I've been thinking a few days now about the impact of this demo in London will have in the long term. How will history remember it and what will be the fall out from this march. Whilst liberal types argue over whether UK uncut was right or wrong and as it is getting entangled with the Labour party i thought i'd look at how this could affect unions and union membership.
As we all know we are heading into a very uncertain time full of cuts and tightening our belts as the media like to put it. But as this starts to affect peoples jobs and working conditions will the workers look again at unions as organisations to take cover in and gain protection and support from. I do hope so. As someone who is a union member in Unite i feel that there are good benifits to being in a union. Few do agree though it seems with only 7 million in the trades unions now this is a dieing role. Even the labour party now is moving away from unions and asking for more opinions from its outside supporters and lib dems rather than the unions and waht they ahve to say.
It has been clear for years now that the labour party has no interest in ordinary working people. Constantly waging battle with the unions over various issues in the last government over privatisation which most unions if not all were strongly opposed to. Yes that's right a labour government intent on privatising industries such as the Royal Mail and parts of the NHS all be it through the back door. No wonder union membership has fallen anti trade union laws have been coming from capitalist governments from years from teh times of Maggie Tatcher right through her and John Majors timea nd carried on and followed through by Tony blair a Neo conservative. So do unions need to change the way they act do they need to modernise ?
I dont think so i think the anti trade union laws have restricted them so much they are powerless to do much at all. With this tory lead government threatening to brng in even more anti trade union and strike laws where will this leave the unions. Completely battered i would imagine. Not unless people rejoin them and try to reinvigerise them from within. Unions can move left from pressure from below. Rank-and-file member bases can forcea unin to move left. Take PCS for example that was quite a right wing union up untill the last decade or so it has now lurched to the left and is regarded is a very good union defending its members jobs and rights. It is also one of the key unions in this battle against the cuts as it represents public services workers it will be at the front of the cuts and the attacks coming from the tories.
I as well as many other socialists do believe in the role of trades unions they are key to the whole labour movement and giving workers a voice. I would suggest however that as labour have ignored their voices for years that as and when as i am sure it will happen a new workers party is formed with a socialist base to it having socialist principles and having workers interests at its heart maybe the unions who have been bankrolling the labour party for yers and getting very little back on their returns will break away from the Labour Party and join this new workers party in a democratic fashion. taking power back to the workers and workers interests . Taking waht is good about labour and the party we will take too leaving behind its capitalist power hungry careerist ideas.
Linked into this will be the fact that any MP's or trade union leaders will only recieve a average skilled workers wage. Nothing more, as this will keep them firmly within the working class and not stepping above this class which they represent. MP's in parliament today take as many expenses as they can and the expenses scandel highlighted the greed and power in the westminster village and how a new workers party would be so so much different and more rooted to its original principles.
ALl this should link back in to a more vibrant fairer and equal trade union movement too. With no part of the orgnisation being top down run with everybody having a democratic voice and say this is the sort of socialism i believe in and what we in the socialist party beleive in too. It is our aim and view for the future of the labour movement.
I think the TUC demo will do a lot to help the image of trade unions that they can be a voice for people and workers to side with and feel apart of a organisation which represents your interests.
It will be interesting to see if trade union membership increases as i beleive it should do after this weekends march with lots of people visibly seeing a union moving forward with confidence in its class it represents .