Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18089

Posted on 3 February 2014 at 16:55 GMT

A Socialist Party and Unison member in Coventry responds to Kevin Maguire's call for unions to break link with Labour

The trade union - Labour link, time to end it

Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire has made a very interesting contribution to the debate about the link between the Labour Party and the trade unions. His article today makes some very telling points about the reforms being carried out by Ed Miliband and what the unions and their members actually get out of the link with Labour - which is not very much at all.

Maguire's columns regularly make some very good comments on the situation facing working class people in the face of Tory austerity - he also prominently supported the Youth Fight for Jobs re-creation of the Jarrow March in 2011.

He outlines the situation facing the unions today with regard to the relations with the Labour Party: "Rather than enduring a thousand indignities, organised labour should take its money and people and abandon institutional links with the party it fathered, nurtured, saved and continues to sustain".

"However Ed Miliband dresses up these far reaching reforms, which were triggered by his blind panic over the selection of a parliamentary ­candidate in Falkirk, the truth is he wants union cash but not the unions".

End the link

Many Unison members, as well as many members of other affiliated trade unions have been calling for an end to the Labour link for some time. As we have pointed out on many occasions - it is an abusive relationship where we hand over millions of pounds in affiliation fees only for Labour to attack us. Whilst in government Labour did little or nothing for the trade unions, including failing to scrap Tory anti-union laws.

Any thought that Labour would move to the left in opposition was quickly dispelled. In the dispute in the Falkirk constituency Labour called in the police to investigate Unite for fighting for trade union policies within the party, opening the way for Ineos to attack the Unite convenor which had a negative effect on the outcome of the struggle at Grangemouth.

'Sticking a red rosette on austerity'

Labour is as committed to austerity as the Tories. Much fuss has been made about the announcement that Labour will push up the top rate of income tax from 45% to 50%; however as the pro-capitalist journal the Economist points out: "The 50% rate is a political sop, thrown to Labour's electoral base by Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, to make up for the austerity measures that he has also, rather more vaguely, promised, many of which will hit poorer Britons".

Maguire makes the excellent point later in his column with regard to the cuts in the Environmental Agency following the recent floods. He states:
"At a private meeting, GMB union reps urged Labour frontbencher Maria Eagle to promise she'd halt Environment Agency job cuts blamed for flooding. She wouldn't. Labour attacks on the Con-Dems are a wet blanket when the party just sticks a red rosette on austerity".

Council cuts

Maguire talks about the leaderships of Unison, GMB and Unite not being happy with the relationship. This is very timely given that these three unions represent millions of workers, many of whom work for local authorities. For example here in Coventry which is Labour controlled we face the prospect in the coming weeks of Labour councils setting budgets which will see union members lose their jobs and vital services in working class areas slashed. Damn right the unions aren't getting value for money!

However particularly in Unison the pro-Labour leadership have attempted to stop any debate or discussion about the Labour link, including witch-hunting Socialist Party members who amongst other things have called for a break with Labour. Too many times has the Unison leadership put the interests of the Labour Party before its own membership.

Activists in the affiliated unions will have to continue to push hard and build further organised support within the workplaces to break the link.

New party of the working class needed - TUSC prepares for May challenge

The Socialist Party has consistently called for a break with the link with Labour. We welcome Kevin Maguire's article as a contribution to the debate in the trade union movement and the working class more generally about the future of working class representation.

However, in itself the breaking of the union - Labour link will not be enough. We believe what is urgently needed is the formation of a party for working class people and trade unionists, an independent political voice that will oppose all austerity, that will put the needs of the 99% above those of the 1%. A party that will restate and articulate the need for socialist policies to fight capitalism.

With that aim, we are a key part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, TUSC, which has the support of the RMT union and many other leading trade unionists from PCS, POA, FBU, Unison, Unite, CWU, GMB and many other unions. Already we know there will be at least 400 TUSC candidates across the country, including 18 here in Coventry where we will be standing in all 18 seats. TUSC and the Socialist Party will be the only anti-austerity option for voters in May. We encourage anyone who is sick of the three establishment parties to contact us and to help us with the tasks ahead.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Coventry:

triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

triangleCoventry socialist candidate wins votes against austerity

triangleCoventry: A socialist councillor who will vote against cuts

triangleNHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire

triangleCoventry Socialist Party: Tories out! Corbyn in with socialist policies

Unison:

triangleTrade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

triangleElectricians pay victory

triangleBig Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

triangleLambeth Unison letter

Unions:

triangleCovid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'

Labour:

triangleSocialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleBlairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated

Union:

trianglePCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

Austerity:

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/6/20

Obituary

Ken Douglas

4/6/20

Black Lives Matter

3rd June anti-racist demonstrations across Britain

3/6/20

Equity

Equity union general secretary election

3/6/20

Socialist

Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting

3/6/20

Labour Party

Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated

3/6/20

Racism

Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!

3/6/20

Covid

Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19

3/6/20

JCB

Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

3/6/20

PCS

PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

3/6/20

Schools

Schools... no going back until it's safe

3/6/20

UCU

Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation

3/6/20

Buses

Fight continues for safety on London buses

27/5/20

Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

27/5/20

Ferries

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

27/5/20

Schools

Schools aren't safe

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999