Who would have believed the Gate Gourmet workers may inflict the first serious policy defeat of Mr Blair’s leadership by the party’s National Executive Comittee since 1997.
The issue at hand is support for secondary (or support) strikes, which Tony Blair is vehemently against. Remember, the BA workers strike was illegal since they were not meant to support their co-workers at Gate Gourmet. But the unions want them back. Damn right!
Yesterday, delegates at the Labour party conference narrowly voted in favour of the resolution.
Julie Hilling, a delegate from Worsley, said the Gate Gourmet workers had been treated no better than “common criminals”, but urged delegates not to back a return to secondary action.
But Tony Woodley, the TGWU general secretary, denied his union’s move marked a return to the 1970s. “It’s about protecting workers’ dignity and stopping bosses victimising ordinary men and women.”
Delegates gave Gate Gourmet workers in the audience a standing ovation as Mr Woodley said the case exposed “severe weaknesses” in labour laws, which allowed the “legal exploitation and bullying” of staff. “It is unacceptable and immoral,” he said. “We aren’t calling for wildcat action. We aren’t calling for flying pickets.”
But workers should be given the right to “solidarity action”, Mr Woodley said. “What is this movement about if it isn’t solidarity with those less able to defend themselves?
I agree fully. The press may paint some extreme examples but not all workers constantly want to strike. Without the BA workers strike, no one would have cared about the GG workers.
Update: A deal resolving the issue is expected tomorrow.
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