The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 16th September 2005
PCS members make a stand for safety
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AND BLAIR SNUB UNIONS
by Daphne Liddle
TONY BLAIR and Gordon Brown
stood shoulder to shoulder at the annual TUC conference in Brighton
last week to defend the interests of global big business against the
working class and to attack trade union calls for greater trade union
Gordon Brown addressed the conference on Tuesday and Blair spoke in the
evening at the annual TUC dinner. They both made it quite clear that
whichever of them is leading the government, now the unions have done
the job of getting them re-elected for another term, they are no longer
needed and should just shut up and accept whatever big business wants.
The remarks came in response to a unanimous emergency TUC
resolution calling for the repeal of Tory anti-union laws – and in
particular the ban on solidarity action.
A few days before the TUC conference, a number of union leaders
were demanding that Blair make clear his timetable for stepping down
from the premiership – presumably in favour of Gordon Brown.
TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley told the press: “Bearing in
mind the slimness of our majority and the need for any new leader to
plan ahead for a programme to last for the next five to 10 years, it is
common sense for the Prime Minister to move along quickly – in the
first six months of next year.”
Derek Simpson of Amicus was more blunt. He told the press that
“Blair must go before he gives Britain a migraine”. He accused Blair of
dumbing-down the economy by allowing skilled, full-time, well-paid jobs
to be replaced with part-time, poorly paid unskilled work.
And it seems that potential future clashes with a New Labour
government are a major factor in his motivation for pressing for the
creation of a “super-union” by a merger of Amicus with the TGWU and GMB.
The “big four” unions – Unison, Amicus, the TGWU and GMB – have
already made it clear to Brown that he should not expect a “coronation”
as Labour leader.
But on Tuesday Brown blasted their hopes. He told TUC delegates:
“I tell you straight that in the face of the global challenge from
which there is no hiding place, no safe haven if we are to succeed,
there must be no return to fiscal irresponsibility, the economic
short-termism, the inflationary pay deals and the old conflicts and
disorder of the past.”
He did offer, as a sop, a pledge to bring in new legislation to
honour last year’s nebulous Warwick agreement – but this cut little ice
with the delegates, who gave him a very cool reception.
Brown spent a large part of his speech detailing the growing
proportion of consumer commodities that China supplies to the world –
arguing that workers’ rights would have to take second place to facing
commercial competition from the East.
He forgot that the Chinese government and economy are the product
of a workers’ revolution and that the capitalist development of China’s
economy is taking place under the control of a workers’ government.
In China trade union rights are being extended and enshrined in
law and this is not making the country any less competitive. It is the
avarice of the bosses which is kept in check and the economy still
In the evening Blair also confronted the union demands. He said:
“It would be dishonest to tell you any Labour government is going to
legislate a return to secondary action. It won’t happen.”
Driving the working class down into poverty, taking away our
rights to organise and to stand by each other in time of trouble will
not make Britain strong and competitive.
Market economics can only ever serve those who have money to buy.
If we really want to emulate China’s economic miracle, we will have to
start with a workers’ revolution and begin to build socialism.
THE CONTINUOUS low
level of “loyalist” attacks on nationalist communities in the north of
Ireland last weekend erupted into extreme violence and rioting. Gangs
of “loyalists” have attacked the police – spurred on by paramilitaries
who inflame their communities with the lie that nationalist communities
are somehow doing better and getting economic advantages from the peace
process. It is akin to the lies put out by the British National Party
in some areas of England that Blacks and Asians are somehow getting
more investment and resources than the white working class. It’s the
age-old tactic of using ignorance and envy to divide and rule.
The truth is that in the north of Ireland it is the IRA, Sinn
Féin and the nationalist community who have made concession
after concession to try to keep the peace process alive but who have
yet to get even a sniff of access to basic democratic procedures they
were promised in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), because the various
Unionist leaders are obstructing the reconvening of the Northern
All the communities of Ireland, north and south, unionist and
republican, backed the GFA as a way to end violence and resolve
differences through political processes and all made concessions to
achieve the agreement. Now the loyalist leaders describe the agreement
as some sort of republican plot.
So long as that assembly remains suspended the working class of
both communities have little access to any kind of democracy on any
issue. This includes health, education, social services, employment
policy and so on, making them more vulnerable to exploitation.
The loyalist thugs only get away with this level of violence
because the state – the police, the army and the Westminster government
– are happy to let them. Westminster is eager to threaten and deport
Muslim fundamentalist preachers but they are content to allow the
Reverend Ian Paisley – who once openly organised his own paramilitary –
to continue to preach hatred and violence.
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