Unions & Equalities

Brexit, the white working class and liberal left

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 11:19

Six months ago now a debate was sparked by comments made by Eddie Dempsey, an activist for “full Brexit” and in the rail union RMT, at a “Full Brexit” rally on 26 March.

Dempsey said that “people that turn up for those Tommy Robinson demos or any other march like that – the one thing that unites those people, whatever other bigotry is going on, is their hatred of the liberal left and they are right to hate them” (emphasis added).

He further commented that “too many in the Labour Party have made a calculation that there’s a certain section at the top end of the working class, in alliance with

RMT activists oppose Lewis expulsion decision

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 07:41

Daniel Randall

The conference on 23-27 June of the rail union RMT passed, by a majority of two votes with six abstentions, a motion expelling left Labour MP Clive Lewis from the RMT’s Parliamentary Group.

The conference decided that Lewis should be expelled unless he retracts and apologises for the criticisms he made of comments by RMT member Eddie Dempsey from the platform of a “Full Brexit” rally.

RMT activists who oppose the decision are circulating a statement of protest, already signed by numerous AGM delegates as well dozens of other union activists.

Lewis criticised Dempsey’s assertion that Tommy

PCS leadership censured for evasions on trans rights

Published on: Fri, 24/05/2019 - 23:25

A conference delegate

Motion A21 at the 2019 conference of civil service union PCS dealt with the leadership's approach to trans rights. (See the motions document, p12.)

In 2017 and 2018 conference voted to support amendment of the Gender Recognition to facilitate self-identification; despite opposition from the NEC in 2017 these motions passed overwhelmingly.

This year A21 condemned and proposed censure of the NEC for its response and for General Secretary Mark Serwotka’s unilateral signatory of a letter published in the Morning Star, alongside numerous vehemently trans-exclusionary individuals, suggesting that

CWU faces change

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 12:01

Rosalind Robson

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) met for its conference on 29 April-3 May. It took place as the union finalised reorganisation plans ("Redesign"), to tackle declining membership, in the context of industrial change in both the telecoms/financial services and post/courier sectors.

An emergency motion from the National Executive on Brexit passed at the union′s general conference (attended by delegates from both sides of the union) was widely reported in the press. The conference voted decisively for ″Labour′s Manifesto commitment″ to deliver ″a Brexit deal that prioritises jobs and living

PCS: step back and think

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 11:33

A civil servant

Our union, PCS, announced on 30 April that our pay ballot had failed to get the 50% turnout required by law. Since then the union leadership has announced its next step as "to hold a further statutory ballot for industrial action over pay at the earliest appropriate time".

That proposal will go as an emergency motion to our conference on 21-23 May. To go for another push as soon as possible to edge us over the 50% mark would be wrong. We need to step back and think why we couldn't get even 50% of our membership to open an envelope, tick a box, and send back the form. The problems are not just

Accessible Workplaces

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2019 - 10:50

Janine Booth, Chair, RMT Disabled Workers’ Advisory Committee (personal capacity)

On 26-27 April more than thirty disabled transport workers attended the RMT trade union’s largest Disabled Members’ Conference yet.

Every delegate contributed to debates and discussions, which covered subjects including accessible public transport, mental health, and “reasonable adjustments”. On the latter, the conference stressed that our priority is to win accessible workplaces, rather than leave the onus on individual workers to ask for personal changes.

Delegates also condemned the personality testing used by many employers, which seeks to enforce social conformity in the workplace and

Equalise civil service pay!

Published on: Wed, 17/04/2019 - 09:30

John Moloney

John Moloney is standing for the Assistant General Secretary position in the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), as part of an Independent Left slate for the union's National Executive Committee. He spoke to Solidarity about his election campaign, and PCS's current ballot for industrial action over pay in the civil service.

The union's headline demand is for a 10% pay increase. That has been variously interpreted as a demand for a 10% increase to the overall civil service pay budget, or a 10% increase per worker. The Independent Left argues that the union should foreground the demand

RMT women step forward

Published on: Thu, 07/03/2019 - 09:30

The Women's Conference of the rail union RMT on 1 and 2 March was hosted by Dover Shipping Branch and was themed around "women in maritime".

Jacqui Smith, Maritime Co-ordinator from the International Transport Workers' Federation, told us of ITF's recent battle to stop shipping companies using mandatory pregnancy testing before employing female workers. The conference passed a motion to instruct RMT to develop an organising plan specifically aimed at recruiting women seafarers to the RMT, an initiative that is long overdue. Another resolution asked the RMT to carry out a survey of female

Neurodivergent Labour launched

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 10:30

Fraser Andrews

On 9 February, over fifty activists from across the country attended the official launch of Neurodivergent Labour at a meeting in London. The term “neurodivergent” refers to the condition of being cognitively atypical, e.g. autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, or Tourette’s.

The organisation has been born out of the groundwork laid through the drafting of Labour’s Autism and Neurodiversity manifesto, and is now looking forward to hosting its founding AGM later this year. At the meeting, the organisation agreed its aims as: “to develop socialist policy on neurological diversity; • to win support for

Neurodiversity, capitalism, and socialism

Published on: Wed, 06/02/2019 - 12:43

Janine Booth

Autistic, dyspraxic, dyslexic and other people with atypical brain wiring have particular experiences under capitalism – with positive and negative aspects, but for many people including distress and disadvantage. This article looks at the experience of neurodivergent people under capitalism, how socialism might remove distress and discrimination, and how we can achieve that.

Capitalism and neurodiversity

Capitalism developed society’s productive capacity, enabling it to provide people with goods and services that no previous society had been able to. But it placed productive resources with

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