Friday, 12 December 2014

Morning Star & Trade Union Treachery

The Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union is implicated in today’s Consulting Association blacklist scandal.
Stevie Stevenson below in the

Monday 8th
posted by Morning Star in Features examines its long history of treachery

THE courts will soon hear a blacklisting 'super-case' after the granting of group litigation, which means that hundreds of separate cases of blacklisted workers will be taken on as one single case.
One of the main firms implicated, McAlpine, has named 34 other co-defendants, including most of the other major construction companies.

The trade unions must be aware that as part of their defence, the construction employers will attempt to use the same kind of smears and distortions used in the infamous Shrewsbury Pickets trial of the 1970s. They will once again be supported by the right-wing press and media.
There can also be little doubt that the role of trade union full-time officials will be scrutinised.
Many contracting electricians have been angered to find that the information on their Consulting Association blacklist file indicates complicity by officials of the former Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union (EETPU).

The construction trade press has reported on this 'collusion' and the blacklist victims are hoping that the court case will reveal the redacted names of those union officials.

I myself was put on the blacklist by the EETPU. My Consulting Association blacklist file states that I was an Electrical Plumbing Industrial Union shop steward in a three-month strike on a Manchester construction site in 1995.

I have never worked in Manchester. In fact, at that time I had recently started work with my local authority building direct labour organisation in Swansea, where I worked until retirement in 2013.
At that time, the TUC expelled EETPU, but it then merged with the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) as a means of restoring TUC unity.

They were deadlocked over structural integration and continued to operate as separate sections of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU).

Eventually the deadlock ended with an EETPU takeover led by Sir Ken Jackson. The renowned internal democracy of the AEU was eradicated.

The restoration of TUC unity by this means, meant that not only was the EETPU’s previous destructive activity effectively swept under the carpet, but some of its internal practices, like assisting in blacklisting, were allowed to continue.

A TUC 'conciliation process' in 1995 amounted to a typical TUC fudge designed to secure EETPU’s return.

The TUC had eventually been forced to expel the EETPU in 1988 over 'sweetheart deals'.
During that decade of the Thatcher government’s onslaught on the trade union movement, EETPU’s behaviour had been utterly treacherous. It included:
  • Collusion with Tory Cabinet minister Norman Tebbit, who informed Parliament that he had taken advice on anti-trade union law from EETPU leader Frank Chapple.
  • Collusion with Rupert Murdoch by supplying the scab labour which allowed him to sack his Fleet Street workforce.
  • Collusion with the scab Union of Democratic Mineworkers.
EETPU’s complicity in blacklisting was part of an internal culture that had arisen during the 1970s following a so-called “Joint Industrial Board check-off” agreement whereby the electrical contracting employers actually paid the union contributions of all their employees.

In return the EETPU officials involved in that industry were obliged to 'police' the construction sites. Basically a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune.

The AEEU eventually became part of Amicus and then Unite.

Unite was formed by a merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) in 2007, two years before the Consulting Association blacklist was exposed in 2009.

So in 2007 there was no knowledge of any trade union officials being complicit in blacklisting.
Nevertheless, due diligence was carried out by Unite as the corrupt “JIB check-off” was ended at the insistence of the TGWU.

This latest exposure of the old EETPU’s behaviour raises the question of whether the trade union movement has learned the lesson.
The EETPU’s brand of trade unionism was more about organising the employers than organising the workers.

There has never been a more unprincipled, divisive and destructive TUC-affiliated union than EETPU.

TUC Congress House should be compelled to do what it has so far never done, to place on record its acknowledgement of that fact.

We must strive to ensure that the collaboration and sweetheart deals with employers, which led on to EETPU officials assisting in the blacklisting of union activists, is never allowed to happen again.

For more information on this get a copy of 'BOY's on the BLACKLIST'
a recently researched investigation into blacklisting in the British building trade
including the involvement of some paid trade union officers and the police, and
security services, published by Tameside Trade Union Council in October 20014. 
See below:
OUT now is Tameside TUC's study of blacklisting in the British building trade. This unique 52-page A5 book concludes our research into blacklisting stretching back for over a decade of struggle by a group of Manchester contracting electricians. This book illustrates a special investigation by two officers of Tameside TUC focusing on cover-ups, collaboration, and complicity by major British construction companies affiliated to the now defunct Consulting Association. We consider the behaviour of local authorities in providing contracts to companies that blacklist workers in the British building trade; especially those in the Greater Manchester area such as Tameside MBC, Salford and Manchester City Council. The book also asks questions as to who else was involved besides: what did the unions do to expose what was going on for decades; who were the whistle-blowers who helped to bring out the truth; what part did the police and special security services play in the history of blacklisting that goes back beyond the days of the Economic League?

Copies of 'Boys on the Blacklist' available by postal subscription:
£3.00 for one copy (post included).

Make cheque payable to 'Tameside TUC' and send to:
46, Kingsland Road, Rochdale, Lancs. OL11 3HQ.

Bundles of 5 copies - £14.60p a package (post included).

Tel.: 01706 861793.

No comments: