File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1996/96-12-01.070, message 23

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 96 23:39:20    
Subject: M-G: Support Liverpool dockers!

’For over twelve months now 500 Liverpool dockworkers have effectively been 
locked out of their jobs for adhering to the basic trade union principle of 
refusing to cross a picket line.At the end of September 1995 the dockers 
employer,the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC) attempted to bring in 
scab labour on a casual or temporary basis.However,even the strikebreakers 
have protested against the poor working conditions they have been expected 
to endure!
n among all of this,where magnificent international solidarity has been 
organised by dockworkers at ports around the world via a boycott of MDHC's 
biggest customer ACL Containers,the MDHC management has intermittantly 
offered between 60 and 100 dockworkers their  jobs back.But this is only a 
buy off ruse which would lead to these workers replacing the casuals the 
management intend laying off anyway!The dockworkers themselves have rightly 
rejected this and other insulting sops from management.
ince the British Tory government abolished the National Dock Labour Scheme 
in 1989,British ports have been decimated--and so too have the 
jobs,livelihoods and trade union rights of thousands of 
dockworkers.Indeed,the port of Liverpool,or what is left of it,is the only 
port in Britain not to be completely thrown to the less than tender mercies 
of overall casualisation and a total anti-union culture.In fact,active rank 
and file dockworkers and shop stewards from the docker's union,the Transport 

and General Workers Union (TGWU),have not just been up and down several 
countries speaking at around 5,000 labour movement meetings to raise the 
profile of their struggle and also much needed monies so they and their 
families can eat,but they have been involved in two delegate based 
international dockworkers conferences,the second of which set up the Dockers 

	So in among all of this excellent activity,what of the leadership of 

the TGWU?The supposedly left-wing dominated General Executive Committee of 
the T&G has steadfastly refused to give the dispute official backing.In 
fact,when 200 sacked dockworkers lobbied the recent TUC conference in 
Blackpool,T&G general secretary Bill Morris argued that it would not be 
worth a sacked docker addressing a conference  of over 1,000 trade union 
delegates because "there probably won't be anybody there from 
Liverpool!".This outrageous piece of bureaucratic evasiveness is almost 
certainly at one with the overwhelming desire of the vast majority of 
national trade union tops to keep the path clear for the election of a 
Blairite,right-wing Labour government already pledged to keep in place the 
arsenal of Tory imposed anti-trade union laws.
	As magnificently and determinedly as the Liverpool dockworkers have 
struggled to defend their jobs and as equally magnificently as they have 
forged good international links with other dockers around the world (their 
real allies!),twelve months of hard class struggle and tremendous sacrifice 
have not won the day.With the treacherous T&G officials cowering behind the 
law and defending not the union membership but their own fat salaries and 
many other perks,nothing short of an organised mass trade union and local 
community blockade of the port of Liverpool will force the hard-nosed MDHC 
management to budge.Of necessity this will have to involve a mass portside 
meeting to elect picket/blockade organisers who can act as the overseers of 
a much needed workers defence guard.This is no pipedream as in the Wapping 
(London)printworkers lockout of 1986,the old Society of Graphical and Allied 

Trades printworkers union in London voted to supply its pickets with 
baseball bats in the face of some particularly brutal police intimidation.
*Support the Liverpool dockworkers!
No victimisations!
No to casualisation!
For a mass blockade and workers defence guard to shut down the entire port 
of Liverpool!
Smash the anti-union laws!
Victory to the Liverpool dockworker"’s.
"’Also send messages of support and financial donations 
to:J.Davies,Secretary-Merseyside Port Shop Stewards,19 Scorton 
Street,Liverpool,L6 4AS.

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