Building the fightback
North West SSN AGM
The North West Shop Stewards Network held its AGM on July 17.
Thirty trade unionists heard Steve Acheson, blacklisted
electrician, speak on the recent BESNA victory and the
continuing battle against blacklisting. Many of those attending
were construction workers and they lambasted the mostly
unelected trade union officials in UNITE and UCATT for their
persistent failure to lead a struggle for members and, in some
cases, for collaboration with blacklisting.
Alongside these rank and
file activists, including Mick Abbott of the Justice for
Shrewsbury Pickets Campaign, were a UNISON NEC member, a PCS
sector NEC member and the PCS regional Vice-Chair, together with
members of UNISON, NUT and UNITE Health, plus two former
Liverpool 47 councillors.
Several speakers made the
link between trade union leaders winding down action when they
should be escalating it, as in the pensions dispute, and Labour
councillors who simply pass on Tory cuts. In Salford one UNITE
official is now an Assistant Mayor charged with getting rid of
mental health staff. There was warm endorsement of Tony
Mulhearn’s nearly 5000 votes for mayor in Liverpool, and a
welcome for the recent vote to establish a political fund in
The meeting heard a report
from the NSSN Conference in June, with its call to turn the TUC
demo on 20th October into a launch pad for a one day general
strike. We also agreed to support the lobby of the TUC on
September 9th, hopefully with financial support for transport
from PCS. The evening following the meeting, Bolton Trades
Council agreed to support the NSSN lobby of the TUC.
The meeting also agreed
support for Campaign Kazakhstan and for the ongoing battles for
reinstatement for Shana Begum of Bolton University Students
Union, and Martin Hedges, a victimised TSSA rep.
Following the NSSN
Conference’s Guide to Action we plan to meet quarterly from now
on and really build the NSSN in the North West.