The following leaflet was prepared for a T&GWU Conference on the Sky Chef dispute held in Hammersmith on 20 November. Stewards attempted to prevent SLP comrades from handing out this leaflet!
On the first anniversary of their struggle against unjust and unlawful sacking, the Ealing Acton and Shepherds Bush Constituency Socialist Labour Party congratulates the Skychef workers for their steadfast resistance against their employer in the face of tremendous odds.
We believe this struggle can be won if the leadership of the T&GWU sincerely wants, as it claims to, the Skychef workers to succeed. The best way to win this struggle is for the T&GWU executive to call out on strike the 30,000 of its members who work at the airport in support of the Skychef workers. But the T&GWU dare not take such a step for it involves defiance of the unjust and anti-working class trade-union laws. Defiance of such laws jeopardises the union funds that pay the huge salaries of trade-union bosses. In addition, such defiance spoils their cosy relationship with the Labour Party, which is hell-bent on attacking the working class and serving the interests of British imperialism.
Not only the Labour Party, but increasingly, with some honourable exceptions, the leadership of the trade unions is becoming an arm of the State and refusing to make a collective representation on behalf of the working class. They have become more like portfolio managers, sitting on huge investments, paying themselves large salaries and offering their membership benefits such as cheap travel, insurance and private medicine, which can only be taken up by those who are relatively well off. Is it surprising, then, that the workers at the bottom of the pile fail to see any advantage in taking up union membership?
This situation can be reversed, provided the mass of the working class rejects the Labour Party and elects to the leadership of the unions those who fight for the interests of their members and reject all co-operation and class collaboration with the ruling class.
It is interesting that the same people who only yesterday betrayed the struggle of the Liverpool dockers are today claiming to be on the side of the Skychef workers. While pretending to be supporting the Skychef struggle, they are merely prolonging the struggle and conducting backstage negotiations with the employers for some sort of sordid sell-out. While this charade has been going on, many workers, demoralised and starved, have found jobs elsewhere, which suits the union executive down to the ground.
Amazingly, the T&GWU have also invited Ken Livingstone to address today’s rally. Only yesterday this stock exchange socialist was enthusiastically applauding the genocidal war waged by the neo-Nazi NATO imperialist alliance against tiny Yugoslavia. Is it possible that someone who is a very prominent member of an imperialist party, which attacks workers at home and the oppressed people abroad, and who supported the devastation wreaked on the people of Yugoslavia, can be a friend of either the Skychef workers or any other section of workers?
In conclusion, while fully supporting the struggle of the Skychef workers, we call upon them to put pressure on the T&GWU to call out its members at Heathrow airport in support of their unconditional reinstatement and compensation for all loss of earning incurred.
The Socialist Labour Party is the only national party which propagates the defiance of the anti-trade union laws; which stands for the destruction of capitalism and its replacement by socialism, which alone can bring everlasting peace and prosperity to the working class. If you are interested in building for such a society, please contact us at the address below.
[Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush Constituency SLP, PO Box 9135, London W3 6DG. Telephone 0181-992-7210]