Trade Unions

Political Fund: Value for Money?

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New Labour's attacks on trade unionists has provided an important argument about political affiliation.

There will be an intense debate this year in almost every union conference about the link between the Labour Party and the trade unions. No one should underestimate the seismic shift that has been going on for the last couple of years and which has quickened massively even in the last few weeks.

Up the Barbara

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Add up housing costs and average wages and £30k looks modest.

It seems to have come as quite a shock to lots of different people that train drivers on the London Underground already get paid £30,000 a year. Strike a light, guv, they must all be 'anging aht in penthouse suites up the old Barbara*, an' no mistake! Up to a few years ago, anybody getting this kind of money--even in London--would be doing pretty well. But it's by no means a spectacular whack in 2002.

Ken and Barry Go Off

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Who will miss the trade unions' lousiest right wing double act?

So, off you go then Ken and Barry, quite possibly the lousiest double act ever to have trodden the boards. Mercifully yanked off stage by the great umbrella handle of history. All that's left is to look forward to your villas in Marbella, your bolthole of choice. The rather flustered-looking stage manager, Mr Blair, will no doubt be hoping that the rest of us put the miserable duo to the back of our minds ASAP.

Dinosaurs Have Some Backbone

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Trade unionists are beginning to flex their muscles.

Once again trade unions are hitting the headlines. But no longer do journalists write about the death of the British trade union movement. Now all the talk is of the left winning union elections, trade union demonstrations and one-day strikes. Two key issues are fuelling this revival of class struggle at the moment. By far the most important is pay.

Blair's Paranoid Androids

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New Labour stooges appear to be incapable of winning a trade union election.

Something of a pattern appears to have been emerging in recent elections for the top positions in key unions. For an organisation which feigns indifference to anything which might be going on in such supposedly obsolescent realms, New Labour has developed a fixation with the outcome of these votes bordering on the paranoid. In the process, it has resorted to a degree of trickery worthy of old Uncle Joe.

Funds for the Future

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New Labour can no longer take the trade unions' money for granted.

For over 100 years the trade union movement has supported the Labour Party both politically and financially. Last year alone trade unions donated £10 million to Labour's coffers. But, as last month's Socialist Alliance trade union conference showed, New Labour can no longer take that support for granted. With over 1,000 trade unionists attending, it was the biggest unofficial trade union gathering in over two decades. The key debate was the question of opening up the unions' political funds to parties that oppose privatisation, defend union rights and protect jobs.

Labour and the Unions: We are Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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RMT activist Greg Tucker explains how growing radicalisation is leading to a rift between New Labour and the unions.

The RMT leadership was always proud of the deep links between Labour and the union at all levels. At the top the RMT sponsored half the shadow cabinet and had great expectations of a Labour government. A significant number of union activists had been encouraged to become Labour councillors and at the grassroots the union boasted the highest density of party membership of any trade union.

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