It Is Time For A Revolution Inside The Trade Unions To Defeat The Bosses’ Offensive And Go Forward To Socialism!

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THE UNITE leader Sharon Graham on Saturday in a speech in Coventry suspended all Coventry Labour councillors who are Unite members from the union for sabotaging the bin workers’ strike!

She said: ‘There will be an investigation of their conduct: they stand accused of colluding with strike breaking, sacking a shop steward and failing to negotiate with union members.

‘They can now hold no positions in the union or take part in the union in any way. Henceforth, Coventry Labour will not get any money from Unite for the coming May elections.’

The long-running Coventry bin strike will continue into the summer after HGV drivers voted for further industrial action by a huge margin.

Unite has accused the Labour leader of the council, George Duggins, and the other councillors of squandering millions and refusing to attend a single meeting with Unite. The dispute has already cost Coventry council £2.9 million, with costs rising daily, when it would cost just £300,000 to resolve it.

Last week, the council took the outrageous decision to escalate the dispute with Unite by taking the unprecedented step of suspending the union’s shop steward on bogus charges in the middle of the dispute. Peter Randle now faces dismissal but Unite has accused the council of victimisation and has pledged its unwavering support for its shop steward, who has already faced abuse and victimisation during the dispute which has not been addressed by Council managers.

Councillors are refusing to attend any meetings, discussions or negotiations, failing to take responsibility for their actions and leaving everything to unelected officials.

The strikes began early this year and the 70 HGV drivers have been on all-out strike since 31 January in the dispute over low pay. The workers’ basic rate of pay begins at just £22,183 per annum, which is far below what workers receive in the private sector and well below pay rates of neighbouring councils.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘The dispute could have been easily settled with capable council leaders. Instead, George Duggins and the other councillors have scandalously squandered millions and refused to attend a single meeting with Unite.

‘The council have inflamed the situation by suspending our shop steward on bogus grounds and they turned the opportunity we had to settle the dispute at ACAS into a farce.’

Addressing Coventry Labour council leader and councillors, Graham spelt out that a ‘catalogue of failures’ and ‘rank incompetence’ on the part of Coventry council means the long-running Coventry bin strike will continue into the summer after HGV drivers voted for further industrial action by a huge margin.

94% of the HGV drivers who took part in the ballot voted to renew the mandate for industrial action. All-out strike action will recommence today, Monday 28 March.

The strikes will run through the spring, including during the local elections in May, when 18 of Coventry’s councillors will be elected.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Rank incompetence and a catalogue of failures by Coventry council mean this strike will continue into the summer.

She added: ‘This council is paying strike breakers more than our members are asking for …

‘Labour is failing workers. Labour – where are you? Where is your voice? …

‘It’s time to take action ourselves. It’s time for change. It’s time to demand not ask. It’s time to mobilise not lobby. And it is time to organise.’

It is definitely time for Unite to take the battle for a new leadership right into the TUC and the Labour Party.

It must insist that the TUC calls a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will bring in a nationalised economy and workers management throughout industry!