The Socialist 1 November 2007 |
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London and South East regional conference
Over 70 trade unionists and activists gathered in London on 21 October to further build upon the recent successful national launch of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).
Annoesjka Valent, steering committee NSSN
Dave Chapple, national chair of the NSSN opened the conference after which delegates discussed the recent postal strikes and what could be the best way forward for the dispute.
As well as stressing the need to rebuild workplace confidence and militancy and to fight for disputes to be run democratically by union members, many delegates also felt that we cannot ignore the relationship with the Labour government. The trade unions have an important role in building a working-class alternative to the main parties.
Paul Jackson, RMT branch secretary of London Underground Engineering Branch spoke about the recent Metronet victory. RMT members had gone on strike and won protection for their pensions after the company went bust.
And Rob Kelsall, GMB full-time officer and candidate for GMB deputy general secretary in the forthcoming elections, further stressed the need for building a strong shop stewards' network in order to fight the bosses' attacks.
Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association closed the meeting and explained how their union had been able to defy the government's attacks by effectively organising shop stewards in the prisons.
An NSSN regional committee was elected. Everyone went away inspired to go out and spread the word about the shop stewards' network so we can further build an effective rank and file movement and start to give the bosses a real fright again!