First some good news. Rob Williams, convenor for Linamar in Swansea (ex-Visteon) was unceremoniously sacked yesterday by management, on the grounds of an "irretrievable breakdown of trust." Immediately Rob occupied his office and the day shift workers walked off the job. Once the workers surrounded the building preventing police attempts to remove Rob, the bosses were forced to back down. Rob has now been reinstated but is now suspended, with more negotiations to take place next Wednesday. So while the opening engagement with management was successful, the battle is far from over. Messages of support can be sent to rwilliams 'at' linamar.com or robbo 'at' redwills.freeserve.co.uk. Protests to linda.hasenfratz 'at' linamar.com
Management's move comes after the role Rob has played in solidarity actions with the workplace occupations by Visteon workers. It is no accident. The use of occupations by these threatened workers must be playing on management's mind, especially as they seek to push through redundancies. By going for Rob they have attempted (so far unsuccessfully) to attack a prominent representative of this fledgling movement. (More available on the Socialist Party's website here, and supporting pieces at Socialist Worker and Socialist Unity.)
While we're on the subject of Socialist Unity, Andy has flagged up the forthcoming election in the building workers' union, UCATT. As he outlines in his post, what's at stake is a struggle between Alan Ritchie, an apparatus man who has not even worked on a building site and whose tenancy has seen the union practically run into the ground. He is being challenged for the general secretary's position by the left-winger Michael Dooley, a full timer who favours a fighting strategy for rebuilding the union and strengthening the hand of workers in what still are among Britain's most dangerous workplaces. News of the state of play in the builders' union can be found here. The election of Michael Dooley is in the interests of anyone who wants to see the labour movement thrive.
Finally and on a lighter note, Wolverhampton TUC, one of the growing number of trades councils known for consistent campaigning is holding its annual May Day shindig on Friday night.
Friday 1st May 2009 doors open 7pm - speakers, entertainment, music, food, bouncy castle and stalls
venue Pegasus Function Room, Craddock Street WV6 0QQ ring 07932 797139 to book stalls
The Heart of England Jazz Band confirmed to headline plus Transit Trix breakdancers and the Jockey Morris Men.
Matthew Collins from Searchlight, Brenda Proctor Women Against Pit Closures '25 years after the Miners Strike' and Indian Workers Association to speak. A local sacked CWU shop steward will also address the crowd.
If that wasn't enough, Birmingham Trades Council (website currently unavailable) is hosting its May event the following day. Details are:
2009 INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DAY
Saturday 2nd May 1- 5pm
Transport and General Workers Union (Unite) Centre
11 Broad Street Birmingham B15 1AY
Locally, Nationally & Internationally
This year’s theme has been prompted by the economic situation and the hierarchy of victims created by the media and mainstream politics
Speakers: Jeremy Dear – NUJ General Secretary, Kevin Nolan - Unite Convenor at Visteon, Carolyn Jones – Institute of Employment Rights, Clare Short MP and also speakers on Local Disputes, Asylum Seekers, Migrant Workers, Palestine and Ireland
Followed by: Workshop on the European Union led by Dave Nellist
Music by The Clarion Singers
Plus Stalls ~ Food ~ Crèche
Trade Unions and progressive campaign groups are invited to have a stall. Please send £10 for a stall and any donation to support the event to: BTUC 54 Allison St B5 5TH
Contact: Mary Pearson - 0121 773 8683 or Mob: 0797 017 4167, email to Mary 'at' sparkle123.freeserve.co.uk or marypearson123 'at' btinternet.com