Fwd: Anarchist trade union news from Britain

radman resist at best.com
Tue Aug 8 11:39:58 PDT 2000

>Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2000 06:43:03 -0400
>Subject: (en) Anarchist trade union news from Britain
>From: Revolt News <Revolt.News at pmail.net>
> ________________________________________________
> A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
> http://www.ainfos.ca/
> ________________________________________________
>@TU - http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2522/
>Rank and File
>Newsletter of the TRADE UNION NETWORK for anarchists
>"Trade unions are the natural organisations of the masses" - Bakunin
>August 2000
>What Next For The Anarchist Trade Union Network?
>Well a change of name for a start..those of you with access to the web
>and who have recently visited the Network's site will know that not only
>do we now have a lovely corporate logo (weíre still working on the mission
>statement) we have also moved the name around to the TRADE UNION NETWORK
>for anarchists (TUNa); it'll make sense if you see the web site!
>TUNa is one of (if not the) largest anarchist network in Britain and it
>continues to grow. However we are aware that the vast majority of
>subscribers seem happy just to receive the newsletter every two months or
>so. The lack of active involvement from subscribers means that we are
>some way away from achieving one of our original aims of raising the
>profile of anarchism in the trade union movement and sharing information
>and news between activists. The fact though that TUNa is an informal
>network rather than a formal organisation probably means that this is
>inevitable. The ever growing number of subscribers though shows TUNa is
>meeting a need in the anarchist movement (it also reflects the growing
>interest in anarchism amongst workers). So how do we move forward and
>avoid being just a newsletter and web site? TUNa is currently exploring
>the possibility of working with other anarchist groups to see whether
>there is scope to do joint work on employment issues. Frankly we think we
>can do a lot more together than separately. What do subscribers think
>about this? The network will continue as now other than organising joint
>campaigns and activities.
>Next thing is that we want more of you to get involved. This isn't cos
>we're lazy (well maybe it is a bit!) but we do think it important that
>participation is maximised. We need people to write and edit the
>newsletter, act as strike contacts, pamphlet writing, whatever, it's up to
>you, but if you're interested in getting involved in any way please let us
>know. Also although we have subscribers in most UK unions we get very
>little news about what is going on in individual unions. If you spot
>anything interesting going on let us know. Finally we will be having a
>meeting at this year's anarchist book fair (but probably not a stand) so
>put the date in your diary (14 October) and have your say about where the
>network should go.
>Strikes Up
>No doubt the SWP are claiming that the latest official figures on the
>number of strikes in Britain herald the return of working class militancy
>and that a general strike is but days away. Sadly though weíre not so
>sure. First the good news: compared to 1998 the number of strikes last
>year rose. The bad news is they rose from 166 to 205 and the actual number
>of days lost through industrial action fell to the lowest level ever -
>242,000 (in 1979 nearly 30 million days were lost). Full marks then to
>car, bus and aircraft workers who lead the way on strike action. Country
>wide Scottish workers are the most militant with an average of 22 working
>days lost per 1,000 workers, followed by London. In the midlands just 1
>day is lost per 1,000 workers.
>Don't, though, think that strikes are a thing of the past. This summer has
>seen unofficial action by postal workers and prison warders. Disputes in
>local authorities, car industry and hospitals. Even Oxford University
>Press staff, where MSF convenor Brendan George has been sacked, are
>balloting for strike action. Workers are using the threat of strike action
>as a means of putting pressure on bosses. Balloting to see whether members
>would be willing to go on strike is now a normal part of negotiations.
>Some 980 ballots were undertaken (with almost all resulting in a yes
>vote), but only 32% resulted in actual action. In most cases the mere
>threat of action was enough to get management to concede (makes you wonder
>what the unions could have achieved if they'd gone out rather than just
>threatening to).
>White Collars Push Union Membership Up
>For the first time ever white-collar staff are more likely to belong to
>trade unions than manual workers. Nearly a half of professional staff
>belong to trade unions. Total trade union membership grew by an impressive
>100,000 in the last year with 7.3 million workers in total belonging to a
>union. Unison, though, managed to buck the trend ñ its membership fell by
>28,000 (so much for super unions) and one union has disappeared. The tiny
>(42 members) Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers has now officially
>Credit Card Unionism 1
>Good news if you are a skint trade union member, the TUC has just launched
>not one but two new credit cards both called Memberís First. Unions are
>being encouraged to sign their members up. But what's this in the small
>print? Ah, the small matter of interest payments. Now according to John
>Monks (a man who earns a few quid) the new cards "offer an excellent deal"
>and are "further proof of how much sense it makes to belong to a trade
>union" but if you don't pay off your balance youíll be charged a wopping
>15.9% ! Sounds like an excellent deal for the Bank of Scotland who run the
>card and the TUC's coffers to us.
>Credit Card Unionism 2
>One person who has no doubt already applied for the new credit cards is
>MSF general secretary Roger "Sticky Bun" Lyons who recently lost two
>Employment Tribunals (rumoured to have cost the union close to a million
>pounds) following allegations of financial wrong doing. It has been
>claimed that Lyons, amongst other things, used his union credit card to
>buy a 25 pence bun, has used MSF's chauffeur to ferry himself and his kids
>to watch Arsenal play (why on earth would a union general secretary need a
>bloody chauffeur we ask - or even more sinister watch Arsenal play) and
>has submitted somewhat large expense claims for hospitality. Anarchists
>have long argued that workers need to organise themselves and donít need
>the likes of Lyons and his cronies to run their affairs. MSF rank and file
>have called for Lyons to resign. MSF are still in merger talks with the
>AEEU meaning that MSF members can look forward to replacing Lyons with Sir
>Ken "Partnership" Jackson.
>Know Your Rights: New Part Timers Law
>On the 1 July it became illegal to treat Britainís six million part time
>workers any differently than full time workers doing the same job, (pretty
>radical stuff eh?) This means if you are part time you should get equal
>pay, terms and conditions including sick pay, maternity and paternity
>leave, pension entitlements, access to training and holiday. The law will
>only work though if you can find a full timer to compare your self with.
>If everyone doing the same job you are are also part time then it's still
>okay to treat you like crap.
>Reclaim Union Rights Campaign
>ìThe Labour Party came into existence to repeal anti union laws. The
>current state of labour law belongs to the century before last, says
>comedian Jeremy Hardy. Tony Blair has boasted that Labour's employment
>laws are "the most restrictive on trade unions in the Western world". The
>United Campaign to Repeal the Anti-trade Union Laws was formed in 1998 and
>is, not surprisingly, campaigning to have all anti-union laws repealed.
>The organisation is a bit old Labour but anarchists should certainly
>oppose the state's attempts to restrict the power and rights of trade
>unions. If you are interested the Campaign can be contacted at: PO Box
>17556, London, EC2Y 8PA, email: johnhendyqc at gn.apc.org)
>A national demonstration in London is planned on 21 October to
>protest against the government's anti union laws. Details awaited.
>IWW Postal Workers Leaflet
>Any posties out there will be interested to know that Industrial Workers
>of the World (IWW) postal workers have produced a new leaflet called "A
>Five Day Week, Why Not?" in response to the Way Forward deal. Copies
>available from their web site (which contains lots of other good stuff
>about the One Big Union): http://members.xoom.com.iwwuk/ or by post (with
>a donation if possible) from Ray, 42 Winifred Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15
>3PU. The Way Forward package although nationally negotiated has caused
>considerable discontent in a number of CWU branches particularly over
>Saturday overtime working. Unofficial action took place in north London
>for five days involving some 2,500 postal workers during the summer in
>protest against the deal. National officers are now running around trying
>to dampen down local discontent.
>Labour Party Affiliation
>Talking of postal workers full marks to CWU members who voted down a
>proposal to increase the unionís political levy to the Labour Party by 2
>pence a week to raise an extra £200,000 for Tony Blair at their conference
>this year. The rank and file also voted to end all support for Labour if
>Blair privatises any part of the post office. The CWU, though, still
>remains one of a large number of Labour Party affiliated trade unions who
>are about to trump up £8 million to try to help get New Labour re-elected.
>TUNa calls for all activists in affiliated unions to campaign against
>affiliation and for the money to be spent instead on members. Andy
>Gilchrist the new general secretary of the fire fighter's unions says ìthe
>government and Labour councils aren't doing us any favours. Iíd be lying
>if I didnít admit that there was pressure to disaffiliateî. The run up to
>the general election is an ideal time to raise affiliation and point out
>to members what a waste of their money it is. Labour has done the unions
>no favour at all and affiliation brings no benefits. In the health service
>for example the non affiliated Royal College of Nursing and British
>Medical Association has far more clout with the government than Unison.
>Anarchists can push for motions to be put to their union's conference
>calling for disaffiliation as well as encouraging individual union members
>not to pay the affiliation fee. And don't be fooled. Disaffiliation
>doesn't mean that unions cannot have political funds or campaign. By the
>way the membership of trade unions has increased while Labour Party
>membership has fallen.
>&#61550; September 3 Burston Strike School Rally, celebration of the
>longest strike in history (0208 843 9591)
>&#61550; September 11-14 TUC Congress, Scottish Exhibition Conference
>Centre, Glasgow.
>&#61550; September 23 national rally against the Labour Party,
>Brighton,1pm Preston Park September 26 WTO/IMF meeting Prague
>&#61550; October 14 Anarchist Bookfair, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,
>London, 10am
>&#61550; October 16-22 European Health and Safety at Work Week
>&#61550; October 21 Anti Union Law Demo London
>&#61550; November 28 No Shop Day! Contact: Enough! 0161 226 6668
>Check out the Anarchist Federation's News Diary on their web site for up
>to date information about what is going on:
><http:/burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/news/index.html> or contact them at: 84b
>Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX
>&#61550; If you live in the South West and want to keep up to date with
>whatís going on in radical circles send some stamps to: Action South West,
>Box 31, Greenleaf Bookshop, Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB and they will
>send you a copy of Action South West.
>&#61550; TUNa was interested to read that the TUC made a surplus (that's
>profit to you and me) of £865,000 last year. Wonder what they'll spend it
>on? Probably more leaflets on social partnership..
>&#61550; Three cheers for Erewash Council who sacked their chief executive
>and used his wages to employ five new road sweepers. No cheers for
>Barclays whose chief executive closed 170 branches last year and got rid
>of 6,500 staff. His reward a big fat bonus of £30.5 million. Actually the
>closed branches are only estimated to have saved Barclays £10 million so
>perhaps they could take a leaf out of Erewash Council's book and dump
>their boss and save a bit more money.
>&#61550; At the start of August over 500 Unison health workers employed by
>the Dudley Group of hospitals in the West Midlands took industrial action
>to try to stop their jobs being pushed into the private sector. Mark New,
>Unison branch secretary said, "There is no good reason to transfer the
>staff. Our members are very worried that their pay, terms and conditions
>will be undermined in the private sector. They already work hard for poor
>pay yet they are proud to work for the NHS and want to continue to do so."
>83% voted in favour of strike action. Further information from: Mark New
>(07970 788873).
>&#61550; A new international trade union for dock workers has just been
>formed by dock delegates from 85 ports in 13 countries world wide who met
>at a three day conference organised by the Spanish Dockworker's union. The
>new organisation called the International Dockworkers Council (IDC)
>represents more than 30,000 dock workers world wide. The international
>secretariate is held by the sacked Liverpool dock workers. Contact:
>Initiative Factory, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ, tel: 00 44 151207
>2148 and email: dockers at gn.apc.org
>&#61550; The London Anarchist Forum, which meets every Friday at Conway
>Hall, Red Lion Square, now has a web site and email address:
>www.trak.to/LAF and LAF at anarchic.co.uk
>Mumia Must Live!
>American radical journalist Mumia Abu Jamal remains on death row following
>his wrongful imprisonment. Mumia is a firm supporter of trade unions who
>has said that he would rather die than cross a picket line. American
>workers have been organising support for the campaign to free him. At the
>start of the year over 100 delegates from 32 American unions and Labour
>Councils gathered for the first ever labour conference for Mumia. The
>trade unionists present were pushing for a massive labour campaign of
>justice including a nationwide day of action. Support for Mumia amongst
>British unions seems much slower getting off the ground (let us know if
>anything has been happening in your union to support him). There are
>meetings of Mumia's support campaign on the second and fourth Sundays of
>the month at Conway Hall in London (email: mumia at callnetuk.com).
>Contacting TUNa
>To join the network for a year just send six stamps to the Derby address
>with your contact details or email us and we'll send the newsletter for
>free.Let us know which (if any) union you belong to. Unison anarchist
>network can also be contacted via these contacts.
>&#61623; By post: Box EMAB (ATU), 88 Abbey Street, Derby, DE22 3SQ
>&#61623; By email: williamgodwin7 at hotmail.com
>&#61623; Email discussion/news group, subscribe to: atu at listbot.com
>&#61623; Website: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2522
>If a US worker earning $25,000 in 1994 had got the same increases in pay
>as their boss they would be earning $138,350 today. Just thought youíd
>like to know!
>@nti-copywrite: copy and distribute!
>News of interest to anarchist from Revolt
> http://flag.blackened.net/revolt
> *******

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