Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Sticking up for trade unions with all our heart This is the link to the TUC site promoting next week's "heart unions" week. Go there and sign up to the campaign.

(As an ageing curmudgeon and pedant I am happy to say that I love trade unionism and trade unionists but wouldn't necessarily want to "heart" them because that isn't a verb).

The "heart" symbolism is clearly intended to promote the fluffy, friendly face of trade unionism - and to win "hearts" and minds in the ongoing battle to force back this Government's unprecedented assault on our movement.

It makes sense for any working person (whether or not a union member) to care about the wellbeing of our movement. It's a plain historical truth that the unions gave us the weekend, since it was only the organised opposition of the workforce to an ever lengthening working day during the industrial revolution that forced employers to seek profit by innovating to increase productivity rather than simply intensifying exploitation.

More recent history shows us that the weakening of trade union power increases inequality, reduces the share of Gross Domestic Product going to wages and salaries and encourages reactionaries to attack social gains which were fought for over generations.

The stronger unions are the better for all working people.

Whether the sympathy which we may gain from the wider public will make any significant difference to the success of our current struggles is, of course, the question.

The best way to promote trade unionism may be to practice it vigorously, in order to demonstrate to unorganised workers the benefits to be gained from organisation.

The history of our movement is a history of struggle and the twenty first century poses us challenges no less than those we have faced in the past.

The "heart" our unions need is the heart to fight hard in the battles ahead.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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