Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm in London Still....

I'm hanging out at the T&G in London and lucky me, it just so happened that the fantabulous Helen Creed was in town at the same time. We were able to find the most ordinary indian restaurant in London and when you converted the cost of the meal to aussie dollars, one piece of pakora was like twenty bucks.

It was great to talk to Helen about the union and labour movement. The T&G membership has just voted to have a merger with Amicus, so together, we will form Britain's largest union. The thing is, we want to form Britain's largest organising and growing union, not servicing and declining union. Amicus aint that sold on organising, and I'm sure there are people who think the merger is going to address the decline. I did some research yesterday and found that over 6 years, the total loss of membership when both unions are looked at is 426,000 members. If you take the T&G loss out, the total Amicus loss (which includes lots of mergers of smaller unions) is 353,000 members. A very stark indication that mergers don't stop the decline.

We are at the foothills of a very large mountain in order to turn around the decline. And as Michael Crosby says, if a Tory government comes in to power and UK unions aren't organising, there will be ramifications felt around the world. It will take generations of working people to turn around the decline and stop the exploitation of marginalised workers.

So, there are days when my organisation drives me bonkers and I want to run to an easier job, but there are other days, like yesterday when I caught up with Helen Creed, where I think of the challenge ahead and just as Rosie the Riveter says..... We can do it!

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