Rhys has a point. We hear much spoken from different groups within the Left about the need for taking unofficial action. These same people constantly condemn the leadership of Unite as being weak and even as selling out their class. In the same breath of condemnation they then call for our leaders to be more like, the estimable, Bob Crow; they put forward Mark Serwotka and Matt Wrack as shining examples of Left leaders who do the business.
Off hand, and no doubt I’ll be corrected, I can’t think of any significant unofficial action being called and officially supported by any of these three leaders – and, this isn’t a criticism of other Comrade trade unionists; no, it’s the real world.
Bob Crow has actually been criticised by his own members thus: “It was a cause for concern, he concluded, that Bob Crow and the RMT Executive complied with the laws and actually repudiated unofficial strike action.” http://www.workerspower.com/index.php?id=47,1390,0,0,1,0
So, let’s not run away with the idea that if Jerry Hicks became GS that he’d be supporting every action, official or unofficial, that landed on his desk. To begin with he’d need the support of the Executive, and hopefully, it’ll be a better one than we’re currently labouring under. Then, we would, I say ‘we’ because ultimately any decision reached could impact on the entire union, have the courts to contend with.
Most of us know the battles we’ve had with the High Courts when endeavouring to take legitimate industrial action. Imagine, under a Tory government - forget the charade of an alliance, the other mob’s insignificant as events will soon reveal - taking unofficial action with a judiciary primed to respond.
Are there any of us out there who don’t doubt that a cartel of bosses isn’t just waiting for such an eventuality to occur? We had a tough ride under New Labour. The Tories business backers are looking for a return for their money. The dissolution of trade unions through sequestration and likely bankruptcy – this a reality, if the likes of BA came after us for a sum of £40 million we’d be in trouble – would fit in well with the break-up and selling off of our Welfare State.
The grass may well appear greener on the other side; but, in amongst the green grass blades are still nasty weeds; and, anyway grass, even the greener kind on the other side, needs attending and looking after.
Now, I’m off to take a bit of official action against my dinner. Spag bol; and, a few glasses of Rioja, mmmmmmmm.
Bon appétit; merci, don’t mind if I do, guvnor.