Unite betrays Ealing strikers – Time to build a revolutionary leadership in the unions


THE ANGER expressed by Ealing Parking Service workers at the way in which the Unite leadership has sold their strike down the river reflects the growing anger of workers at the increasing desperation of trade union leaders to call off and undermine any struggle against the bosses.

Nearly 50 civil enforcement officers employed by the giant privateer outsourcing company Serco have been staging a series of strikes since May over Serco’s union busting activities.
These have included singling out local elected Unite representatives and activists with offers of severance deals to get rid of them.
Along with this attempt to undermine collective union activities amongst the workforce, Serco has been accused of using its absentee procedures to target and sack individual workers.
From the outset, the Ealing strikers were definite that the fight against victimisation of union reps could only be resolved by all-out strike action to force the local Labour-run council to sack Serco and bring the service back in-house.
While the workers showed the correct way forward to defeat the privateers, the leadership of Unite had no intention of leading such a struggle.
Instead, they ran off to the conciliation service ACAS for meetings with Serco which Unite regional officer Clare Keogh described as ‘highly productive and led to an agreement between Serco and Unite that involved Serco apologising for targeting workers with severance offers and a promise by the company that it would behave better in the future’.
She added: ‘The union, however, looks forward to improved industrial relations with Serco in Ealing now that this dispute has ended.’
To get this rotten deal that gives the workers absolutely nothing except the promise that Serco would ‘behave better’ towards them, Unite relied on calling at short notice a branch meeting which only 17 were able to attend with ten voting for, six against and one abstaining.
This deliberate underhand betrayal has enraged the Unite branch secretary, who was unable to attend himself, to demand a recall meeting of all members to throw out this deal.
The dispute at Ealing and the manoeuvrings of the union leaders to call it off as quickly as possible is in line with the entire degeneration of not just Unite but of the entire leadership of the trade unions today. It is characterised by empty promises of a determined struggle followed by capitulation to the bosses.
Back in April, Unite, with great fanfare, announced it was launching a campaign to end fire and rehire with ‘coordinated strikes and action across the country’.
Since then nothing.
No coordinated strikes against attacks on their members, no call for national action to defeat the bosses and the Tory government that represents them.
Instead, when members rise up in anger and take action against wage-cutting and victimisations the union leaders work overtime to keep any dispute localised and strikers isolated, forced to take partial strike action that inflicts minimum damage on the company profits.
The reason for the betrayals by the trade union leaders is that they are more concerned with keeping workers from the throats of the bosses and the Tories than they are about defending the wages, jobs and conditions of the working class.
They rightly fear that any coordinated action, a general strike, will place the issue of the working class taking power and putting an end to this bankrupt capitalist system.
These leaders who operate today as a prop for the bosses and Tory government must be kicked out. Workers in Unite and the rest of the trade unions must demand an immediate emergency conference of the TUC to organise a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will nationalise all the major industries and companies like Serco, placing them under the management of the working class as part of building a socialist planned economy.
Those trade union leaders who have thrown their lot in with the bosses must be removed and replaced by a new leadership prepared to lead the struggle for socialist revolution.

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