[fse-esf] Workers of Europe unite: British workers remain to be
vickimorris at btinternet.com
Mon Feb 2 19:45:02 CET 2009
Social movement activists in UK are trying to get to grips with a campaign of wildcat (illegal) strikes at construction sites with the main slogan 'British jobs for British workers'.
It is hard to get the full facts of the case but it is around labour being brought in by non-British contractors to work in Britain. British workers who would usually do the jobs are being frozen out because the contractors already have their locally hired workforces.
The contractors insist that they are not paying the workers less than British workers would earn, ie, it is not a case of 'undercutting'. The unions involved in this this - GMB, Unite - say they are lying.
This is the first big protest over job losses in Britain - that we haven't had anything up until now is largely the fault of the trade union (mis)leaders. Now they are trying to control an outbreak of rank-and-file action.
Social movement activists would love to support a fight over jobs, but we are wrestling with our attitude to the slogans for this dispute - 'British jobs for British workers' is the most prominent. The fascist British National Party (BNP) are loving this.
I would be interested in how this issue looks to you around Europe. It does, if nothing else, demonstrate the absolute burning need for us to get our act together and build a movement across Europe against the bosses - I know steps have been taken and I will make more effort now to catch up on what has been done.
If you want to contact me about this off list please do, I am intervening on the strikers' own website and would like to share perspectives from other European countries.
I am giving you below a sample of different opinions on this from the left - I'm not claiming this is a representative sample but it should give you some idea of how we are wrestling with how to respond:
http://www.socialistunity.com/ - Socialist Party, have some members among the strike leadership
http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17004 - Socialist Workers Party
http://caic.org.uk/node/32 - Campaign Against Immigration Controls
http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2009/01/31/jobs-all-workers-not-british-jobs-british-workers - Alliance for Workers Liberty
http://www.workerspower.com/index.php?id=47,1821,0,0,1,0 - Workers' Power
And some other very useful sites for you to get an understanding:
GMB union: http://www.gmb.org.uk/Templates/PressItems.asp?NodeID=98161
the strike movement's own website: http://www.bearfacts.co.uk/
British National Party: http://www.britishwildcats.com/?cat=1
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