Dave Ward to replace Billy Hayes as Communications Union leader

Billy-Banner4-1Dave Ward who has been the deputy general secretary (postal) of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) since 2003 was this afternoon declared elected as general secretary to replace Billy Hayes who has held the post since 2001 and was standing for a fourth term. CWU is the biggest trade union in the communications sector with 200,000 members working in companies including BT, Capita, EE, O2, Parcelforce, the Post Office, Royal Mail, Santander and UK Mail. Dave Ward takes over the role of general secretary from 1 June.

It is not yet clear what practical difference this will make to the union or its politics. Dave Ward is also widely regarded as being on the left, and as a member of the Labour Party he has previously served on its national executive. Whilst Billy Hayes has been a critical friend of Labour, Dave Ward who promisesno more something for nothing, blind loyalty to Labour” may be rather more distant. He does, however, promise to “make Labour and politics work for usand recognises that “the general election will be very close and we need to fight against austerity and the divisive ideas of UKIP for a Labour victory.” His stance may become clearer in 10 days time when the CWU conference will discuss several motions which seek to break the link with Labour and, in some cases, consider backing other parties including  the Grens, Plaid Cymru, SNP and TUSC. Continue reading

Campaign for Labour Party democracy points the way forward

CLPD logoThe Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD held its annual general meeting, its 42nd, on Saturday (28 February) at Conway Hall in central London.  Ove)r 80 CLPD members and supporters attended, and there was much discussion and debate on the way forward for the Labour Party.

Chair Gaye Johnston introduced Kelvin Hopkins MP as first speaker.  Kelvin opened his Parliamentary Labour Party report highlighting the urgent need for the Party to move leftwards.  On the doorstep, he said, people in England were voting Green, and in Scotland going over to the SNP, with the SNP calling Labour “Red Tories”.  Ed Milliband has moved slightly to the left, but he continues to be surrounded by Blairites.  Continue reading

Unions have united for Labour victory. The party must respond to union concerns

Ed at TUC marchAll the signs are that Labour can form a majority government in 2015. Lord Ashcroft’s larger opinion polls all indicate that the Tories and Lib Dems are going to lose a lot of seats to Labour.

David Cameron seems to agree. This realisation forced him into a large Cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to find more presentable faces for the Tories. This will fail, as the faces aren’t the problem, it’s the policies.

This realisation is also dawning upon establishment forces in the media. We can expect many more of the character assassination attempts against Ed Miliband that we’ve witnessed recently. Our opponents will fight dirty because that is their character. Continue reading

Have the trade unions given up on Labour?

francesogradycongressA slimmed down Trades Union Congress meeting this week on the banks of the Mersey has an air of unreality about it. It’s not quite that no-one cares what the TUC says – trade union leaders care enough about speaking with one voice that there is even less public debate and dissent here than there is at Labour’s conference. But there is simply no mechanism to make the very good policies agreed here translate into a political reality.

It is 115 years since the TUC decided to initiate what became the Labour Party, “to establish a voice for working people within parliament“. If the trade unions affiliated to Labour, who still have almost half the votes at its conference, could propose the policies agreed here in Liverpool at Labour’s conference in Manchester the week after next, they would be carried  with little dissent. There is no need for trade unions to dictate to Labour; the party membership would welcome them just giving voice and their votes to what they believe.

But that isn’t what happens. Continue reading

Trident: the establishment has a delusional approach to our role in the world

Scrap-TridentThe CWU is proud to be affiliated to CND. We regard the struggle for a nuclear free world as essential for humanity’s survival. Your work gives us hope that we can secure our common future.

Now, this year at the TUC, the CWU moved composite motion 2 on the economy. The general line of the composite was hostility to the government austerity programme. The CWU believes that the alternative is for investment in the economy by the government not cuts. We believe that expanding the economy is the best way to get out of stagnation or recession. Obviously we want jobs from this, but we are discriminating. Continue reading