Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bringing the union into disrepute

Trade unions are often accused of corruption: sometimes it's true. But as well as blatant hand-in-the-till corruption, there is also "let's- give- our- friends- some- money" corruption. It's less blatant than simple stealing and bribery, but it's no less dishonest; and it goes on very widely. Unfortunately, the "left" are the worst offenders.

Until 1989, the Soviet Union and other Stalinist states in Eastern Europe subsidised the British Communist Party's paper, the Morning Star. With the collapse of the Stalinist empire, it looked like the Star was finished; but no! It managed to survive, mainly because of massive donations from British trade unions - none of which consulted their members on this matter. The T&GWU was probably the biggest donor.

Now that scion of leading British Communist Party family, Anita Halpern has come into at least £20 million as a result of inheriting art stolen from her family by the Nazis, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Star aught now to be self-sufficient. But no: they are still at their old game of screwing the trade union movement (with no reference to the membership), for funds in order to keep their Stalinist lying-sheet in business.

Motion to the Region 1 (ie: London) Committee of the Transport and General Workers Union from the 1/1148 (ACTS) branch:

"The Morning Star is unique in being the only daily national newspaper published in the UK, which is co-operatively owned by is readers. The Morning Star has been a voice for trade Unions, anti-fascists, progressive causes and peace for seventy-six years and played a vital role in the working class movement and despite set backs continues to be a bright independent beacon in a capitalist dominated press.

"This branch notes the importance of the Morning Star continuing to defend and represent the workers of this country. That it has been the only paper to provide coverage of the Trade Union Freedom Bill and the current attacks on Trade Unions and Shop Stewards. Its articles and news coverage reflect a wide range of progressive views in a non-sectarian way.

"This branch believes that the organisation for defence and advancement of ordinary people's rights is the trade union movement ; therefore Trade Unions should have a voice in the running of the paper. This branch notes that the TGWU Region 1 is a major share holder in the PPPS (Morning Star / People's Press Management Committee - JD) and believes that our union should increase its share holding to be entitled to a seat and be represented on the PPPS and believes that our Union should increase its share holding to be entitled to to a seat and be represented on the PPPS Committee. This Branch notes that FBU (Fire Birgades Union- JD) London and RMT (Rail Maritine Transport union-JD) already have a seat on the PPS Committee.

* This branch calls upon the Region to increase its shares in the PPPS to £20, 000, which will give entitlement for a seat on the PPPS Committee
* That the Region take-up (sic - JD) the seat and play an active role on the committee.

"In recognition of the vital role that the paper plays for Trade Ubion Rights we call upon the region to
* Send out an appeal to all Region 1 branches for the Morning Star
* request the national Union website has a link to the Morning Star web site.

"PASSED - TGWU 1/1148 branch - 14th November 2004.

...And, as I understand it, the fake-left-dominated Region 1 committee has passed this, so that £20,000 of T&G members' subscriptions wiill be spent on subsidising Stalinism.

What a disgrace! No wonder Trade Unionism in Britain is held in contempt, even by the membership! This is corruption: and we should say so.


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