Sunday, 10 October 2010

Unite brings together activists to fight cuts

On Thursday October 7 around 80 union activists from Unite the Union gathered in central London to start a new network for workplace reps.
They came from the public, private, and voluntary sector and heard joint general secretary Tony Woodley talk about the crisis facing workers with attacks looming on jobs, pensions and community services.
The meeting, at the massive union’s Theobald Street headquarters, is being mirrored by similar events in Dagenham, Heathrow and around the country.
Unite members say it's the first time that activists from different parts of the union have been encouraged to come together to share experiences and express solidarity with each other.
There was also a plug for the lobby of the UK parliament, to stop the cuts and protect public services, on Tuesday October 19 at 12.30pm.
No-one mentioned the splits between the former Amicus and TGWU sides of the merger.
Around 20 of the people present were women and half-a-dozen were from ethnic minorities.
Unite members were invited to attend by full-time officials – but those asked included members of far left groups who have been critical of the union leadership.
The union is about to elect its first lone general secretary to replace Woodley, formerly of the TGWU, and Derek Simpson, formerly of Amicus.
It was agreed that there would be no electioneering in the hall but one of the candidates, Len McCluskey, attended for a short period.
Outside the meeting leaflets were handed out for McCluskey and his rival for the left-of-centre vote Jerry Hicks.
The other candidates are Les Bayliss and Gail Cartmail.
"An excellent initiative that should be repeated in every town and city in the UK – the trade union movement needs to become one united force as it has been in the past.
"Activists from different unions working together is the next step. The National Shop Stewards Network would seem to be the perfect vehicle for this. "

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