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A Voice of Dissent: T Twine on GCHQ & "Right to Strike" Protest

"I for one will not be supporting this rally for the following reasons.

In my view GCHQ was not a ‘cause celebre’ for trade unionists 40 years ago and is even less of one today. On the contrary, this rally is a conscious diversionary tactic by which a class-collaborationist TUC provides political cover for a £1billion per year ‘deep state’ government surveillance centre that has spied on the majority working class for over 50 years (Echelon, Zircon conspiracies) and is currently feeding military SIGINT data to the Israeli IDF in support of its genocidal assaults on Gaza, Yemen - and beyond. In fact GCHQ (a doughnut not a pentagon but of similar function) is not a civil workplace but a military installation whose 2,500-strong workforce is covered by myriad disciplinary ‘D’ notices and which has criminalised whistle-blowers and journalists alike (ABC trial). These facts alone render the idea of defending workers’ rights at this UK/US/NATO surveillance citadel an (illegal) non-starter. Indeed, such evidence of GCHQ’s reactionary function also exposes the salient myth: despite public protestations the TUC will dutifully go through the motions but get onside and refuse to fully engage in defending any right-to-strike principle.
Why? Because they know over generations a ‘no-strike’ regime has been firmly embedded at GCHQ and reinforced by corrupt laws (Official Secrets Act) and in situ armed police - for the TUC such laws are sacred while deterrent force is not to be challenged!
Nevertheless, in an ideal world this huge fiscal drain on public spending would be shut off (£50 billion so far), the spy centre demolished and it’s workers re-employed into more socially useful jobs!

No, again in my view, the real ‘cause celebre’ for the trade union movement is the NHS, yet on this score, just as with the cost-of-living crisis, our TUC mis-leaders are so out of touch with militancy of the rank-and-file as to render them politically bankrupt!
tony UCSA/STUC/StoptheWar/MA4P."

Went down like a led balloon at our local UNITE Community meeting (1st one for me last Thursday).


Well done Gerard. I was a UNITE member for quite a long time (formerly with TGWU before the merger with Amicus) into the 2000’s. They had some fire in their belly in the days of Len McCluskey (especially the British Airways crews, some of whom I trained with) but I wouldn’t necessarily claim the stance would be much different even back then. Defend jobs at all costs is usually the mantra, no matter what the jobs are.

Three quick points:

1/ UNITE and UNISON (which I was a member of at the time, a Branch Sec. in fact) were very quick to hop on the facemasks wagon and to screech about making them mandatory. I was briefly a member of UCU. They were even more strident about what dirty specimens HE students are. (UCU are currently holding Gen Sec elections and if any UCU members are looking in - we have a few at 5filters I think - don’t reelect Jo Grady! (Even the Wobblies wouldn’t have me when I asked about their Covid policies.)

2/ The current Gen Sec for UNITE, Sharon Graham, was elected in August 2021 with 47k (ish) votes (approx 3% of Unite’s claimed membership). The turnout was a little over 124k and below 10% of claimed membership. There’s a resounding mandate…

3/ A considerably more credible TU, ASLEF, tackled the ‘minimum service level’ requirement in exactly the right way. They added on extra strike days to an upcoming campaign when management said they’d ask for protection under the relatively new MSL law. When the rail franchises cried about it and said “…actually we’ve changed our minds and won’t try and enforce MSL…” ASLEF reduced the strike days back down to the previously announced level.

Of four companies that tried to act tough, the last to crumble was LNER…

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Yeah that was said at our meeting K!

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