Bob Crow, newly elected general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, RMT">
ENGLAND: Socialist Alliance holds trade union conference
LONDON — The first trade union conference organised by the Socialist Alliance, held on March 16, was attended by 1038 delegates. It was the biggest conference of rank-and-file trade unionists for two decades.
During the morning plenary delegates expressed a general desire to see trade union political funds democratised so that members could donate not only to the Labour Party, but also to organisations and candidates who stood up for working-class representation and union policies.
The morning plenary was followed by separate meetings of delegates from different unions.
After lunch the conference debated strike support work and how to fight privatisation. A standing ovation was given to 30 postal workers when they arrived from a Communications Workers Union march and rally against privatisation of the postal service.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary elect of the Public and Commercial Services Union (Britain's largest union with 270,000 members), addressed the conference in a personal capacity, calling for support for the May Day demonstration against privatisation and war.
Speakers from the Scottish Socialist Party, Italy's Party of Communist Refoundation and a speaker for the campaign against the anti-trade union laws were each given a rousing reception. Bob Crow, newly elected general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), sent his apologies to the conference, wishing it every success.
The vast majority of delegates left the conference with spirits lifted, more determined than ever to take into the trade union movement the argument to end Labour's monopoly over the unions' political fund.
From Green Left Weekly, March 27, 2002.
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