As socialists we believe in the highest form of democracy and that can be no more needed in the trade unions the organisations set up to fight for workers rights, pay, conditions and jobs. So today when we have several unions acting in undemocratic ways of under hand tactics and with hunting their own members as they don’t agree with their stance it is time to over haul the unions and pump so much needed democracy into them
The socialist party stands for all elected officials with no officials senior or not being appointed from above therefore leading to a rankd-and-file being dictated too rather than being represented.
We campaign for all elected officials to only take the average wage of a skilled worker no more or less. Just enough to do their job not inflated salaries that unfortunately some union’s officials even some claiming to be of the left still do take. We are against that we don’t support Bob crow getting 100’s of thousands of pounds that is not what we stand for. As the socialist party we are only members of trade unions we have a number of elected officials on the NC of the likes of PCS, Nut, FBu and Unison but we are not in the position to demand the union officials not of our party to do such a thing. But we would expect those who are members of the socialist party to stand true to their principles and only take an average wage of a skilled worker. That has always been our stance and I hope in future if we get further comrades elected they take up this position.
As a part of re democratisation the trade unions naturally this will come into conflict with the bourgeois parties and their reluctance to repeal any anti trade union laws. We will relentlessly campaign for a repealing of these anti trade union laws for workers to organise without being criminalised for it. It is an outrage to call the UK a democratic nation when it is so strict on trade unions and them organising. Many ordinary people have no idea how tight and restrictive anti union laws are in this country. Some will say well they will find it harder to strike and fight for members but that miss’s the point collective bargaining and striking wins a lot of concessions for workers some of which are some of the lowest paid in the country.
We will always defend facility time for union officials to be able to carry out their union duties without fear of reprisal. The attacks from the Tories and labour on the trade unions are a fight we all need to take up and defend workers rights. As if the trade unions are cohersed for the agents of the ruling class we will have no vehicle to fight back. The trade unions are important models for fighting back and agitating among workers to discuss ideas of a better society and how things could be different.
All trade unions leaders should be accountable to their members many people do not know that when unions have been reported to have accepted a deal on say pensions much if not all the members have not had a say in this and probably oppose such a sell out yet the lack of democracy in such unions as Unison for example mean members are left with a rotten deal. Hopefully a ballot comes but this cannot be grunted.
Another way of democratising the unions will be to ensure all elections to positions are regular every 2 years at most and that they are carried out in a truly democratic fashion with all election material being freely available to all to see with plenty of time to campaign too.
A trade union are often described as the poor mans lawyers and there is some sense in that trade unions should always fight for the poorest in society and the most oppressed workers and having a democratic fighting labour movement is key to them being able to do that. A fighting left force in all unions is key to having this. The left unity conference I attended in January hosted by the PCS was great and a great start to winning our unions back to be in the hands of its members not the bureaucrats.