Tema: Storbritannien fagforeninger
- Storbritannien fagforeninger
- Ralph Darlington: Official and unofficial action in the fight against anti-union laws
International Socialism Journal nr. 151, jul 16 – side 37
Note: The Conservative government’s Trade Union Act 2016—in particular the strike balloting threshold provisions—represents the most radical tightening of the rules on industrial action and trade union organisation since the Margaret Thatcher era of the 1980s.
- Mark O’Brien: Revolutionaries in the unions: The reality of the strike
International Socialism Journal nr. 147, jul 15 – side 151
Note: The debate around orientations for revolutionaries in the unions today is the result of an uncomfortable but inescapable fact: the level of trade union struggle has remained historically low for 20 years.
- Dave Lyddon: Bureaucratic mass strikes: A response to Mark O’Brien
International Socialism Journal nr. 146, apr 15 – side 145
Note: The mass strike of 30 November 2011 (N30) was the broadest and biggest ever British public sector strike and involved the largest number of women workers in any British strike. It has been discussed several times in this journal, with Mark O’Brien giving a particularly useful account of local organisation around N30, but my response will comment on some of his other points.
- Martin Upchurch: The end of the “safe space” for unions? A response to Simon Joyce
International Socialism Journal nr. 146, apr 15 – side 189
Note: Simon Joyce has written a welcome article that seeks to address why Britain’s strike record is at a historically low level. Simon’s argument is that the “confidence theory” of strike action, associated with the International Socialist tradition, is insufficient to explain contemporary labour quiescence.
- Donny Gluckstein: The question of confidence: A reply to Simon Joyce
International Socialism Journal nr. 146, apr 15 – side 203
Note: Simon Joyce’s piece “Why are there so few strikes?” in International Socialism 145 is very welcome. It asks an essential question, and Joyce clearly achieves his aim of opening a discussion.
- Simon Joyce: Why are there so few strikes?
International Socialism Journal nr. 145, jan 15 – side 119
Note: This article addresses a key issue for socialists: the current low level of strikes.
- Jack Robertson: Review: Before and after post-Fordism
International Socialism Journal nr. 142, apr 14 – side 203
Note: Sheila Cohen, Notoriously Militant: The Story of a Union Branch at Ford Dagenham (Merlin Press, 2013), £15.95
Along the stretch of the Thames Estuary that runs from Barking and the North Circular at one end, along the A13 to Thurrock Lakeside, the Dartford Crossing and the M25 at the other, lies one of the most bizarre industrialised landscapes in the UK.
- A history of attacks on unions’ political funds
Socialist Worker nr. 2362, jul 13 – side 17
Note: Unions are not legally allowed to support a political party in any way out of the general fund raised from members’ subscriptions. They have to set up a separate political fund.
- Julie Sherry: Unions: Taking the temperature
Socialist Review nr. 382, jul 13 – side 14
Note: The union conference season has just finished. Julie Sherry looks at the mood among the activists who hold union organisation together in workplaces across Britain and asks what we can learn about the prospects for resistance to the Tories and employers.
- John McLoughlin: Unison conference: Frustration, anger and demands for a fight
Socialist Worker nr. 2358, jun 13 – side 19
Note: Council workers from around Britain came to Liverpool this week for the Unison union’s local government sector conference.
- Sadie Robinson: More workers join unions as austerity bites
Socialist Worker nr. 2357, jun 13 – side 17
Note: Right wingers like to paint trade unionists as dinosaurs that are dying out. But union membership in Britain is going up.
- What We Think: More workers in unions
Socialist Worker nr. 2356, jun 13 – side 5
Note: More workers were members of trade unions in Britain last year than in 2011, according to new government figures.
- Jerry Hicks – a rank and file challenge: now organise!
Socialist Review nr. 380, maj 13 – side 18
Note: Jerry Hicks stood as a rank and file candidate in the recent elections for the general secretary of Unite, the biggest union in Britain. He received 79,819 votes, 36 percent of the vote. Socialist Review spoke to Jerry about why he stood and the lessons of the campaign.
- Jerry Hicks: ‘We need to take a lead in the fight’
Socialist Worker nr. 2343, mar 13 – side 17
Note: Voting for the next general secretary of the Unite union opens later this month – rank and file candidate Jerry Hicks argues for a new approach to fight the cuts.
- Dave Sewell: Battle is on for a fighting Unite union
Socialist Worker nr. 2340, feb 13 – side 8
Note: More than 100 branches and workplaces of the Unite union have nominated blacklisted engineer Jerry Hicks to be their new general secretary.
- Martin Smith: Britain’s trade unions: the shape of things to come
International Socialism Journal nr. 131, jul 11 – side 17
Note: The past has been
A mint of blood and sorrow—
That must not be
True of tomorrow.
Langston Hughes wrote the short poem “History”, just as the US labour movement rose like a phoenix out of the ashes of the devastation of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- Siobhan Brown: Book review: Mary Davis (ed): Class and Gender in British Labour History
Socialist Review nr. 359, jun 11 – side 27
Note: This is a varied collection of essays, interesting for the most part, covering women's involvement in the British labour movement. The essays cover a diverse geographical area, with the focus moving away from London to discuss women's trade unionism in areas such as Bradford, Leeds and Scotland. Its content also covers an extended time period, from Bradford weavers of the 1820s to the Leeds clothing workers of the 1970s, providing a broad assessment.
- Yuri Prasad: Judge orders trust to reinstate Yunus Bakhsh
Socialist Worker nr. 2249, apr 11 – side 6
Note: Yunus Bakhsh, the high profile nurse and activist who was unlawfully sacked for trade union activities, won reinstatement at an employment tribunal last week.
- Charlie Kimber: Right to Work conference: We need action to stop jobs massacre
Socialist Worker nr. 2185, jan 10 – side 16
Note: The massacre of thousands of jobs this week shows the central importance of the Right to Work conference on 30 January in Manchester.
- Jonathon Shafi: Right to work: Conference call for all workers
Socialist Worker nr. 2184, jan 10 – side 16
Note: Young workers who are unionising new workplaces will be joining other delegates at the upcoming Right to Work conference.
- Chris Bambery: Right to Work: Building resistance to cuts and job losses
Socialist Worker nr. 2181, dec 09 – side 4
Note: Workers are told that the recession is easing and things are getting better, but still hardly a week goes by without job cuts. It is against this backdrop that the Right to Work conference will take place.
- Matthew Cookson: Is there pattern in raids on cleaners?
Socialist Worker nr. 2161, jul 09 – side 6
Note: Immigration officers arrested seven cleaners in a raid at the central London building of global insurance giant Willis on Tuesday of last week. All were employed by the contractor Mitie and all face deportation.
- Yuri Prasad: Battle is on for postal workers
Socialist Worker nr. 2161, jul 09 – side 16
Note: The fight for the future of Royal Mail is intensifying.
Demands by leading activists in the postal workers’ CWU union for a national strike to beat back attacks by management have reached fever pitch after a third day of successful strike action across London, and parts of England and Scotland, on Friday of last week.
- Mark Dolan: Step up the post strikes to win
Socialist Worker nr. 2160, jul 09 – side 16
Note: The fight by postal workers against Royal Mail bosses and the government that stands behind them is at a crucial stage – and the stakes could not be higher.
- Step up the post strikes to win
Socialist Worker nr. 2160, jul 09 – side 16
Note: The attacks that postal workers are facing are being driven through by Royal Mail bosses who know they have the backing of the Labour government.
Despite this the postal workers’ CWU union continues to spend thousands of pounds in affiliation fees and donations to New Labour.
- Yuri Prasad: Fighting for the union in call centres
Socialist Worker nr. 2159, jul 09 – side 8
Note: Bosses have for years managed to keep collective organisation out of most call centres but things are beginning to change
- How activists can build a union from scratch in a call centre
Socialist Worker nr. 2159, jul 09 – side 9
Note: Call centre workers from across Britain came together at a meeting at last month’s CWU conference. The meeting was unlike most others at the conference, with many of the participants far younger than the average delegate, and most at firms that do not recognise the union.
- Unjum Mirza: Union-made: Orchestrated demolition
Socialist Review nr. 338, jul 09 – side 17
Note: The 48-hour strike action taken by RMT tube workers that brought London to a virtual standstill in June has a number of lessons for us all.
- Charlie Kimber: In the balance: the class struggle in Britain
International Socialism Journal nr. 122, apr 09 – side 33
Note: “We found out on TV in late November that we were going to close. We just carried on as normal, and it wasn’t until we actually came out and we were all upset when we signed our last bits of paper that we thought, ‘Well, why did we go quietly?’ Why did 30,000 of us go quietly?”
—Jayne Maltman, Woolworths worker, February 2009.
- Revelations in Yunus Bakhsh case shake the union
Socialist Worker nr. 2137, feb 09 – side 6
Note: Attempts to witch-hunt well known health worker Yunus Bakhsh from his job and his union continue to cause a storm – particularly in the north east of England.
- How did far right know details of Yunus Bakhsh case?
Socialist Worker nr. 2134, jan 09 – side 14
Note: It has shockingly come to light that the allegations against Yunus Bakhsh were available to Nazis before Yunus knew what they were.
- Key accuser of health activist Yunus Bakhsh is a Facebook friend of BNP Nazi
Socialist Worker nr. 2134, jan 09 – side 16
Note: A most extraordinary scandal has been exposed in the case of Yunus Bakhsh, a health worker who has been sacked by his employer and expelled from the Unison union.
- Jack Robertson: Book Review: Ups and downs of the rank and file
International Socialism Journal nr. 121, jan 09 – side 173
Note: John McIlroy, Nina Fishman and Alan Campbell (eds), The Post-War Compromise: British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics 1945-64 and The High Tide of British Trade Unionism: Trade Unions and Industrial Politics 1964-79 (Merlin, 2007), £18.95 each
These two volumes bring together essays from an impressive array of contributors on different aspects of industrial politics in the British trade union movement in the years after the Second World War.
- Simon Basketter: Fight Labour’s plan to sell off Royal Mail (online only)
Socialist Worker nr. 2132, dec 08
Note: Up to 50,000 postal workers jobs were put at risk yesterday after the unelected Secretary of State for Business Lord Peter Mandelson announced that he plans to sell off parts of the Royal Mail.
- Chris Bambery: Why did unions stall the pay fight?
Socialist Worker nr. 2127, nov 08 – side 16
Note: Chris Bambery takes issue with those who say that recession means workers cannot fight back
- Charlie Kimber: Stop this attack on right to strike
Socialist Worker nr. 2126, nov 08 – side 6
Note: A very serious attempt is being made by bosses and their legal jackals to extend the anti-union laws by stealth. This is a threat to every trade union and, if successful, will make it virtually impossible to organise legal strikes.
- Mark Serwotka: strikes can beat the pay limits
Socialist Worker nr. 2126, nov 08 – side 16
Note: As 270,000 civil service workers prepare to strike over pay, PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka spoke to Socialist Worker about the strike and the next steps in the campaign
- PCS decision to call off strike is missed opportunity (online only)
Socialist Worker nr. 2126, nov 08
Note: The PCS national executive committee has voted to suspend the strike over pay by 270,000 civil service workers, which was set to take place on Monday. The executive voted to suspend the strike for four weeks to allow three weeks of talks.
- Teachers vote for action but NUT executive rules out strikes (online only)
Socialist Worker nr. 2126, nov 08
Note: Teachers in the NUT union have voted narrowly in favour of taking several days of national strike action against their below-inflation pay offer. Yet despite this, the NUT executive will not call any action.
- Amanda Logan: Union-made: Standing up room only
Socialist Review nr. 330, nov 08 – side 17
Note: Thousands of bus workers across London have been part of a defiant fight against the privatised bus companies.
The roots of the militancy can be traced back to November 2006 when Metroline drivers took on the employers and won after two days of strike action. It proved that drivers didn't need to be afraid of standing up to their employers. It was like a burst of fresh air that was long overdue.
- Paul Williams + Andy Reid + Sue Bond: Civil service pay strikes to hit Gordon Brown hard
Socialist Worker nr. 2125, nov 08 – side 16
Note: Monday 10 November will see a national strike by around 270,000 civil service workers in the PCS union. This will be the latest stage in the battle of public sector workers against Gordon Brown’s pay curbs.
- Mark Serwotka: Union-made: Finding our voice
Socialist Review nr. 329, okt 08 – side 17
Note: On occasion I get mail (some of it signed) telling me to stick to union issues and stay out of politics.
But what a hospital cleaner, tanker driver or civil servant gets paid compared to, say, a commodities trader or chief executive of a bank is political. And the government's policy of holding down public sector wages in a time of rampant inflation has made it doubly so.
- Sean Vernell: With the workers always
Socialist Review nr. 329, okt 08 – side 22
Note: Profound economic crisis and renewed militancy from the working class means the relevance of Marxist ideas for 21st century trade unionism, and the role socialists can play within the movement, is worth revisiting.
- Simon Basketter: Step up the fight to win decent pay
Socialist Worker nr. 2119, sep 08 – side 16
Note: The pay revolt against Gordon Brown’s government can win. There is a real potential for combined strikes and united action that could transform the political landscape of Britain.
- Simon Basketter: TUC conference: Union leaders reflect growing pay anger
Socialist Worker nr. 2118, sep 08 – side 4
Note: Simon Basketter reports from Brighton on a changed mood among union leaders and growing calls for action at this years’ TUC conference
- Nick Grant: Pay revolt: Teachers will ballot for national strike action
Socialist Worker nr. 2118, sep 08 – side 5
Note: The executive of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) agreed unanimously last week to ballot members for discontinuous strike action against a below inflation 2.45 percent pay deal.
- Matthew Cookson: TUC conference: Don’t let workers pay for the crisis
Socialist Worker nr. 2117, sep 08 – side 5
Note: Next week’s TUC conference is a crucial opportunity to up the stakes in the battle against Gordon Brown’s pay curbs, writes Matthew Cookson
- Charlie Kimber: Pay Freeze: Learn from the past to shape the future
Socialist Review nr. 328, sep 08 – side 10
Note: As increasing numbers of workers take action over pay Charlie Kimber examines the political dimension of the strikes and looks at the lessons we can learn from the past.
- Sadie Robinson + Matthew Cookson: Growing industrial battle on London transport
Socialist Worker nr. 2114, aug 08 – side 6
Note: Matthew Cookson and Sadie Robinson report on a series of disputes on the buses and the underground that show a determined mood to fight back.
- Judith Orr + Michael Bradley: The crisis fuels discontent
Socialist Review nr. 327, jul 08 – side 15
Note: Global economic turmoil has led to food riots abroad and spiralling inflation in Britain. Michael Bradley and Judith Orr report on the growing resentment towards the crisis-ridden Labour government
- Richard Allday: Union-made: Shell tanker drivers' strike – oil on troubled waters
Socialist Review nr. 327, jul 08 – side 17
Note: "The Shell drivers have driven a coach and horses through the Brown and Darling pay freeze," said Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, after the Shell tanker drivers won a 14 percent pay deal last month.
- Mark Serwotka: Union-made: United we stay
Socialist Review nr. 326, jun 08 – side 7
Note: The PCS civil service workers' union conference last month may turn out to have been the most significant in the union's ten year history.
- Charlie Kimber: Pay, the fightback... and how much do you spend on your horse?
Socialist Review nr. 326, jun 08 – side 13
Note: Many workers are gaining confidence to join the resistance to pay cuts and privatisation. Charlie Kimber assesses the pressure on Gordon Brown from below.
- Sean Vernell: Union-made: UCU strike ballot: Time to pay up
Socialist Review nr. 324, apr 08 – side 17
Note: Some 45,000 Further and Adult Education lecturers in the University College Union (UCU) are being balloted for strike action over pay alongside teachers on 24 April.
- Les Skarratts: Union-made: Let the people decide: Merseyside FBU considers standing in elections
Socialist Review nr. 323, mar 08 – side 17
Note: Once again public services are under attack. The current round of government grant settlements, essential money for local authorities from central government, has been decided.
- Alex Kenny: Union-made: Schools out!
Socialist Review nr. 322, feb 08 – side 15
Note: The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is preparing to ballot over 200,000 members in England and Wales for strike action against below inflation pay rises.
- Gloria Doherty: Union-made: A striking tale
Socialist Review nr. 321, jan 08 – side 13
Note: I've been a fully paid up member of Unison for 19 years. And until we took action for eight weeks against the single status process at the end of last year, I had never even been on strike.
- Karen Reissmann: Union-made: Unity in action
Socialist Review nr. 320, dec 07 – side 17
Note: On 5 November I was sacked after 25 years from the job I loved as a community psychiatric nurse. Three days later 150 community mental health workers went on strike indefinitely for my reinstatement.
- Matthew Cookson: Workers to hit back on May Day
Socialist Worker nr. 2043, mar 07 – side 20
Note: Tuesday 1 May is set to see a major strike in defence of public services as the PCS civil service workers’ union steps up its action against job cuts, low pay and privatisation.
- Karin Ladefoged: Typografstrejke i England: Stop Murdoch
Socialistisk Arbejderavis nr. 18, mar 86 – side 3
Note: I januar fyrede bladkongen Rupert Murdoch sine 6000 ansatte og flyttede hele produktionen til Wapping. 500 elektrikere, rekrutteret af elektrikernes fagforening EETPU, overtog arbejdet på det superkontrollerede computertrykkeri.
- Janet Ure-Smith: A J Cook and the limits of syndicalism
Socialist Review nr. 66, jun 84 – side 7
Note: Fleet Street thrives on images of Arthur Scargill as a power-crazed, egocentric madman. But Scragill is not the first miners’ leader to have newspaper editors foaming at the mouth. Here Jane Ure Smith recalls another.
- Richard Hyman: British trade unionism: post-war trends and future prospects
International Socialism Journal nr. 8, mar 80 – side 64
Note: I am happy to accept the invitation to respond to Steve Jefferys’ article analysing modern British trade unionism.
- Duncan Hallas: Trade unionists and revolution – A response to Richard Hyman
International Socialism Journal nr. 8, mar 80 – side 80
Note: Response to Hyman: British trade unionism: post-war trends and future prospects in this issue.
No marxist can quarrel with Richard Hyman’s point that ‘awareness of historical continuity is essential’ for understanding not only ‘wartime workplace organisation’ but also more generally.
- John Deason: Notes of the Month: AUEW Elections
International Socialism Journal (1st series) nr. 79, jun 75 – side 6
Note: Right winger John Boyd has swept in as General Secretary of the Engineering Union with 164,276 votes against Broad Left candidate Bob Wright’s 96,216. This, the most dramatic victory for the right wing inside the union for years, has delighted the bosses’ press, who campaigned so hard for it.
- John Deason: The Broad Left in the AUEW
International Socialism Journal (1st series) nr. 79, jun 75 – side 8
Note: THE AUEW, second biggest union in the country, is generally considered the most important of the ‘left wing’ unions. In contrast to its giant partner on the left, the Transport and General Workers Union, the AUEW has maintained an official ‘left’ stance on most issues.
- Editorial 3: Trade Union ‘Reform’
International Socialism Journal (1st series) nr. 34, sep 68 – side 3
Note: ‘Our problem,’ Donovan declared, ‘is the strike which is both unofficial and unconstitutional.’
- Joyce Rosser + Colin Barker: A Working-Class Defeat: The ENV Story
International Socialism Journal (1st series) nr. 31, dec 67 – side 21
Note: The initial emergence of ENV as a militant factory seems to have taken place in the period after the War, and particularly in the latter years of the Labour Government. In the context of a Government wage freeze, supported by the great majority of union executives, shop-floor action in support of local wage claims gradually developed.
- Michael Kidron: The economic background of the recent strikes
International Socialism Journal (1st series) nr. 001, jun 58 – side 57
Note: Two things emerge clearly from the recent strikes in London. The first is that they are consistent with a trend – noticeable in the fifties – of sharpening industrial struggles growing in severity and scope.
The second – that the Labour movement is as yet unprepared for the battles implicit in such a trend ideologically and organisationally, and this despite incidents of remarkable self-sacrifice and devotion to principle on the part of the workers involved.
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