TUC

TUC report reveals racism but offers no answer

A TUC report, Dying on the job: racism and risk at work, has revealed the deep-seated racism that underlies the higher impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic (BME) people, but its proposals fall well short of what is needed. In the early days of the pandemic, it became clear that BME people were dying at a significantly greater rate. Compared with white people, black people are more than four times as likely to die from Covid-19, Bangladeshi and Pakistani people more than one-and-a-half times as likely. While the government tried to portray this as a mystery requiring medical study...

Labour movement activists on why we must take over the banks

The 2019 TUC Congress passed a proposal from the Fire Brigades Union for “public ownership of the big banks, which could play a central role in building a sustainable economy, investing in a publicly owned energy sector and creating decent, unionised jobs in the interests of working people”. No one opposed the motion – but very few are actually advocating or campaigning for this. Here we quote a range of labour movement activists and representatives on why it is so essential. In the current situation, as we face an implosion of credit and a snowballing slump, against the background of the...

Fight the epidemic - yes. Back the Tories - no

The Labour Party has made some important demands for the Covid-19 crisis, including improving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which underwrites part of wages and extending it to the self-employed; insisting employers guarantee to keep people in work; and increasing a range of benefits. The problem is that the party shows no sign of campaigning around these demands. Its leadership acts as if that the epidemic obliges it to express positive support for the Tory government. Big demonstrations and crowded public meetings are obviously out at the moment. But Labour wasn’t going in for those...

How unions should tackle sexism

It’s HeartUnions from 10 to 16 February 2020. I was reminded of the week of activity, highlighting the work of unions, by a parcel from the TUC arriving at my union office announcing the focus this year is on sexual harassment. It was accompanied by a letter from our co-ordinated industrial leadership, bringing together 48 unions and 5.5 million members, and declaring “a radical yet practical plan” to end sexual harassment. Over 1/2 women and nearly 7/10 LGBT workers are sexually harassed in the workplace. Subjecting women to fear, shame, and discomfort in a workplace, street or union meeting...

Industrial news in brief

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions. The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly. The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements. Plans for TUC congress At the time of writing discussions are taking place among labour movement anti-coup people about activities at the 2019 TUC Congress (8-11 September, in...

TUC congress: one step forward, two steps back

TUC Congress 2018 closed with its accustomed dearth of fanfare, with little to suggest it will be a major political factor in British politics over the coming period. The one glint of hope was the discussion on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), where speaker after speaker stood up to make the case for self-determination on trans rights. Behind the scenes several union leaderships, including some regarded as left, have joined the chorus of opposition to changing the GRA on the grounds of women’s self-organisation. But the Congress discussion was dominated by contributions from a range of women...

TUC votes for gender self-ID

TUC Conference has unanimously backed a motion from the TUC LGBT+ committee which supports “the introduction of a social rather than medical model of gender recognition that will help challenge repressive gender stereotypes in the workplace and in society.” The motion was a response to the government's current consultation on changes to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, which will run until the start of October. The unanimous decision is especially welcome given the scaremongering surrounding the issue of gender self-declaration that has taken place in the trade union movement, although...

Corbyn pledges more public ownership: Nationalise utilities and banks!

Editorial from Solidarity 462 Speaking at a Labour Party event on 10 February, Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledge “to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run”. “By taking our public services back into public hands”, he said, “we will not only put a stop to rip-off monopoly pricing, we will put our shared values and collective goals at the heart of how those public services are run”. He promised “a society which puts its most valuable resources, the creations of our collective...

Iranian workers push for regime change

Editorial from Solidarity 458 Beginning on Thursday 28 December around 80 Iranian cities and towns saw a wave of demonstrations, amounting to the biggest protest against Iran’s authoritarian Islamist political system since the 2009 "Green" reform movement. This has been a tremendous revolt with the issue of working-class livelihood at the centre. A revolt against years of super-exploitation and a vicious regime which exists to enrich itself and boost its own power. According to official figures, at least 1,000 people have been arrested and 25 people have been killed (including, three...

Industrial news in brief

Workers at Picturehouse Cinema’s flagship “Picturehouse Central” location, near London’s Piccadilly Circus, will shortly begin balloting for new strikes, as part of a growing dispute which also involves workers at Picturehouse’s Brixton, Hackney, and Crouch End sites. The ballot, the timetable for which has yet to be announced, is for further strikes to demand the London Living Wage, decent sick pay, and other improvements to workers’ terms and conditions. Workers at Picturehouse Central, Brixton, and Hackney recently concluded a ballot for joint strikes, which returned huge majorities on a...

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