A section of the Young Socialists/WRP lobby of the Trade Union Congress with the Chagos Islanders well to the fore
A section of the Young Socialists/WRP lobby of the Trade Union Congress with the Chagos Islanders well to the fore

TUC DELEGATES on the opening day of their Congress in Manchester yesterday, were lobbied by a large delegation of WRP and YS members and also a Chagos Islands delegation.

The Chagossians called for support for their struggle to return to their island homeland in the Pacific. Delegates told News Line that they would support the call for the Chagossian people to address Congress, and spoke up for Congress to increase support for the Palestinians.

Mary Wozencroft PCS a delegate from the Isle of Wight said: ‘The Chagossian people should definitely have a platform here to tell their story. ‘The TUC should support their right to return to their homes. She also spoke out angrily against calls for a second referendum and said: ‘Our agenda is to get the Tories out, not reverse the referendum. ‘The Tories have no interest in the working class. Their anti-union legislation and zero hours contracts are attacking the workers all the time.

Fellow PCS civil servants union member and MOD worker, Andy Poylan said: ‘PCS policy is not to call for a second referendum. We want a General Election.

‘I’m also very, very strongly in favour of a Palestinian State, and opposition to Israel is not ant-Semitic.’

Bob Potts RMT North East told News Line: ‘There should not be another referendum. That is our union policy and we made that policy in 1979. We have been trying to get out of the EU since then. ‘There should be a General Election, but the Tories are frightened to call one, so they must be brought down.’

Neil Collinson GMB Northern, said: ‘We said all along that the NHS pay deal, was a poor deal, and our members rejected it. It was a rotten deal and now the RCN is against it, and they have got rid of their General Secretary who supported it. ‘A lot of unions are looking at it again because the members are up in arms. This three-year deal is a terrible deal. Who knows what inflation is going to be in three years?’

Kathryn Booth NEU Teachers Union, said: ‘I want congress to back our campaign for SEND, Special Educational Needs and Disability funding which is suffering terribly under the Tories, and make sure that the government funds the pay increase to all education workers in full.’

Earlier before the lobby of the TUC, a well attended Young Socialists and WRP meeting of more than 50 people, heard speakers calling for strike action from the TUC.

Dave Wiltshire, ATUA National Secretary said: ‘The vote to leave the bosses’ and bankers’ EU in 2016 was a blow against the capitalist system and the trade union bureaucracy as well. All the unions except the RMT the Bakers, and ASLEF bombarded their members with threats and warnings, telling them to vote remain or their lives would be ruined. But workers voted to leave the EU and defied their leaders.

‘We have a situation today that it’s the trade union leaders that are keeping this government in power, but the working class is rising up against it.

‘Something unique is happening today. All the health unions were told they were getting a huge pay rise. And all the unions backed it except the GMB, but when the nurses got their pay packets they found they’d got nothing. The RCN members organised a petition against their leader and she has quit before being removed.

‘Unite has a resolution saying that in the event of no EU deal the Unite leaders are prepared to call a strike to stay in the European Union but not to defend the NHS.

‘We are living in really explosive times.‘Either fight or get out!’ That is what we will be demanding of the union leaders at the lobby.

Isabelle Charlot, Chagos Islands Movement (CIM) said: ‘It’s been a long battle, that the British and US governments have tried to hide from the world. The British are trying to kill our history. Home is home. That is where we want to go.’

Said Attia, Grenfell speaker, and North Kensington resident said: ‘I live facing the tower. At 2am we heard a very hard knock on the door from the police, and from then until 10am we saw the fire. Now they are smiling and covering the tower with a white sheet saying ‘We Love Grenfell. They are insulting us.’ Full report with pictures in tomorrow’s News Line.