Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1143/32860
From The Socialist newspaper, July 28, 2021
The NSSN meeting discussed what free ports mean for workers (Click to enlarge)
Nick Chaffey, Secretary of the Socialist Party of the South
More than 50 trade unionists from unions such as Unite, RMT, PCS, Usdaw and NEU, and representatives from local professional councils in Southampton, Hull and Liverpool met with help from the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) to discuss this what “free ports” mean to workers and how unions should respond.
Rob Williams, Chairman of the NSSN, introducing the meeting stressed the importance of raising awareness on the development of free ports and the danger they represent for workers: “There must be no bonfires of our rights”, a he warned.
On the day of the meeting, Unite signed a major union recognition agreement with XPO-Nestlé on the East Midlands Gateway logistics center which will eventually cover six million square feet of warehousing. This is an overview of the impact of the Tories’ “leveling” agenda in the workplace, as incentives are offered to investors in the form of deregulation and tax breaks.
Dave Williams, executive member of Unite, said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction, but there is a lot at stake in stopping a continuation of the race to the bottom that will weaken and undermine jobs and employment. to come up. ”
Darren Proctor, RMT National Officer for the Navy, spoke of the longstanding race to the bottom that has seen sailor salaries attacked by bosses.
Claire from PCS in the East Midlands explained how deregulation has spread across Europe with 83 free ports already in the European Union. It is not only coastal ports that are targeted, but also hubs like East Midlands Airport, which is now second behind Stanstead in terms of air cargo.
Reeling from a decade of cutbacks in public funding, cash-strapped local councils, including labor councils, are backing these measures, drawn by increased revenue from corporate tariffs, despite the threat that weighs on workers. Evidence already shows that free ports do not create jobs but promote job transfers. The role of labor councils makes this a political issue which must be addressed by the unions.
The meeting was unanimous on the fact that unions must defend all existing national and local agreements. Where current agreements exist with companies like UPS and DHL, unions must ensure that job transfers to Freeports are fought in order to defend workers’ wages and conditions. Our approach must be to demand that all new jobs, including apprenticeships, be at rates and conditions of pay agreed by the unions.
The Socialist Party gives its full support to the development of a coordinated trade union response to free ports. The meeting proposed a new national meeting in the fall and a national day of action to raise awareness and mobilize the opposition. This should include establishing links with the unions of the 83 free ports across Europe who will face their own attacks in the coming period.
The only way to ensure true leveling for all is to implement socialist policies which should include the renationalization of ports and transport as part of an integrated plan of production and distribution to ensure full employment and improve current salary and working conditions.
In The Socialist from July 28, 2021:
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Conservatives and Labor fail on child poverty
Nationality and Borders Bill
Floods in London: privatization and heavy rains are a dangerous mix
Jobs and housing for all
Cuban protests – what do they represent?
The devastation of floods in Europe
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The Socialist July 28, 2021 |
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