Saturday, 15 December 2012

Great scenes from 2 Sisters picket line, West Midlands

Workers from three sites joined the picket line yesterday at 2 Sisters Food group, West Midlands, where Unite members are taking action pay and conditions, and what they claim to be a bullying culture. It was set to be the first of three strikes, with other days following on Tuesday 18th and Friday 21st December.

What I find particularly impressive is the make up of the workforce (and the picket line). Ethnic minority workers, migrant workers, women workers - all groups that suffer lower pay and worse conditions in general, as well as being the targets of racism, islamophobia and sexism in society and in the media. Yet this is increasingly the reality of the working class in Britain today, and this picket line shows us a glimpse of not only how we fight back against the bosses's attacks, abut also how we can overcome the divisions that the right wing constantly try to exacerbate to divide us.

The workers are apparently defiant and confident to win. There are of course questions as to how this is achieved - can we convince picket line to block the road to stop lorries entering and leaving? And solidarity will be key.

A full report is available on the Unite the Resistance website. Message of support should be emailed to:

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Doncaster Tesco drivers settle dispute

The four month dispute of Tesco drivers has come to a conclusion with Unite members voting to accept an enhanced package from Stobarts, their employer. A full report on the Unite website can be found via the link below.

The title calls it 'victory'. Personally, I think we need to use the word victory with caution, especially when the drivers are losing their jobs. Also, the picket lines were getting stronger and support was growing - there are real questions about whether more could have been won.

However, the there is a lesson to learn: that the defiance of Unite members and solidarity from the trade union movement has secured a better deal than offered. Now we need to draw further lessons for other present and future disputes to ensure we also turn the tide on job losses and the race to the bottom.

December Executive Council Report

A report from last week's Exec Council meeting can be found at Ian's Unite Site - see link.


Monday, 10 December 2012

United Left Solidarity statement in support of defence of Eyptian 2011 Revolution

The following statement was passed at the United Left (the broad left within Unite) quarterly meeting in Birmingham, Saturday 8th December. The situation is developing rapidly, and updates, as well as a translated version in Arabic of the statement, can be found on the MENA Solidarity Network website.
"We declare our solidarity with our Egyptian brothers and sisters who are fighting to defend the freedoms they won in the 25 January Revolution. We strongly condemn the attacks on peaceful protesters opposing the draft Constitution, and the assault on workers' rights to organise and strike led by the Egyptian government since Mohamed Morsi's election.
In June at our Policy conference, UNITE issued a statement which condemned the Egyptian military's attempt to seize all power for itself through emergency powers. Then, as now, we stood in solidarity with protesters who filled the streets and forced those who wanted to re-create dictatorship to retreat.
We also declare our total opposition to the stance of our own government. Behind the fine words of our rulers about respecting democracy in Egypt lies complete contempt for ordinary people's needs. That is why our government backs the deal with the IMF which Morsi has just signed, and which will steal bread and cooking gas from millions of Egyptians through cuts in subsidies.
Together, workers have the power to fight dictatorship and poverty.
We are all united for bread, freedom and social justice."

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Unite Rule Book

The latest Rule Book (from 2011 Rules Conference) has now been published by the union. It's available online here: