A fighting union or a job club?

Submitted by Anon on 15 January, 2006 - 11:48

This article was wrongly attributed to Tom Cashman. To read an apology click here.

As we go to press, elections are taking place for the General Executive Council of the TGWU.

The contest is a battle between genuine trade unionists trying to build a serious working-class organisation and faking bureaucrats concerned only to secure their own future and keep the union rolling as a gravy train and job club for their mates.

There is no need for illusions about the T&G Broad Left. It is not a militant rank-and-file grouping. It is primarily an electoral machine whose majority politics can be roughly described as Tribunite or soft Stalinist. However, more left wing forces have also been able to participate in recent years.

A victory for the Broad Left slate will ensure that the union can focus on the job of rebuilding workplace organisation, turning outwards to organise the unorganised and press for democratic safeguards within the merger discussions with GMB and Amicus.

Defeat for Woodley's supporters in the Broad left will mean the General Secretary will be isolated and stymied. The door will be open to a merger with the GMB that reproduces some of the worst features of both unions and enshrines the power of regional barons and the patronage system.

What the TGWU needs is a reassertion of the basics of serious trade unionism. The union needs to look to win genuine improvements for the members rather than trading hours pay and pensions off against each other.

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