07/08/2010 - Building a real broad-front campaign

AT LAST another union has echoed Solidarity’s call for a broad front campaign to fight the cuts.

For the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers - RMT – has tabled a motion for next month’s TUC Congress in Manchester.  It will call for a co-ordinated trade union and community fight back against the cuts programme and the “class warfare” of the Con-Dem Government.

Announcing the move, RMT General Secretary Bob Crow noted:

“The TUC has to be the launch-pad for the fight back against the coalition Government’s decision to unleash all out class warfare through their unprecedented attack on our communities, public services, welfare state and transport system. Our defence must be built on generalised strike action and community resistance in the biggest public mobilisation since the anti-poll tax movement."

Solidarity has been calling for something similar since last year.  Our initial call was made in response to the decision by Diageo to close its blending and bottling plant in Kilmarnock and its Port Dundas Grain Distillery in Glasgow. 

At the time, Solidarity General Secretary, Patrick Harrington said:-

“To save Scottish jobs we need to build a mass broad front campaign. Naturally, the trade union movement is already involved. However, we also need to involve all political parties, community groups, the churches and any other interested group”.

We repeated this call many times, but sadly it fell on deaf ears. 

The Scottish Trades Union Congress – STUC – failed to follow-up on the magnificent 20,000 strong demonstration held in the centre of Kilmarnock against Diageo’s plans.  Indeed, the Unite and GMB trades unions even closed down their campaign against the job cuts.  With this lack of action and support, it was hardly surprising that 700 workers accepted a redundancy deal just days before Christmas.

Despite this set-back, Solidarity still believes that the idea of a broad-front has its merits.  Indeed, last month one of our supporters advocated “a broad alliance of trade unionists, the self-employed and responsible small businesses to fight the Con-Dem cuts.”

Responding to Bob Crow’s call, Solidarity’s Patrick Harrington said:-

“At long last the message has got through – we need to build a coalition to fight the Con-Dem cuts.

Solidarity Trade Union has pointed out many times that the bankers, speculators and the previous Labour government are the one’s responsible for the current economic nightmare.  But they’ve not been held accountable for their actions.

The burden will fall on those least able to afford it.  As usual, the ordinary working man and women will be hit the hardest.  It will be our jobs and services under threat.

I’ll give an example.  I live in Scotland.  There’s talk of 60000 public service jobs going.  That’s an absolute scandal.  It’ll be a disaster – it can’t be allowed to happen.”

However, Mr. Harrington noted that only a “truly genuine” broad-front would be successful.  All personal, political and organisational differences should be put aside.  In fact they pale into insignificance compared to the danger posed to jobs and services by the double-headed monster that is Cameron and Clegg.

“To say that I’ve had my differences with Bob Crow is probably the understatement of the year.  Indeed, just last month Solidarity queried his mega bucks salary. 

However, I’m calling upon all unions – and union leaders – to put aside their personal and ideological differences and fight for the common good.  We must build a genuine broad-front coalition to stop the Con-Dem cuts in their tracks. 

United we stand – divided we fall.”