Thursday, 30 July 2015

Fighting the Trade Union Bill inside and outside parliament - what are the options?

Corbyn mania was well in evidence at yesterday's Rally on resisting the Trade Union Bill. Corbyn supporters were leafleting outside the NUT's Hamilton House and pressing JC stickers on anyone and anything in the vicinity, almost as bad as the Jehovah Witnesses outside Wembley Park station!

Brent was well represented with LRC members of Brent Labour as well as former Labour councillor Jim Moher present along with Pete Firmin Chair of Brent Trades  Council, Michael Calderbank, chair of Brent Central CLP; Sarah Cox of the SWP, Brent Fightback, and Brent Save Our NHS;and yours truly from Brent Green Party and the Green Party Trade Union Group.

The Corbyn factor was evident from the beginning when Dave Prentis announced Unison was backing him for Labour leader and ended the rally when John McDonnell pledged that Corbyn would mount real opposition in this Parliament to the Bill and when elected to  power in 2020 would repeal all anti-trade union legislation.

Clearly Corbyn's campaign is still to be won and if he does win the problem of what to do about a Parliamentary Labour Party that failed to make a comprehensive stand against the Welfare Bill will loom large.

If he does not win and an austerity-lite candidate becomes leader what happens to the relationship between Labour and the unions?

Another issue that emerged during the speeches was the extent to which unions would be prepared to break the law. There was a sober warning towards the close about what happened previously when unions found their funds sequestered by a hostile Tory government.

Would the Labour Party back breaking an unjust law?

The details of the Trade Union Bill are still to come and there are likely to be amendments from both sides. The Green Party opposed previous anti-union legislation and are almost certain to oppose these both from within parliament and outside when they meet at Conference in September.


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

At today's Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group weekly business meeting, a new 'insurgent' to the Labour Party disclosed that she had received a canvassing letter from Yvette Cooper. That Labour leadership contestant revealed that the letter from YC has given a list of campaigning items for Labour Party members to prioritise for YC in her 'gauging the mood of the electorate'.

That reminded me of a similar 38 Degrees email poll some time before the 2010 General Election. None of the items given in that 'stage-managed' poll even touched on combating the 'welfare reform' agenda where vulnerable people were both demonised and then silently killed through being denied their rights.

See also Kate Belgrave: [video-]Proof that certain Labour leadership hopefuls just want the rabble to get lost

Anonymous said...

You don't really think Corbyn supporters are comparable to Jehovah's Witnesses, do you? Look, if Corbyn wins, getting the parliamentary Labour party to do what it should will be something to work at, but ultimately it won't be MPs who stop the Tories' policies. But win or lose, the scale of the Corbyn campaign shows a popular appetite for real opposition and the future potential for building a mass anti-austerity movement.


Martin Francis said...

No I don't think they are comparable although the persistence and staying power of the Jehovah Witnesses is pretty incredible. It was a feeble joke ,perhaps something to do with the initials JC...

I haven't signed up with my £3 to vote in the ballot - I think LP members should decide their own leader, but I have great respect for Corbyn and see him as someone that the Green Party could work with in a broad anti-austerity alliance. It was a great optimistic atmosphere last night which paradoxically made me me all the more concerned about how that alliance will maintain momentum if Corbyn doesn't make it.

Anonymous said...

Not me
Mike Hine