Pix-&-Vidz of NSSN Conference 09 – Sat 27 Jun 09Tagged as: economic_crisis solidarity workers_struggles
Dateline: National Shop Stewards Network Conference 09, South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London, UK, 11:00-15:30, Sat 27 Jun 09 – On a swelteringly hot summer Saturday, hundreds of trade union militants and their supporters converged for the third annual National Shop Stewards Network Conference (NSSN-09). Whilst celebrating our class’s recent victories at Lindsey Oil Refinery, Visteon, and Linamar, nevertheless – given “New” Labour’s utter and categorical capitulation to the bankers, bosses, and bomb manufacturers – the calls came thick and fast for the re-founding of a proletarian political party.
From the Socialist Party website:
• NSSN-09 – Intro – Keith Gibson – Part 1
• NSSN-09 – Keith Gibson – Part 2
A Victory For 698 Is A Victory For All
News of the complete victory of the Lindsey Oil Refinery workers, won by wildcat strikes and widespread solidarity walkout actions, broke at the end of the week – so celebrating their success ran throughout NSSN-09 like a stick of Blackpool rock, as you can hear from the warm reception extended to Keith Gibson, of the GMB and Lindsey Oil Refinery Strike Committee, in the videos of the opening plenary. (GMB? – trade unions are second only to the IT sector in being steeped in TLAs: Three Letter Acronyms ;-) so I’ve included a Links / Glossary section below for readers who could use a little help with TU acromania).
“Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers have won a stunning victory. All the workers' demands have been met. The 647 dismissals have been withdrawn, the 51 redundancies rescinded and all employees have been guaranteed a minimum of four week's work - what they would have got if Blackett and Charlton had taken them on - ie as much work as is probably available.
This victory is not the final word. The battle is won but not the war. The employers still have their sights on breaking the national agreement and the trade unions. But this victory has strengthened the workers resistance. The employers, both Total and the sub-contractors, completely underestimated the workforce. The mass sackings made it clear that the dispute was about effective trade unionism and the national agreement.
The employers have completely capitulated. They still want to break the national agreement but they have been weakened. Now a national ballot organised by both the unions is underway taking up the employers' refusal to make a pay offer or give any guarantees of employment security. Buoyed by this victory the ballot should receive a big yes vote. The employers and the government will know that if they don't concede engineering construction workers will strike until their demands are met.”
~ Alistair Tice, from Lindsey Workers: Militant Action Pays!
The way in which mass unofficial industrial direct action, buoyed up by widespread solidarity walkout actions, swept aside the anti-trade union laws – passed by the Tories, enforced by “New” Labour – was a cause for much celebration.
“When you’ve got bad laws, you’ve got to break them!”
~ Brian Caton, General Secretary, Prison Officers Association
News From The Grassroots
• Mark Palfrey, London Divisional Representative for Communication Workers Union members, told us of a rolling program of industrial direct action throughout July in London, involving 141 Royal Mail workplaces and 11,000+ posties. The results of the extra strike ballot taken on Mon 22 Jun 09 at the three huge Mail Centres in London will be announced on Tue 30 Jun 09 – and a massive yes-to-strike-action result is anticipated. Balloting is also afoot in London on stopping funding the “New” Labour Party.
• An impassioned Mark Hoskisson, Liverpool Trade Union Council Secretary, invited us to mobilise for a March of Rank-&-File Trade Unionists on the 141st Congress of the Trade Union Congress in Liverpool on Sun 13 Sep 09.
• Yunus Bakhsh, one of the most prominent trade union activists in the NHS, has been sacked by his employer, AND hounded out of UNISON, and his campaign needs and deserves your support – see the Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign link below.
• Sheila Cohen, author of “Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power, and How to Get It Back”, championed the “Troublemaker’s Handbook 2” produced by the labour movement in the USA, and told of her plan to produce a “Troublemaker’s Handbook” for the UK – see the Links section below for links to these books, and photo B9A above for how to contact Sheila with tips on good workplace organisation or victories to report.
• Dave Nellist, Socialist Party Coventry City Councillor, highlighted the need for a new proletarian political party, and mentioned as how he’d written to all 151 trades councils in the UK about the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party.
• Sandy Nicholl, UNISON Branch Chair at the School of Oriental and African Studies, told of the dawn raid by 40 riot cops, instigated by cleaning contractor company ISS, against cleaners who’d struggled for and won the London Living Wage, and the massive solidarity campaign that’s sprung up around the consequent SOAS Student Occupation.
• Unjum Mirza, of RMT Stratford no.1 branch, and Political Officer for the London Transport region, spoke of the recent hugely successful 48-hour strike by Tube Workers in London – to see the links section below for details of the Tube Workers Support Group.
• Pete Farrell, of UCATT, told of the “Justice for the Shrewsbury 24 Pickets” campaign, and of their March for Trades Union Justice in Shrewsbury next Sat, 04 Jul 09 – see photo C8A above for details.
My apologies for any name mis-spellings, and for not reporting on all the contributions-from-the-floor (note-2-self: gotta scribble down more notes in future). And I had to leave at 15:30 for the first Open Decision-Making Gathering of THE Labour Party, so I didn’t get to cover the closing plenary.
Screw “New” Labour
If one other common theme emerged, it was the acknowledgement that the UK working class no longer has a political party to represent its interests in the bosses’ Parliament. Some thought that we need to get together yet another electoral party, while others thought that continuing to thus lend legitimacy to the bastardised, dis-empowering, bourgeois-democratic circus would be self-defeating. But one thing seems clear – the glaring contradiction of taking union subs money from workers who are under attack from “New” Labour policies and politicians, then paying huge sums of union money to the “New” Labour Party, has got to end ASAP – you don’t keep giving the school bully your dinner money, you unite, combine, get organised, and give the bully the sound kicking he deserves!
Links / Glossary
Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power and How to Get It Back
by Sheila Cohen
2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery strikes
Ford Visteon – a Fight for Justice
Justice for SOAS Cleaners – Stop Deportations!
• Rob Williams reinstatement a victory for all workers
Tube Workers Support Group
» http://tubeworkerssupportgroup.pbworks.com – Open Collaborative Workspace Website
» http://groups.google.com/group/tubeworkerssupportgroup – email list
Unions & Campaigns
Campaign for a New Workers’ Party
Communication Workers Union (CWU)
Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign
Britain's General Union
Ian Allinson's UNITE Site
Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets
National Shop Stewards Network
National Union of Teachers (NUT)
No2EU - Yes to Democracy
Prison Officers Association (POA)
Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
THE Labour Party
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW)
UNISON – the public service trade union
Unite the Union
Tue 30 Jun 09, 17:30-18:30
Our Cleaners are not Criminals – Let Them Stay!
SOAS Cleaners Protest – Lobby the Home Office
Location: Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, Millbank, London SW1P 4DF
Staff and students at SOAS are calling for Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office, to grant leave to remain with permission to work for Marina Silva and Rosa dePerez, two of the SOAS cleaners picked up in a brutal immigration raid on 12thJune. Marina, who is 63 and has applied for asylum, following het brutal honour killing of her husband and threats to her own life, and Rosa, who has four children to support in Nicaragua, remain in detention following the raid. Their colleagues, including six months pregnant Luzia, were deported within 48 hours of the raid.
Sat 04 Jul 09
Mili-Band @ Kingsnorth Power Station, North Kent
The Mili-band will bring together over a thousand people from across the country to create a human band around Kingsnorth power station to show our opposition to new dirty coal plants. A coalition of groups including Oxfam, the World Development Movement, the RSPB, the Woodcraft Folk and the National Union of Students have come together to show the broad spectrum of people standing up for action to save the climate. There will be music, games, refreshments, and most important, a powerful message to government that building a new dirty coal plant at Kingsnorth will not be tolerated.
Sat 04 Jul 09
March Against State Conspiracy @ Shrewsbury, Shropshire
During the 1970s building workers were framed - sent to jail and fined - as a warning to other workers not to engage in struggle.
As the Recession deepens, workers will be forced into struggle in defence of jobs, wages and services. How will the State react this time, and what will our leaders do? Let us expose the conspiracy that surrounds the ‘Shrewsbury’ trials and be better prepared for what is fast approaching.
Fri 10 Jul 09, 16:00-18:00
Put the “Independent” Police Complaints Commission on Trial!
On Friday July 10th it will be 100 days since the death of Ian Tomlinson. To mark this sad occasion, and to show solidarity with the Tomlinson family and the countless other families and friends still awaiting justice the United Campaign Against Police Violence asks you to join us in putting the Independent Police Complaints Commission on trial.
WHERE: IPCC HQ, 90 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6BH
WHY: Currently those who police the police have shown themselves to be neither independent nor just. We are going to hold our own public investigation and trial of the IPCC and invite all those with complaints to bring them down to be aired (and judged) in public. We also come to stand in solidarity with all victims of police brutality, their families and their friends.
Fri 17 Jul 09, 17:37-20:00
Bonuses are Back Pig Party!
Snouts in the trough, come and be a PIG!
Location: Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH
They thought they chased us out of town on April 1. Well we're back! The Bonuses are Back Big Time! Come and get your fill!
Pigswill Party on the steps of the Bank of England, Friday July 17, 5:37 p.m. precisely!
Head down, snouts in the trough, all at the taxpayers' expense, hahahahaha we're laughing all the way to the Bank!
Pig snouts provided, trough provided, pigswill provided, courtesy of the taxpayer!
All breeds of PIG welcome to chow down:
Pigs on the Beat – filth, fuzz, rozzers
Right Honourable Pig MPs
Turn up with your accessories – pinstripe/bowler/cigar, handcuffs/truncheon/helmet, or rosettes for prize-winning Pig MPs – and we guarantee to turn YOU into a PIG!
Hope to see you on the streets,
Up the Revolution,
Tim Dalinian Jones
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