The Socialist 14 June 2017 |
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NSSN conference: workers' action to kick out the Tories
Liverpool photo RMT, photo RMT (Click to enlarge)
Carl Harper, CWU shop steward (personal capacity)
For the first time in the eight years that I have been a representative and activist with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), there is a Labour leader who is unapologetic in his support of trade unionism.
Jeremy Corbyn recognises and respects the historic links between the Labour Party and the trade unions and has joined union members on picket lines and demonstrations during his time as an MP.
In the build up to Corbyn's magnificent general election campaign, he said of Labour under his leadership: "Not only will we repeal the Trade Union Bill... we will extend people's rights in the workplace and give employees a real voice in the organisations they work for."
Compare this to the leaders before him that have disgracefully kept in place anti-trade union legislation introduced by Thatcher.
Despite the huge swing to Labour, particularly with support from workers and young people, we now face a 'coalition of chaos' with the Tories being propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party.
This year's National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference provides an opportunity to harness the mood of those workers and youth to make sure this weak government doesn't last and to propel that momentum into a fresh movement within the trade unions.
NSSN conference brings together representatives and activists from across the working class - NHS, education, factories and offices, of the private and public sectors.
Given the current situation, this is likely to have a feeling of a 'council of war', coordinating how best to mobilise the power of the union membership.
As a CWU representative, I will be putting forward ideas of how best to defend ourselves against the attacks on our pensions and the chaotic approach to 'efficiency savings' following privatisation, which Corbyn has pledged to reverse.
Plans for demonstrations, preparations for industrial action, and an agenda of support for Corbyn's policies will be openly discussed in a comradely and democratic manner.
Such an agenda, formed from rank-and-file members and activists, will push any trade union leaders reluctant to engage in the fight towards action and gain support from across the union movement.
I recommend not only attending yourself but inviting all activists from your workplace. If organised we can defeat the 'weak and wobbly' Tory party and lay the basis for a pro-worker Corbyn government in the near future.
National Shop Stewards Network conference 2017
The 11th annual National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference will be on Saturday 1 July 2017 from 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL.
It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners.
Speakers include: Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary (invited), Ronnie Draper, BFAWU general secretary, Steve Gillan, POA general secretary, Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, Sean Hoyle, RMT President, Linda Taaffe, NSSN national secretary, Rob Williams, NSSN national chair.