BUILD REVOLUTIONARY LEADERSHIP – forward to a workers’ government

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The platform at yesterday’s News Line-ATUA Conference in London
The platform at yesterday’s News Line-ATUA Conference in London

TWO HUNDRED trade unionists and youth attended the News Line-All Trades Union Alliance conference in Bethnal Green, east London, yesterday.

Moving the main resolution, ‘After Blair, not Brown but a workers government and socialism!’, ATUA National Secretary Dave Wiltshire said: ‘Blair was driven out of office by the intransigence of the Iraqi masses and the British working class.’

He told the conference that ‘Blair tried to carry on with the policies of Thatcher to smash the Welfare State.

‘What was driving him was the huge crisis of the world capitalist system, which is driving the ruling classes to recolonise the world and also wage war against their own working class.’

Wiltshire continued: ‘Blair couldn’t go through to smash the working class, he was defeated. Now they hope Brown can do the job.’

Wiltshire said that the working class is being driven into action to defend its gains.

At Royal Mail, 130,000 workers are being balloted for strike action, while civil servants have held two national strikes against wage cuts and Brown’s plans to destroy 100,000 jobs.

He asked: ‘Where do the trade union leaders stand?’

He said Transport and General Workers Union General Secretary Tony Woodley’s ‘style is to talk militant out of one corner of his mouth, and betray on the other.’

Wiltshire condemned the betrayals of the TGWU leadership in the car industry and Gate Gourmet, where workers were ‘sacked by megaphone’.

Woodley condemned the Gate Gourmet ‘gangster capitalists’, but then ‘the TGWU leadership and the TUC lined up openly with management’.

Wiltshire went on: ‘Woodley and his ilk are wedded to capitalism.’

He added: ‘When we face the closure of hospitals and factories, we need a leadership prepared to occupy, like the teachers and community at Wembley occupying against the private academy.’

He continued: ‘We need Councils of Action, uniting the working class and sections of the middle class, to lead and protect occupations.

‘The struggle within the trade union movement is to build such a revolutionary leadership, nationalise the banks and withdraw all troops immediately.’

He concluded: ‘Organise a general strike to bring down this government and bring in a workers government.’

Parmjit Bains, one of the leaders of the Gate Gourmet dispute, said: ‘At first, Woodley said we would all go back together, but less than one month later he signed a Compromise Agreement, agreeing at least 144 (compulsory) redundancies.’

She told the conference: ‘We will not give up. We must beat these ruthless privateers and we must get rid of trade union leaders like Woodley who help the bosses.’

Bill Rogers, chairman of Chingford ASLEF and secretary of North East London Council of Action, said: ‘The BMA is now talking about a “core’’ NHS service. They are advocating rationing in the health service.

‘We have got to build a new revolutionary leadership in the trade union movement.’

TGWU bus workers convenor for Travel London West, Paul Brown, told the conference: ‘There’s got to be a movement for the nationalisation of the bus industry. We need a campaign of industrial action.’

Jean Roberts, from the Wembley Park anti-academy occupation, said: ‘On March 23, we moved in and erected the tents. We are growing. More and more young people are dropping in.’

PCS Defra EC member, Niaz Faiz, said: ‘Our dispute is with the employer, which is the government, so it is both industrial and political.’

Faiz added: ‘We want joint action across the public sector. We have to take joint industrial action to bring down this scumbag government.’

Other speakers included: Hengride Permal (Chagos Islanders Community Association), consultant Anna Athow, Malkiat Bilku (Hillingdon Hospital UNISON shop steward), Rob Bolton (CWU S. Central No.1 branch), Steve Jackson (Greenford CWU), Nash Campbell (YS National Committee) and Paddy O’Regan (News Line Editor).