Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unity is strength - but how do we get there?

Yesterday I went to the fringe meeting of the Trade Union Coordinating Group, launched at last year's TUC by four unions, and now co-ordinating the political work of eight unions.

The TUCG unions (PCS, the FBU, RMT, the NUJ, POA, BFAWU, NAPO and URTU) are getting beyond the splendid isolation often preferred by the largest unions and supporting one another in an assertive and combative way.

(In fact they are doing what the TUC should do but does not).

Within the biggest unions, which will not yet sign up to such an initiative, we need to build unity at a rank and file level - and the most important use of being at the TUC for a socialist is to renew contact with comrades in other unions, which will be particularly important given the scale of the coming onslaught upon our members.

Just as Gordon Brown's dreary speech offered far too little far too late to working people, so it is hard to believe in the fine content of some of the Composite Motions agreed this week.

Mark Serwotka pointed out yesterday that whereas when the unions stood together over pensions a few years ago we saw a more positive outcome than we would have - last year's Congress decision to take united action over pay was not implemented and we have ended up with lousy pay settlements as a result.

The unity we need is not so much at Congress (though that is good) but on the streets and picket lines.

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