Sunday, October 13, 2013

West Ham Trade Unions for Labour

Picture is from last weeks relaunch of West Ham CLP Trade unions for Labour. This meeting was organised by West Ham TULO officer (and UNISON NEC member) Kim Silver.

Kim chaired the meeting and apologised for the lack of notice but emphasised that this was a planning meeting on how we can organise as trade unionists and build links between the Party and the Unions. All Party members who live or work in West Ham can participate (you do not have to belong to a union that is affiliated to the Party). We had 2 union members from East Ham present and apologies from others. Hopefully we can meet up as a Newham TULO in the future.

We discussed a number of possible trade union campaigns that we could support and work towards :-
Opposing the Royal Mail privatisation; Living wage; Employment rights; Blacklisting;  zero hour contracts; Collins Report, unpaid internship, saving the NHS, Welfare reform and housing.

I suggested that we should consider modelling ourselves on the socialist societies such as Fabians and Co-op. To not only campaign and build links with the Party but also have guest speakers, debates and even social events.

It was agreed that our first campaign should be to support the CWU and their likely strike action over the privatisation of Royal Mail. The CWU is currently balloting members which will end on 16 October 2013. If the strike goes ahead we can run stalls, hand leaflets and take petitions in Stratford High Street and  give practical help and assistance to local picket lines etc.

We also agreed to campaign for a Fair wage (Living wage, sickness benefits and pensions) for all workers in Newham - private and public sector.  To start this we will ask West Ham CLP to take forward its existing policy for Newham Council to be an accredited Living Wage employer by contacting the Labour Group and Campaign Forum about implementation.We will also ask for information regarding Zero hour contracts in Newham Council.

The meeting ended on a really positive and constructive note. While we are not in anyway part of the formal regional or national TULO structure nor a substitute for a trade council, I think that by organising in this way, we will help reconnect the unions with Labour at a local level.

The date of next meeting Tuesday 19 November.

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