Thursday, 17 November 2011

Labour Party supporting 30 November strikes - at least in Enfield!


I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when I saw the flyer above, too much to take in at once. Labour Party in anti-cuts public meeting shocker. Labour Party public meeting with trade union speakers shocker, etc.

But it is not just happening in north London. I'm hearing rumours from up and down the country that Labour Party branches and bodies are passing motions supporting the unions' industrial action on 30 November. Labour Members of the Scottish Parliament were pledging not to go into work out of solidarity.

The Labour Party was based on trade unions, to give 'labour' - working class people - a political voice. Many have tried to push the unions out of Labour but working class people will always need a political voice, their interests are different from those of the people who employ them. Their experience of collectivity and cooperation implies a different way of running society from the competitive system we have now. So may there be many more Labour Party meetings against the cuts!

This one in Enfield is near enough for people in Barnet to get to, I reckon, if you want to hear the union bigwigs outlining the arguments for the strikes on 30 November. I very much hope to go.


David Duff said...

Always keen to help so may I suggest a question for you to put to 'Comrade' Prentis?

"The number of votes in favour of strike action from your members amounted to 22.5% of the total membership, that is, less than a quarter? On what grounds do you maintain that is a sufficient mandate?"

And, if you have a chance for a follow up question:

"How embarrassingly tiny will the turnout have to be for you to call the whole thing off and stop being an over-paid tosser?"

There you are, Vicki, that should enhance your rep with the 'bruvvers'!

Mrs Angry said...

Hmm. Mr David Duff, I had not suspected that you were a secret LibDem and a fan of proportional representation. Adn just remind me, when your beloved Margaret Thatcher entered Downing Street in 1979, was she not doing so with the third lowest percentage of the vote since the second world war? Ah. But what a blessing that was, and how fondly we recall that golden age ...

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

Hello, DD,

As Mrs Angry says, the vote is valid - what's good enough for the government, Boris Johnson, etc, eh?

However, I do think turnout is an issue, although I would see it more in terms of offering a challenge to the unions to build up their infrastructure and influence.

There used to be a vast network of shop stewards in this country, which has dwindled as a result of political defeats (and defeatism), industrial changes (and decline), and so on.

There are now huge areas of economic activity where workers - to their detriment - are barely unionised and could and should be.

The demand of this campaign should be - and for the PCS is - good pensions for all, public and private sector (and state pension).

In those places where union density is higher, organisation still needs to be strengthened.

That's the challenge for the unions.

I imagine also that a spirit of demoralisation might influence turnout. People don't like the pension changes but might wonder whether a one-day strike - big as it will be - will achieve a great deal. The unions need to work on their industrial strategy: they should be talking publicly now about what are the next steps for the campaign - should the government not give in on 30 November (which I don't think it will).

I think most people expected that the unions will get the mandate: did anyone expect that the unions would not vote for this strike (they'd be mad not to)? In that case, there is less onus on people to send their ballot papers back.

I think 30 November will be massive, a big political event as well as a huge display of the power that organised workers have. But it is only a start.

P.S. I completely agree that Prentis is overpaid. Glad you are with the rank and file on that one, DD.

Mrs Angry said...

please help me: I've just committed a mortal sin and looked at Duff's blog ... it was about Lou Reed. He likes Lou Reed. I am beside myself with troubled thoughts.

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

Oh, no, now I have to go and have a look...

Mrs Angry said...

did you take a walk on the wild side?

Mrs Angry said...

I've just seen: you've been trolling a poor old man. But did you see: he was nice to me? What am I doing wrong?
He was boasting about putting up a stiff resistence, too, the old fox.

David Duff said...

Ladies, I have only one thing to say to you both - Ding-Dong!