The Labour party in the trade unions: a wolf in sheeps clothing

When the bin men went up against the council this year, it was in defence of terms and conditions. The workers had to fight a Labour council, every bit as bad as any Tory council. Unions try to prevent strikes against Labour councils, they prefer to make deals with Labour councils because unions are full of Labour party members. They all share comfy jobs and don’t want to derail the gravy train. Unite were desperate for a deal right from the moment Howard Beckett arrived, Unite had no faith in victory unless it was declared in Court, Unite have given away the best part of 50 rest days a year, not only rest days for Grade 3’s but also Grade 4’s & 2’s. They said no other deal was possible. But is that true? Strike action cost the council over £6million – it nearly sank them! Unite threw their friends in the Labour council a life line by calling off the strike action TWICE and giving away the rest days of all grades.

Without knowing it, all summer the bin men were exposing the anti-working class nature of the Labour party. Without knowing it, all summer the bin men were shaming & exposing all the Labour party members, trade unionists and sham socialists who kept saying Corbyn would give his support. Without knowing it, all summer the bin strike proved that there were not “two Labour party’s” (Labour was united in its hostility to the strike), it proved that the cuts were not being implemented by a “few bad apples”. The strike proved everyone was out to stab the bin men in the back, everyone except the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) which isn’t scared to expose Labour or any enemy of the workers.

This year’s bin strike was heroic, and it should have ended in total and utter defeat for the council … and the Labour party careerists. However, there are reasons why so many workers have ended up worse off…

  • Unite the Union is a major backer of the Labour party, it gave more than £2 million of its members money to Labour last May/June alone. Many of Unite’s leading members are members of the Labour party. Howard Beckett spoke at the Labour party Conference in 2017. These facts are known to all bin men.
  • Many workers are now saying that they have been betrayed by union reps and stewards over the deal struck. But local reps don’t really make the decisions; they do what they are told by the Unite the Union leadership, they are not to blame. They have been influenced by Labour party trade union officials.
  • The Unite leadership is made up of Labour party members. The Labour party serves capitalism, it doesn’t serve the workers. It is no surprise that they bargained away up to 50 odd rest days a year, not only for the Grade 3’s, but for all grades. They bargained these away because the Labour Council was desperate for a deal, as were the Labour members running the dispute from Unite. Birmingham Worker highlighted this all along; we also pointed out the likely betrayal by Clancy and the anti-working class attitudes of Lisa Trickett and the Moseley & Kings Heath Labour party.
  • Bin men did the right thing when they supported the Communist Party and picketed Lisa Trickett’s surgery. We exposed Trickett. Bin men cannot be neutral, they have to take sides and they must fight to expose the Labour party as traitors and expose those who work for the Labour party in their own union. It was a mistake to listen to Labour party members of Unite who told bin men to stop putting pressure on Trickett by supporting our picket. It was a mistake because all these Labour party members were working together to get a good deal for themselves and not necessarily for ALL the bin men. Our aims are best served by building an organisation to challenge the Labour party sell outs inside and outside the trade unions.

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Message to Birmingham’s bin workers

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Birmingham Worker salute our bin workers who have this weekend brought to an end the current industrial action against a mean and petty employer.

The 2017 bin strike has been a refreshing and inspiring interruption in the day to day industrial life of this city. The strike action brought Birmingham City Council to its knees. It demonstrated to the working class of Birmingham the power which we have as a class when we withdraw our labour and refuse to be subjected to unjust cuts and attacks on pay and conditions. The strike significantly demonstrated to the entire city, and indeed the entire labour movement, the anti-worker nature of the Labour-led Council.

The weeks of solid strike action, waged against a Labour council supported by hired wretches, was worth ten thousand proclamations of opposition to cuts issued by moribund Trotskyist groups. This strike action was a direct blow to the Labour policy of cuts. The action has exposed the Trickett’s, Clancy’s and Ward’s of this town. The workers of this town have learnt an invaluable lesson in class politics, and no matter how desperate the attempts will be to implore workers to vote for Labour next year in local elections, we are sure that the class conscious workers will not hand these traitors a single vote.

Comrades, the war between labour and capital is a guerrilla war, one skirmish is followed by another. The struggle continues.

Red salute to the bin workers!

www.birminghamworker.org

Binmen Strike; Perry Barr Depot, 1st Sept 2017;
Binmen Strike; Perry Barr Depot, 1st Sept 2017;

 

“new” bin deal – what they give with one hand they will take with the other

The Labour party today brought it’s “new” proposals to the city cabinet for resolution of the Birmingham bin strike. The “new” report was kept secret and not even the councillors favourite journalists were allowed sight until this morning when Kathryn Stanczyszyn of the BBC began to tweet photographs of text that appeared to propose many of the basic features of the original deal conducted by Clancy and which the cabinet subsequently reneged upon.

But what they give with one hand they take with the other.

What has been released today is not the whole story. What we learn today is that the Council will change the name of the Grade 3 job. That sounds like a victory for bin men. But to make it a victory for Labour Councillors they have added in a whole new job role. It will not merely be a rebranding – it will involve a longer week for no more pay
as there are attempts to claw back the rest day (compressed working week) and put everyone into a five day week.

Screenshot_20171124-141319

The BBC journalist noted the reference to the words “retain a GR3 role” and the bizarre explanations emanating from the mouth of Lisa Trickett (Labour Cabinet member for bins):

Screenshot_20171124-141238

Trickett may hope the general public is as gullible as her local CLP (who just reselected her for 2018) but it was not lost on anybody that having wasted more than £6.6 million in taxpayers money the “new” proposals could hardly claim to have been “cost neutral”! The most vital thing to take from Cllr Trickett’s remarks is that this isn’t the keeping of the Grade 3 role – it is a new role. It is walking up the road with a ludicrous tablet in your hand, ticking boxes and making notes whilst trying to collect bins and not get run over.

The next step is for the bin men to discuss the proposals at tomorrow’s mass meeting. No doubt there will be questions over the following:

What happens to suspended trade union rep brother Rickett’s?

Brother Ricketts, trade union rep from Tyseley was suspended on spurious grounds at the start of the dispute, clearly in an attempt by bullying managers at that depot to undemrine the strike. Unite announced early on that his reinstatement was a red line. As it happened, Tyseley rose to the challenge of losing an experienced comrade and those who took over from brother Rickett’s represented the workers admirably. All bin men will want to know when he will be reinstated.

New WRCO job – how many extra days, how many extra hours?

The ludicrously titled Waste Reduction and Collection Officer, i.e., a bin man, is the attempt to mask over the failure of the Council to beat the bin men into submission, whilst trying to find another way of cobbling together the savings they insist they must make. No mention was made today in public of how much more work will be put onto the job, nor how many more days they will be expected to work, for the same pay. The compressed week is a target, and bin men will have even more work heaped upon them.

It is clear that having failed to take from the bin men their grade 3 wages the Council intends to take extra labour for free. Having undertook militant strike action that proved in practice the bin men can beat these Labour wretches, why should any worker accept that to retain their current pay they must accept a increase in their working day, epecially when they already undertake an incredibly taxing job?

Victory to the Birmingham bin men.

 

 

Dialectical & Historical Materialism – The philosophy of Marx

We reproduce below this post from Red Youth, made a few years ago but whichy still contains an excellent sumary of the question:

Red Youth

You may have heard people say that “Marx’s ideas are beautiful in theory, but they don’t work in practice“? It is almost universally the case that poeple who express this opinion have not read Marx – and have little or no understanding of his real philosophy.

At our recent study school, held on November 8 2015, the day after we celebrated the 98th anniversary of the October Revolution, Ranjeet Brar, member of the CPGB-ML gave the above presentation that we now present in video form. We hope it will go some way towards redressing the balance. An outline of the substance of the presentation can be found in the text below.

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