to the future of Teesside.
'This is not just about Teesside but it is also about the future of the UK steel industry.
"There is a pattern of systemic failure to consult with the workforce about major changes within the company and a breakdown in industrial relations.
"We have serious concerns about the leadership of Corus – we see a company in meltdown.
Wherever you are this week, give your support to workers fighting for their jobs and our children’s future – remember an attack on one is an attack on all!