trade union bureaucracy

People's Assembly: the next steps

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The People's Assembly (PA) recall conference is set to take place on Saturday 15 March with local PAs, affiliated union branches and campaigns able to send delegates. It comes at a time when there is a need to debate the way forward in the battle against austerity. This is an important event for socialists and activists.

The launch meeting in June 2013 drew over 4,000 people while local rallies have drawn hundreds of people. In some places meetings have been the biggest since the anti-war movement was at its height.

So why isn't there a bigger fightback?

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The obvious question, given the popular hostility to neoliberalism, is why isn't there a higher level of fightback especially in the workplace against austerity and an unprecedented assault on working class living standards?

The class struggle in Britain remains shaped by the major defeats imposed on the working class in the 1980s by both the employers and Thatcher's government. Key groups of workers, in the car and steel industry, the dockers, print workers in Fleet Street and above all the miners after their year-long strike in 1984-85 were taken on and beaten.

The stamp of militancy

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One hundred years ago thousands of workers took part in what became known as the Great Dublin Lockout.

The Irish state postal service recently issued a series of stamps showing scenes from the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913. The stamps are very handsome, but this isn't the point. Rather it is the irony of the government issuing them being responsible for imposing the worst cuts in living memory on Irish workers. This shows how important it is to properly recall the memory of the events of 1913. For the lockout is not just the most important struggle of the Irish working class; it is also one of the most important industrial episodes in British history.

Start with solidarity

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Mark Bergfeld responds to Sandy Nicoll from last months issue on the Pop-Up Union at Sussex university. Here he argues that our starting point has to be solidarity

In recent months there have been major developments at Sussex University. Two of the main unions on campus (UCU and Unite) held consultative ballots, forcing the third union Unison into a corner. In a rigorous three-page questionnaire more than 85 percent of Unison members ticked the box calling for industrial action. And yet, there is no intention of going on strike.

Peoples Assembly : what can it deliver?

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The People's Assembly will be a focus for many wanting to see a fightback. Charlie Kimber argues this is welcome, but we need to address the role of trade union leaders and the Labour Party if we are to build a movement that can break the government and its savage austerity programme

On 22 June, unless you have a very good excuse, you must be at the People's Assembly in London. Practically every trade union leader is scheduled to be in one room alongside hundreds of rank and file activists as well as people who have led campaigns against the bedroom tax, fought to defend the NHS and headed up the revolt by disabled people.

Are "Pop-Up" unions the way forward?

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The emergence of the Pop-Up union at Sussex University has raised important debates about how to organise in the unions and how to address the inertia of the union officials.

Some argue that the Pop-Up union represents an innovative approach to overcoming the conservatism of the trade union bureaucracy (see, for example, the article by Mark Bergfeld in Ceasefire magazine http://tinyurl.com/nuqg4xt).

Organising to resist

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The retreat by union leaders over the pensions struggle shaped last year. What are the prospects for a renewal of resistance in 2013? Socialist Review spoke to Michael Bradley, from the SWP's industrial office, about the prospects for strikes and how socialists in the unions should organise

2012 was dominated by the retreat over the pensions struggle. What do you think is the balance sheet of that experience and what lessons can we draw from it?

The Nasty, Meek and Militant: How to get the unions back in the fight

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The great potential of the 30 November strike is in danger of being frittered away after unions called off national strikes on 28 March. Martin Smith looks at why the pensions fight has hit a roadblock and how we can restart the fightback

I write this article on 28 March (M28), the day that around 70,000 teachers and lecturers belonging to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU) struck across London to defend their pensions.

Pressure at the top

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The mass strike on 30 November struck a heavy blow against the government and its cuts agenda. But since then some union leaders have put the breaks on. Julie Sherry assesses the role of the trade union bureaucracy and looks at how workers can increase the pressure for more strikes

The fightback against the Tories' vicious attacks reached a magnificent level in November with the biggest strike in Britain since 1926.

The sheer scale of the action boosted the confidence of workers everywhere. To have close to a million workers on marches in towns and cities across the entire country, with over two million striking, was by any standard an incredible show of working class strength.

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