By any means necessary, end the Israeli genocidal invasion and occupation of Gaza

For massive international humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza now. 

Condemn all US, European, and Chinese imperialist support for Israel’s genocidal occupation of Gaza – including phoney, “pacifist”, look-the-other-way policies.

The people of Gaza have the right to stay in their homes and defend the right of existence of a Palestinian state

Egypt must open its border with Gaza NOW 

Stop the genocide: bombing, starving, invading Gaza is ethnic-cleansing and a war crime 

The Biden administration and every government in the world should demand Israel withdraw all its military forces and stop the invasion of Gaza now


The aim of the Netanyahu regime is the suppression of all Palestinian rights in Gaza and the West Bank and the suppression of democracy in Israel for the Arab and Jewish population of Israel opposed to Netanyahu’s authoritarianism, racism, and genocidal policies-in reality, the majority of the people of Israel.

Because there can be no democracy in Israel and no peace in the Middle East as long as the Netanyahu regime remains in power:

  • Bring down the Netanyahu government or any other government like it by any means necessary! 
  • For the alliance of the progressive workers and oppressed of the Middle East 
  • For the alliance of the mass Israeli Jewish movement defending democracy and peace with the Palestinian struggle against Netanyahu’s neo-fascist coalition and its attack on democracy and all human rights 
  • Condemn and end all the Israeli government’s genocidal policies in the name of Zionism
  • Condemn and end all genocidal, racist, and authoritarian policies wrapped up in the slogan and symbols of Zionism 
  • Condemn and end all use of Zionism to defend the oppressors against the oppressed
  • Zionists must either stand with the oppressed and defenders of democracy, or be recognized as oppressors and enemies of democracy


Renew the Palestinian intifada! 

Victory to the Palestinian youth fighting West Bank ethnic-cleansing and the Israeli settler movement

For a new Arab Spring to overthrow the Arab and Middle Eastern allies of US imperialism and the Netanyahu regime

For a new, international, independent movement of the progressive forces of the workers, oppressed, and youth against imperialism, genocide, and war to defeat the global rise of fascism and the united front of the capitalist powers against socialism, equality, and democracy

15 October 2023

The alarm bells are ringing louder and the warning lights are flashing. War criminals are on the loose and committing genocide in Gaza. An unstable world has become even more dangerous – the result of the cynical, racist divide-and-conquer policies that American and the Western imperialists played historically to divide and dominate the Middle East and the Arab world.

This is the State of Israel’s deepest crisis since its foundation in 1948. It is a crisis within Israeli Jewish society and it’s an intensified crisis in the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian Arab population by the Zionist state. Israel was facing that crisis BEFORE the military forces of Hamas broke out of the Gaza Strip on 7th October. The attacks by Hamas were a response to that crisis – an essentially defensive reaction, in part based on past experience, against the growing Israeli attacks on Palestinians wherever they were, and the all too clear threat that the consolidation of a fascist dictatorship in Israel posed to a continued Arab presence in Palestine. 

The imperialists, who are the world’s greatest oppressors and exploiters, did not create and arm Israel out of sympathy for Jewish victims of anti-semitism – Britain in particular had denied entry to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. They exploited the plight of the Jews and exploited the horror of the Holocaust to trap one oppressed people (the Jews) in the role of oppressing another (the Palestinian Arabs). The Arab population has an absolute right to resist that oppression and to call on the Arab people across the Middle East and North Africa to rise up in their support. 

The imperialists’ cynical policy is unravelling. That is the cause of the crisis in Palestine/Israel and it is a crisis for the imperialists themselves, one which they can’t resolve. Without a solution Biden, Sunak, Starmer, the leaders of the EU and the Pope can only repeat the mantra “Israel has a right to defend itself” – regardless of Israel’s 75 year history of US & British backed repression, dispossession, and slaughter of Palestinians, and despite the obvious fact that if prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the dictator of some poor country in Africa or South America, Britain or the EU would have got an international arrest warrant out by now and he would be on his way to the Hague to be put on trial for war crimes. 

The roots of Israel’s crisis 

From the time Israel was created, there were two different Zionist visions of what Israel should be that seemed not to be mutually exclusive. Progressive Zionists believed that Israel should be based on socialist principles and could be a vanguard of democracy in the Middle East. Right-wing Zionists believed that Israel should be a colonial settler state dependent on the US for its survival and therefore prepared to be the consistent supporter and agent of US domination of the Middle East. The Zionist supporters of building a socialist society believed they should and could live in peace with their Arab neighbors. The Zionists tied to US imperialism preferred the expansion of Israel at the expense of their Arab neighbors and an Israeli policy of exploiting  the workers and resources of the Arab peoples around them. For a time, Israel had elements of both visions. But inevitably it could not be both. Today the survival of Israel as a settler state require the crushing of democracy in Israel and the genocide of the Palestinian people. 

Right-wing Israeli Zionist leaders are facing mounting problems to maintain the goal of a Jewish state on the land of Palestine and thereby maintain their usefulness to Western imperialism. The State of Israel was established with an ostensible right of return for all Jews who wanted to settle there. Following World War II, Israel saw a continuing increase in its Jewish population, driven mainly by a desperate hope for safety more than by Zionist ideology. Over the following period, there have been periodic waves of Jewish immigration from other countries including countries in the Middle east and North Africa, and later a wave of Jewish refugees  from the collapsing Soviet Union.

In reality, however, there has always been a problem of sustaining a relatively large Jewish population in Israel, while the Israeli capitalist economy has required maintaining an ever-growing, second-class, underpaid and super-exploited Palestinian Arab labor force. Since the establishment of the Palestinian authorities on the West Bank and in Gaza, the Israeli capitalist economy has treated the Palestinian Arab populations of those territories as a constant source of low paid labor, in reality, essential to the profitability of Israeli capitalism. 

Since the 1990s, however, Jewish right-of-return migration to Israel has declined and remains at a very low level. There are no likely sources for a significant wave of new Jewish immigrants, while the political and military situation in the Middle East makes that an unattractive prospect for all but the most zealous Zionists.

At the same time the Arab population is increasing, not just in Gaza and the occupied West Bank but within the borders of Israel. Palestinian Arabs who have Israeli citizenship under a 1950 law now amount to 25% of the citizen population and, despite their second-class status, still have the right to vote. 

Moreover, recently the Zionist aim of creating a Jewish economy for the Jewish state has led to a policy of attempting to drastically reduce the use of Arab labor, but without more Jewish immigration, that means relying on short-term migrant labor from non-Arab & non-Muslim countries. In addition, Israel’s geographic position has made it a natural route for growing numbers of refugees, mostly from Africa. Like most countries in today’s world, Israel is becoming increasingly multi-national. Under the circumstances, of course, right-wing Zionism has become more and more openly racist.

Fascist rule in Palestine/Israel

Fascism is a response to the growing contradictions that Zionism faces, which have led to a general move to the right, increased divisions in Israeli Jewish society and greater political instability. There were five general elections in the four years 2019 to 2022. Netanyahu returned to power following the last general  election in November 2022. He created a government essentially  dominated by its most fascistic elements, including certain of the most fanatical parties of the ‘religious right.’ Many of Netanyahu’s current ministers are disciples of the notorious fascist Rabbi Kahane, whose Kach party was actually banned by the Israeli government in 1988.

We describe the present Israeli government as fascist for objective reasons, not as empty name-calling or just because of the background of its members but based on its policies and actions. 

1. Netanyahu’s current government has used its control of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) to change the constitution and take control of the law courts, ending the independence of judges who not infrequently had been a restraining influence on the extreme policies of governments. Netanyahu imposed this policy despite massive protests by Israeli Jews who believe that their state should be a democracy. 

2. The government is intensifying the current state of war. Netanyahu has even issued a ‘declaration of war’ against Hamas. They are using this to complete the creation of their dictatorship and silence any Jewish dissent. They have brought Benny Gantz (a former general who leads the ‘opposition’ National Unity alliance) into the ‘war cabinet.’ That move strengthens the fascists’ hold on power and undermines Gantz’s independence. 

3. The current Israeli government holds that Palestinian Arabs – including those who currently have Israeli citizenship – have no place in Israel and should have no right to vote. They have stated that the whole historic land of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan (and perhaps beyond) must be part of Israel and exclude Arabs. 

4. The principal base of these Israeli fascists is the huge armed force of Israeli citizens living in the settlements in the occupied West Bank region. These settlements have repeatedly been declared illegal in international law but successive Israeli governments have continued to support them, and successive US, British, and EU governments have done nothing to stop them. This armed force is the agent of genocide and expulsion on the West Bank, launching increasing attacks on the Arab populations, destroying homes, communities, farms, businesses etc. It is officially separate from the state and the actual army, though it is inextricably connected to them.

The most important, extensive and effective Palestinian resistance to this fascist regime is precisely there, in the Israeli occupied West Bank. The so-called ‘Palestinian Authority’ of Mahmoud Abbas has no authority and no democratic mandate – Abbas lost the last election, in 2006, but Israel and the Western powers ignored that and there hasn’t been another one since. It is hated and despised by the great majority of Palestinians as a corrupt tool of the Israeli government. It is the Palestinian youth who are acting independently to organize fighting units in towns and villages, to defend their communities from Zionist settler attacks and take the fight to the enemy. 

Defending democracy 

Liberal Zionists in Israel and their supporters in Europe and North America like to describe that state as the only democracy in the Middle East. They can’t say that now, but the liberal Zionists declare that is their aim and demonstrated their commitment on the streets, in mass protests against the dictatorship’s control of the courts. 

The Kahanists say bluntly that a Jewish state in Palestine cannot be democratic. Israel’s history indicates that is true in the existing context, though not entirely for their reasons. The ‘social-democratic’ reputation of Israel in the 1950s could only be maintained once the Zionist militias had used very undemocratic methods to take the Palestinian population and their destroyed homes out of the picture.

In 1993 and 1995,  the Oslo Accords 1 and 2 were entered into by the Israeli government, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the US. A United Nations resolution accompanied those Accords calling for Israel to withdraw back to the 1967 borders. Those Accords led to the creation of Gaza and the West Bank as an independent Palestinian mini-state. Today, the Palestinian people are defending their right to maintain and build on that supposedly guaranteed promise. We support the struggle of the Palestinians to defend their fundamental right to self-determination. That right should be defended. 

Every progressive force in the world should support the Palestinian struggle to defend the Palestinian state. The Palestinian leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, together with the Palestinians living in Israel should declare the independence of the Palestinian state and demand the recognition of this Palestinian state by every government in the Middle East and every other government in the world, placing a demand on the international community to keep its promises to the Palestinian people made at the time of the original Oslo Accords. For the Biden Administration, the European governments, China, and the other governments of the world, to either support the current Israeli actions or to do nothing to reverse them is for the entire international community to break their promise to the Palestinian people, and in reality , to the entire peoples of the Middle East. That is, and should be, universally regarded as a profound moral and political crisis of the entire international community and a de facto declaration by the US and other governments that they have no capacity to keep even their most important and “sacred” promises.

We call for the  Israeli Jewish movement in defense of democracy and peace to defend the full implementation of the promises made to the Palestinian people to defend their right to create a nation. It is only on this basis that it is possible for a perspective of democracy and peace in the Middle East to survive. It is only on this basis for any notion that Zionism is anything other than a force for oppression to survive this moment in history.

Bitter conflicts fostered by the imperialists’ divide-and-rule strategy over the last 75 years have inevitably built up deep, dehumanizing animosities. We are seeing with the Netanyahu regime how quickly that can become genocidal. It is, in fact, essential to oppose the genocidal messages sent out by certain extremist leaderships on both sides. 

Bitter conflicts are not easily erased. Nevertheless, the only feasible road to democracy and equality starts with the defeat and removal of Israel’s fascist regime. Then the promise to the Palestinian people of an independent state of their own must be kept, and the right of the Palestinian people to defend and build that state must be recognized. This is only a first step in the direction of a solution to the historic crisis of  the Middle East. But it is essential for a movement uniting the two peoples to fight for the full victory of this limited first step for there to be any real hope of a genuine solution to that crisis. 

On the basis of this historic alliance and its determination to fight to win, the struggle for a genuine solution would become a real possibility. The two peoples would then be in a position to create, on the basis of mutual respect, a single bi-national state with freedom of religion, equal political and economic rights, equal language status and guaranteed protections for both communities. The necessity of genuine economic rights and opportunities in that state would require a government of the workers and oppressed and the transition to a socialist economy. 

A previous draft in this leaflet contained important political mistakes which have been corrected in this 15 October 2023 final statement. As this text says, the organizations  issuing this leaflet unequivocally reject and condemn all messages expressing or implying racism or genocide coming from any side.

15 October 2023

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Revolutionary Workers League (U.S.)
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An open letter to Tower Hamlets and Newham refuse workers:



On the 18 September 2023, it looked like Tower Hamlets and Newham refuse workers were going to make 25 September a historic turning point in the year long public workers strike movement. On 18 September, Tower Hamlets refuse workers started their militant strike to win a pay rise or at a minimum maintain their current pay scale, which is higher than the pay of most refuse workers employed at other Councils. The other main demand of the strike was to win a guarantee that agency workers would be hired to fill all job vacancies. Newham refuse workers had voted to join the Tower Hamlets strike on 25 September. Striking together both groups of refuse workers were in a position to win far more than either strike could win alone. Dennis Carabott, who had been sacked by Newham Council for fighting for his co-workers and had signed up 50 Tower Hamlets agency workers to join Unite, was starting his Employment Tribunal case. What could have been a three-way victory for all the struggles ended up being a series of coordinated defeats, orchestrated by Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham and Unite Regional officials Nick West and Simon McCarthy. 

Tower Hamlets refuse workers lost big time. Their campaign for a just settlement began on 18 September with a militant and inspiring strike that included stopping scab trucks from entering or leaving the facility. Tower Hamlets refuse workers were betrayed after only a week by Unite Regional Representative Nick West. West and the Unite leadership was so eager to shut the strike down that they had us vote on a management proposal on 25 September 2023 that neither West nor any other Unite top had signed off on. The new Tower Hamlets settlement is nothing more than a hands down victory for management and a monumental defeat for the workers. 

In Newham, Unite Regional Representative Simon McCarthy succeeded in killing off the refuse workers’ strike before it even started. McCarthy engineered an unlawful vote on a settlement that won nothing but a one off £750 payoff, which we will not receive until the national pay dispute is settled. Both Tower Hamlets and Newham refuse workers can and must prepare new strike action to win new settlements. Neither the Tower Hamlets nor the Newham settlements can be allowed to stand because they set new and dangerous precedents.

Newham and Tower Hamlets refuse workers can begin new settlement negotiations right now.  We both still have the legal right to strike. The strike ballot we voted for in August was a vote on whether or not we authorized the union to strike to win a decent national pay rise. Since we voted to strike, and the national dispute remains unresolved, we can still strike without organizing a new ballot. In both boroughs, management has already agreed that under the current strike we can negotiate a local settlement. We need to get rid of West and McCarthy and the sellout stewards who betrayed us. We need to elect a Strike to Win Committee in Tower Hamlets, and in Newham, we need to get our elected Strike to Win committee on its feet and fighting. We need to get our demands met by the two Councils now. We gain nothing by delaying, the time to fight is now.

Tower Hamlets workers deserve the truth

In this open letter we are providing a copy of the only document any workers received prior to the 26 September 2023 settlement vote. This letter is written to be incomprehensible. We are therefore providing an analysis of what is contained in the settlement. 

Point 1 of the new agreement lists the current benefits we are about to lose including additional annual leave and our three day Christmas leave for the remainder of this year. It states that the £750 one off payment we will receive is to cover the annual and Christmas leave time we are losing.  It also describes a new annual leave pay system in which union members who are working a 35 hour work week will no longer be entitled to full time leave of absence benefits. The last sentence in Point 1 on long service benefit will be discussed below. 

Point 2 of the agreement describes the process the Council will use to fill vacant posts with agency workers. This section states that agency workers will be paid a lower salary and graded at a lower pay rate.

Point 3 discusses the formation of a new “staffing group” that will consist of Tower Hamlets management and one Tower Hamlets Unite Branch Officer.

Point 4 of the agreement states that the £750 payment we are receiving as a substitute for our annual leave time will also be used to cover the pay we will be docked for striking.

A detailed analysis of the agreement is provided below to show how the specific language in the agreement was designed by Tower Hamlets Council with Unite sellout leadership to confuse us into voting for the settlement.

It has been more than two weeks since we voted on our new settlement.  We are still waiting to receive a copy of the settlement from Unite officers. It is absolutely necessary for Tower Hamlets workers to demand to know if the letter included with this open letter is different from our new settlement. If our cowardly and dishonest stewards tell us that our new settlement is different we must demand that they tell us what is and what is not included in our settlement and produce a copy of the settlement immediately.

The anatomy of a sellout:

Lies, tricks, scams, plots and deception, and more lies – how Tower Hamlets workers ended up with one of the worst settlements we have ever received

In Tower Hamlets, Unite regional official, traitor and con artist Nick West engineered an unexpected  whirlwind vote on one of the worst settlements of all time. West lied to workers about every point in the  agreement. He literally told us the opposite of what the settlement actually says. What we were asked to vote on was probably a first offer from Tower Hamlets Council. What we agreed to is their dream list of every concession they wanted from us.

To avoid being caught for recommending this sell-out to us, West did not call a union meeting before the vote. We never had a full union discussion on the proposal.  He was never forced to tell us why he recommended we vote yes on the proposal. So he and his steward con artist were able to lie to each of us individually or in small groups about what they claimed we were gaining from the settlement.

West purposely held the vote on 26 September when he knew that the only people who would have been able to decipher the dense and deceptive wording of the proposal and tell us the truth about what it actually says would be tied up at Dennis’s Employment Tribunal hearing, instead of on the picket lines as they usually were.  West and Tower Hamlets management both knew that Dennis Carabott, his American lawyer Shanta Driver, his longtime official Unite advocate and strike leader, Alex Owolade would be at Dennis’s Employment Tribunal. Ms. Driver’s two American legal team members Mark and Caroline who had been on our picket lines and other Movement for Justice members had to be at Dennis’s hearing, especially since Tower Hamlets refuse workers could not attend the hearing because we were needed on the picket lines.

Dennis signed up fifty agency workers to join Unite. He was their leader and in Dennis’ absence the agency workers, many of whom are recent immigrants to Britain and not fluent in english, were ignored and kept segregated by West and treacherous Unite stewards.The agency workers were treated like invisible outsiders instead of like a welcome and needed addition to our union. When some agency workers demanded to know what was in the agreement they were told the lie that they would all get permanent positions. If Dennis or any of the people who had to be at his hearing had been available to read and explain the agreement, it would have been voted down.

Unite officers’ misinformation and deception get a settlement voted up

West and the Tower Hamlets stewards, who acted as his lieutenants, had no problem gleefully lying to our faces. They used inscrutable language in the proposal to defraud us. They manipulated our trust in them to con us into voting yes on a terrible agreement. 

For example, West and company deceived members who asked where it said that our wages would remain the same, by telling them that since the proposal contained no language on pay, nothing would change. Similarly, if a worker asked whether we were going to lose wages because of our strike, they referred us to Point 4 which says “No salary deductions for the strike action will be in the September pay run” and ….“£750 payment will be payable in the October 2023 pay run” when our pay would be deducted because of our strike. This led some workers to understandably believe that we would not be penalized pay for our strike. This was just a bold faced lie.

None of our Unite traitors bothered to tell us that £750 payment was already allocated for another purpose. In Point 1 it says that we will receive “a one off lump sum payment (subject to tax and NI) for the equivalent to additional annual leave up to 31 March, 2024.” The new agreement also requires us to forfeit our three days of paid Christmas leave this December.

The terms for our annual leave days will also change in April 2024. Currently any worker who is contracted to work 35 hours a week or more is classified as a full time worker. So they receive the same amount of annual leave and Christmas leave days as other full time workers, including those contracted to work 40 hours a week. This will change in April. To receive full time annual leave benefits and Christmas leave benefits, a worker must work 37 hours a week to be classified as full time. Workers who are contracted to work 37 hours a week or more will receive a small increase in benefits. These workers will receive 26.4 days of annual leave time and 3.17 days of Christmas leave time. The change in the number of hours needed to qualify as a full time worker, probably means that job vacancies filled by agency workers will be on 35 hours a week contracts. 

This agreement states that “Entitlement to long service benefits will begin to accrue from 1 April, 2024.” This unclear statement can mean one of two things: first that eligible employees who have already accumulated years of service that count towards long service benefits will lose credit for the time they work in the next 6 months; or, what is more likely, that the Council is saying and Unite top officials have agreed to is that high seniority workers will lose credit for all the time they accumulated for long service benefits. 1 April, 2024 will count as the first day used to compute long service benefits.  Undoubtedly the Council assumes that this will lead to a lot of full time employees retiring and being replaced by agency workers.

The worst betrayals of the agreement are below

Remember the wage freeze we were told we had won and the guarantee that all the agency workers would get permanent positions as Council employees – both of these claims are a fraud. No one would have voted for this proposal if they had been told the truth.

Our new settlement explains in Point 2 of the agreement that “the Council will look to recruit as many agency workers to establishment posts, subject to the agency workers undertaking a simplified recruitment process.” This purposely confusing sentence in the agreement gives the Council the right to cherry pick which agency workers it will and will not hire. This settlement is not just badly drafted, it gives the Council the right to sack the strongest agency workers.

Segregation and second class treatment of agency workers

The next sentence says “Agency workers will be “ringfenced” for posts.” No one apart from a solicitor, barrister or financial advisor to top corporate executives and union officials know what the term “ringfencing” means. The term “ringfencing” is used by sleazy corporate executives to let their board members know that they have secret plans to segregate and super exploit some group of workers who are listed in the same classification as other workers. Since corporations are almost always required to issue public reports available to their employees that include a tally of the number of workers in each job classification, employees have no idea that there is a subset of workers that management intends to use to divide workers and make huge profits. 

In this case, Tower Hamlets is saying publicly that they intend to place agency workers in permanent full time refuse jobs. However, Tower Hamlets was completely open with top Unite leaders, including Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, that it intends to treat agency workers hired by the Council’s waste management department as segregated second class workers earning less wages and put into a lower pay grade. Newly hired agency workers will be ruthlessly super exploited. 

The Council states specifically what their plans are for “ringfenced”, segregated agency workers. Unite traitors know that the 50 agency workers just recruited to join Unite tend to be younger, black and/or recent immigrants. Unite top officials and Tower Hamlets majority Bangladeshi Councilors believe that they can hide behind people’s assumptions that they would not discriminate against black, and/or immigrant workers to set up an apartheid system among Unite members who are Council employees. Buried in a sentence in Point 2 on the hiring of agency workers the settlement states “Employment {of agency workers} will be on the grade for the post and placement on the salary scale will be to the nearest match to the workers’ current salary”. Since agency workers are paid less than current Tower Hamlets refuse workers, this sentence means that permanent Tower Hamlets refuse workers will be divided into a two-tier wage system.

This settlement must be replaced immediately with a new settlement or before year two of the agreement, every Tower Hamlets refuse worker will take a pay cut. We know this can happen because Unite officers already let Newham Council get away with this. 

Dennis was terminated to keep him from continuing to fight for loaders to be regraded from grade 3 to grade 5, which many of them were before 2017. A re-grading exercise by Newham Council and sanctioned by Unite officers that was supposed to result in all loaders being moved to grade 5, resulted in all loaders, including those already in grade 5, downgraded to grade 3.

All Tower Hamlets refuse workers will receive a pay cut

We were lied to when we were told that our pay levels would be protected by this agreement. The fact that the settlement does not say that current Tower Hamlets refuse workers will receive a pay cut is because openly saying that would have defeated passage of the settlement. 

The mechanism for instituting an across the board pay cut is in Point 3 of the settlement. Point 3 states that “a framework for regular dialogue with the staffing group will be set up” and “these discussions will be with one Tower Hamlets Unite branch”.  In other words, no rank and file workers will be members of this staffing group. This group will undoubtedly approve a pay cut for current refuse workers by 1 January, 2024 or a little later. The Council states in Point 2 of the agreement that it intends to put agency workers at their current salary into available vacancies by 31 December, 2023. Tower Hamlets refuse workers will go from being among the best paid Council refuse workers to being among the lowest paid Council refuse workers.

This settlement does not save our current pay scale, it shatters it in the most destructive way possible for our union.The greatest strength of our union has been our unity. We know right now if this settlement remains in place divisions between workers will deepen. 

Some agency workers chafing under their second class status are bound to be resentful of their more privileged co-workers who voted for this agreement. As soon as higher paid workers are busted to a lower pay grade some of them will blame the new agency workers. Expressions of racism and anti-immigrant bigotry are almost certain to arise. We will be in a constant struggle to stop some of our co-workers from directing their anger against each other.

We are respected and admired by the labor movement for our militancy and our bold strikes. This agreement will change who we are and weaken our union for a long time to come. 

We must get this settlement torn up and put in the trash right now, while we are united and strong. The longer we wait, the more we allow parts of this settlement to go into effect, it will be much more difficult to reverse what has already been implemented by the Council. We must act now. We can win but time is not our friend. Here are our immediate tasks: a) form a rank-and-file Strike to Win Committee to negotiate a new settlement, b) issue notice to management of a new strike date immediately; c) send Nick West and the stewards who betrayed us packing; d) refuse to relinquish control of our negotiations and strike to a new Unite Regional sellout; e) organize community and labour support. We can get the support of traders and residents because if we lose, the Council waste management department will impose steep increases for waste removal services. We must reject any advice Sharon Graham offers us and stop her from taking control of our negotiations.

If we fail to fight now we should brace ourselves for the hell we face. But if we fight now, not only can we win, we can inspire and teach the new wave of strikers entering the movement, how to fight and how to win.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham Must Resign Or Be Removed Immediately

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham must have signed Unite onto the “ringfencing” of agency workers. She knew that most Tower Hamlets agency workers, who just became Unite members, are younger, black and/or recent immigrants. These workers are already separated from other Tower Hamlets refuse workers. Many branches of Unite are divided by race and ethnicity. Tower Hamlets is no exception. In the run up to the settlement vote, white union members tended to turn to white stewards for information, Bangladeshi workers tended to rely on Bangladeshi stewards for information and so on.

Graham must know that while Tower Hamlets refuse workers are united in action, which is the most important thing, the ethnic, race and nationality divisions within the union are taken for granted. Signing Unite on to “ringfencing” agency workers is not only racist and counter to every basic principle of trade unions, it is dangerous and potentially explosive.

The Unite tops agreement to the settlement was based on their attempts to permanently weaken and cripple the Unite Tower Hamlets refuse workers. Tower Hamlets workers are regarded as being too militant and too difficult to control. This agreement is  consistent with Sharon Graham’s politics and aims.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham is currently pursuing a “Brexit” style protectionist campaign, centering on the demand that the British industries only buy British steel. If adopted this proposal would lead to huge across the board price increases of everything and mass redundancies. Brexit was always a racist policy. It is now rejected by the British people. Recent polls show that only a tiny minority of British people would vote for Brexit if the vote was held today.  Passage of Brexit and non-stop immigrant and union bashing are the issues that will cost the Tories the next election. Graham’s strategy is to get the white racist workers who voted for Brexit to vote for the Labour Party in the next Parliamentary elections.

Finally, Unite is the largest donor to the Labour Party. Graham believes that shutting down all public sector strikes as quickly as possible must happen before Labour wins control of Parliament and Keir Starmer shows that his position of opposing our strikes has not changed. Shutting down the Tower Hamlets and Newham strikes by any means necessary is a key component of this strategy. 

If Unite members are still on strike under a Labour government, Graham will do everything in her power to shut down the strikes to try to cover for the betrayals of the Labour Party.  Doing the Labour Party’s dirty work will discredit Graham and make clear that her reputation of being a left wing, pro-strike union leader is wrong. Graham is the darling of many leftists because she has been turned into a progressive icon by them. Maintaining the support of the left is essential to her holding on to her job as Unite General Secretary. Protecting the Labour Party from showing that it is the enemy of workers is a fool’s errand.

One of the most important lessons of our strike wave is to place no confidence in the Labour Party. During the whole period of the Tory Government, Labor Party leader Keir Starmer has: 1) opposed our strikes and has threatened to suspend any Parliamentary member of the Labour Party who joins our picket lines; 2) has done nothing to oppose the racist, anti-immigrant policies of the Tory Government; 3) has given his support to the Tory Government’s economic policies which have created runaway inflation and 4) taken no action to protect oppressed communities from the onslaught of attacks by the Tories and their fascist gangs in the streets.  Starmer is responsible for suspending Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and other left wing Labor Party veterans on trumped-up charges of anti-semitism. If Starmer were in Israel, he would undoubtedly call the Israeli Zionists who are uniting with Israel’s Palestinian community to stop the government’s bloodbath in Gaza anti-semites. The treacherous Labour Party does not deserve a single vote of anyone seeking to make Britain a progressive nation.

Newham Workers We Can Win Our Demands But Only If We take Charge Of Our Negotiations and Strike To Win Now

The Newham refuse workers’ settlement gave us exactly one thing: a one time £750 “cost of living allowance” that is meant as pay off, to give us added incentive to vote up the next national pay rise no matter how bad it is. Simon McCarthy conducted a previously unheard of, unlawful text message survey/vote to force through the settlement. He held a joint meeting on the agreement with management to stop any discussions on the settlement at the only union meeting we had. The aim of the meeting was to threaten and intimidate anyone who would have argued for a no vote, if management was stopped from participating in the meeting. People who did receive the text message or received it but could not text their vote in, lost their right to vote on the settlement at all. People who voted yes but wanted to vote no on the settlement once they realized that, a yes vote, was actually a vote against striking and a no vote was for striking. These workers did not have an opportunity to change their votes to reflect their true sentiments.

We can get our settlement overturned and restart bargaining if we challenge the legality and legitimacy of the settlement vote. Even if the settlement remains in place we can simply negotiate a new settlement on all our pay and other demands not included in the settlement.

We must win our demand for the loaders to be reclassified to grade five. We know the only way we can win this demand is by striking. We need a pay rise now, not later. We just need to get rid of McCarthy and Costa now and take matters into our own hands. 

We took control of our negotiations, during our

last set of local negotiations in 2022. We made some gains. We learned from that experience what we need to do to win more now.

For the first time ever we have elected a rank and file Strike to Win Committee comprised of battle tested leaders. We are clear that we are fighting a two headed monster, Newham Council and our turncoat Unite officials. Tower Hamlets refuse workers showed that we can and must organize agency workers into our union. 

We know we have the support of the community. We can mobilize the people of Newham and local traders to force the Council to give us what we are fighting for, which are, in many cases, benefits we already had, but the Council took back starting in 2017. We depended on our weak regional officers to lead a fight to stop our downward spiral. We won nothing. Now we are strong enough to win back what was taken from us. We do not want waste to pile up on the streets. So we need to let the Council know the quickest way to get the rubbish off our streets is for them to give us what we need and deserve.

We are respected and trusted by this community. Local traders and customers at Queen’s Market will understand that if we win, they win. But if we lose, the Newham waste department managers will target Queen’s Market for closure again. Finally we know that lots of Newham residents, community activists and other Council workers are sick of Mayor Fiaz’s broken promises and preference for serving upscale Newham at the expense of working class and poor communities.

We have been devoted to this community. We have won the love, respect and support of this community because of our dedication to keeping the streets of Newham clean even at the cost of our own lives. We never stopped collecting waste during the pandemic lockdown even though many of us and our family members got COVID. We battle rats, pick up piles of stinking rubbish with our own hands. It is inevitable that sooner or later almost all of us will be injured on the job. We know that the people of Newham overwhelmingly believe that we work way too hard for such little pay. Newham could function perfectly well if the Council packed up and stopped meeting for a couple of weeks. But the Borough could not last  for a couple of weeks without us. 

We make enormous amounts of money for the Council. Our demands for better pay are more than fair and just. All we are asking for is that some of the profits we earn for the Council are invested in our wellbeing and the future of our families.

We have worked for too long under a management that bullies workers, uses favoritism to give jobs to  their family and friends and rewards corrupt and treacherous stewards. If we win our strike, we can get agency workers hired to fill vacancies at our same pay grade. We will also go back to work with our heads high and in a much stronger position to change the oppressive culture we have been forced to accept for far too long. We can tip the balance of power in our favor if we strike. If one of the things we win from striking is the power to stop the constant harassment we experience on a daily basis it will be worth every hour we spend on the picket lines.

12 October 2023



Defend our new independent strike leaders

Bring our movement of workers and the community into the streets and into the courtroom



Defend the NHS and all public services

Stop the attacks against all oppressed communities

Unite to build coordinated, indefinite multi-union strike action to shut down London

Defeat the Tory government


Protest at Newham Council Cabinet meeting

Tuesday 5th September, 9.30am East Ham Town Hall, London E6 2RP

Protest at the full Newham Council meeting

Monday 18th September, 6pm Old Town Hall, Stratford, London E15 4BQ

Attend Dennis’s Employment Tribunal Hearing

*Monday 25th – Friday 29th September, 9.30am onwards East London Employment Tribunals, Import Building, 2 Clove Cres, London E14 2BE (nearest station East India DLR)

London workers and oppressed communities must fight together to defeat the Tory government and to win the pay rises and better public services we deserve

We are beginning the second year of our mass strike actions. The workers whose strikes ended because their sell-out leaders forced through inferior contracts are still angry. Many are prepared to keep fighting. However, most workers cannot see how they can win so long as their pro-management union bosses remain in charge of negotiations and strikes.

Strike to Win Committee and Movement for Justice (MFJ) have consistently urged workers to vote no on bad settlements and to replace the gallery of traitors who are at the top of our unions with elected rank and file, accountable, tested and trusted union leaders who can lead us to victory.

Refuse workers in London’s largest borough, Newham, answered MFJ’s call to action and organised a Strike to Win Committee almost a year ago. They had been involved in several struggles long before the national strike movement began. The Newham refuse workers won some of their local demands last year. More importantly, by voting yes on the just completed strike authorisation ballots, they put themselves in a position to lead other local council employees in several greater London boroughs and in Liverpool who also voted yes to authorise local strikes.

These local government strikes can begin in early September. They can join and coordinate actions with the NHS junior doctors and Consultants’s national strikes, the indefinite strikes of London traffic wardens and St. Mungo’s housing charity workers and the continuing struggles of university lecturers, some of whom are already out on indefinite strikes. There are also bus drivers, airport and transport workers, workers in privatised public sector jobs and in newly organized private sector jobs like Amazon that are still fighting for a good settlement. This means that with even a modest amount of union cooperation and coordination, London could still be shut down.

The Newham Strike to Win Committee is made up of experienced worker leaders and community supporters. It is in an excellent position to organise coordinated indefinite strike action involving all of the workers still fighting for inflation-beating wage settlements and local demands.

To lead a new phase of our strike movement, however, the Newham Strike to Win Committee must win its latest challenge: it must stop Newham Council from getting away with sacking one of Newham’s best known and most effective union and community leaders, Dennis Carabott. Mr. Carabott has worked for Newham Council for sixteen years. He has been a refuse truck driver, team leader and teacher and mentor for new drivers for most of those years. He has an unblemished record of service. He was sacked by Newham Council on blatantly false, manufactured charges of misconduct because he was so successful at fighting for his co-workers as a union and for the community he served.

Dennis Carabott’s full witness statement is included below. It is the story of a work force in constant struggle for their rights and of a classic management witch-hunt. Mr. Carabott played a decisive role in the Newham and Tower Hamlets refuse workers’ overwhelming yes votes on their recent strike ballots, despite his termination. Win or lose his employment case, he is ready and eager to lead our upcoming strikes.

Dennis Carabott’s Employment Tribunal case begins on 25th September at the East London Employment Tribunal. The case is slated to go for 5 days. The Newham Strike to Win Committee must win Mr. Carabott’s reinstatement.

Mr. Carabott has a solicitor, a strong legal case, and very low odds of winning in front of an Employment Tribunal. Only about 10% of workers whose cases are decided by Employment Tribunals, win. Employment law is full of loopholes that give employers a big advantage over workers. Managements’ abundance of resources also gives them a big edge.

What Dennis Carabott, Newham Strike to Win Committee and MFJ have on our side is the overwhelming support of workers and community members. Since we know that most union tops would rather eat glass than mobilize for Mr. Carabott to win, we must mobilize and lead our support and create a shift in the balance of power. Our aim must be to demoralize Newham Council and have them reeling back on their heels, before Mr. Carabott sets foot in court. We can win in court if we are putting the movement back into our strike movement by taking our fight to the streets, and to Newham’s Labour Party Council and Mayor and Cabinet meeting.

Our strike movement needs successful strike actions in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Liverpool and other experienced and battle-tested centres of union and community actions. To get successful strikes, we need to prove that we can defend Dennis Carabott and any other leader who gets victimised. We need our natural allies to join the fight, including the traders and shoppers at Queen’s Market who are also fighting to save and improve the market – against Newham Refuse and Waste Department managers. We need the support of all the oppressed communities that can’t wait to hand the Tories another defeat. We need every union member still in active struggles for new improved settlements, and those still angry and bitter for the sell-outs they suffered, to organise to win Mr. Carabott’s case.

There are pivotal moments in the history of struggles between the oppressed and their oppressors, that are won or lost based on the fate of a single leader. Right now the success of our strike movement depends on the determination of new leaders to step forward. A win for Dennis is inseparable from the forging and emerging of new leaders for our movement. We need to win Mr. Carabott’s case to send a message to every Tory MP and Labour Party Council that victimising our leaders will accomplish nothing more than strengthening of our movement.

Attend Dennis’Employment Tribunal Hearing, 25-29 September, 2023 at the East London Tribunal (see address and direction above) and join the demonstrations and actions in his defense. Be a leader in this movement. Sign the petition and make the united fight for justice and civil rights for all of us.

23 August 2023

Dennis Carabott Witness Statement

I. The Unjust Charges Against Me

1. My name is Dennis Carabott. I am 56 years old and of Maltese ethnic origin. I moved to Britain in 1981 and have lived in London since I arrived 42 years ago. I have dyslexia which the Council are aware of and have accepted.

2. In 2004, I started working as an agency driver for the Newham Council. In 2006 I was given a 1 year contract and I was made a permanent driver in 2007 by the Newham Council Department of Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleansing. Since then, I have worked in a number of different departments as a driver. At the time of my suspension on 29 July 2019, I was employed as a Waste Collections driver.

3. The Newham Council Department of Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleansing serves several different functions. Our jobs include removing refuse created by businesses and residents, picking up recyclable materials, cleaning the streets, gritting and other functions. Newham Council relies on the money it earns from its refuse services to pay for a variety of services it provides to the people in Newham. I will focus on the responsibilities of the Waste Collections Department, since that is where I was working when I was dismissed.

4. Generally speaking, there are two different categories of refuse removal services: those that are provided for traders/businesses (Trade) and those that are provided for domestic customers. In Trade there are different sizes of waste bins that businesses can rent from the Council for different prices. Home dwellers get allocated bins paid via the Council Tax. The larger the bin size the greater the monthly fee. All residents are also entitled to get recycling bins from the Council.

5. There are specific rules that apply to both traders/businesses and domestic customers. All customers are required to place all their refuse in the bins that they have or are paying for. No one is allowed to place excess refuse near or beside their bins for pick up. It is not unusual for traders to generate more waste materials than they are paying the Council to pick up. This is called over-generating (OG). If a customer is “over-generating” waste products, or placing rubbish in recycling bins, or violating other Council waste management policies, such as leaving abandoned furniture in the street, the refuse team who sees the violation reports it to their supervisor.

6. Over-generating of waste, fly-tipping and other unsanctioned activities cause the Council a loss of revenue. There are special inspectors employed by the Waste Management Department assigned to investigate, enforce, and fine repeated violators of the Council’s policies.

7. On 29 July 2019, I was suspended for the following allegation: Making unauthorised collections of waste for personal gain from Stratford Food Centre, 100–102 Leytonstone Road, and from Caner Supermarket, 163 Odessa Road. I was working as part of a three person afternoon shift team. I was the driver and team leader of my truck; Anthony M. and Stuart C. were my two loaders–the people who picked up refuse bins and bags and placed them into the back of the truck. Our team was designated as E2. There was a second afternoon shift team, also consisting of a driver and two loaders assigned and doing the same job assignment designated as E1.

8. E1 and E2 each had specific pre-assigned routes. These routes would change based on the different days that different traders were assigned to have their refuse removed. Our route assignments consisted of doing pre-scheduled timed pick-ups and non-scheduled pick-ups. Major roads like Leytonstone Road had two daily pick-up times to make sure that those roads were always kept clean and unimpeded by trash.

9. My direct supervisor at the time of my suspension was Colin*. Colin* was assigned to oversee the work of both E1 and E2. I reported directly to Colin* on a daily basis. A second afternoon shift supervisor Andrew Leedham was the supervisor of afternoon shift teams assigned to collect recycling. Colin* was the senior supervisor, Mr. Leedham had just started to work as a supervisor.

10. When I was unfairly suspended and then unfairly terminated, management did not provide a single piece of evidence to support their allegation that I was making unauthorised collections of waste for personal gain from Stratford Food Centre 100–102 Leytonstone Road, and from Caner Supermarket, 163 Odessa Road. My two loaders, Antony M. and Stuart C. were charged with the same allegation. I took responsibility for any violations that my crew was alleged to have made.

11. I will discuss the reasons for my unfair and wrongful suspension and termination below. I will also provide evidence of the unfair and unreasonable process the Council employed to carry out my suspension in a separate section. Having provided a basic outline of the waste management procedures in Newham and my specific role in the waste management area, I would like to first state the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing by me.

12. According to management the process that led to my suspension began in April 2019. In December 2018, I had raised a number of problems with my local management, including the allocation of work in our four trade teams: TR1 and TR2, the two day shift teams, and E1 and E2, the two afternoon shift teams. During this time frame, I repeatedly raised a host of other concerns with both my managers and with the Newham Mayor, Chief Executive Officer, and other borough officials. To avoid added confusion I will discuss those events in the next section.

13. On 8 January 2019 the issue of workload allocation was formally discussed at a Refuse and Recycling management/trade union meeting chaired by Mr. Stephen Blackburn. Mr. Blackburn was the manager of the Department of Waste and Recycling at that time and Colin* and Andy Leedham’s manager. At this meeting, Mr. Blackburn stated that the issues of work allocation had been resolved. But this issue continued to be a source of concern for me and the workers I spoke for.

14. On or about 1 April 2019, Mr. Blackburn asked Andy Leedham, who was not my supervisor, to do an investigation of the allocation of work between E1 and E2. I had no dealings with Mr. Leedham after he became a supervisor at the end of 2018. But in October and November of 2018, Mr. Leedham and I had a disagreement that was known to waste management.

15. In October 2018, Mr. Leedham was a loader and a member of Unite. He issued a complaint to management about the behaviour of our union steward Michael Hunter at a union meeting that had occurred away from our worksite. Mr. Leedham claimed that Mr. Hunter had yelled at him at the union meeting and that this occurrence made him feel bullied. Mr. Hunter was suspended by management. It was no secret to anyone that I had been present at the union meeting where the alleged “bullying” occurred and that I thought that charge was unfounded. I also questioned the right of waste management to discipline a union steward for speaking at a union meeting. I collected signed statements from virtually every other worker at the union meeting stating that Mr. Leedham had not been bullied by Mr. Hunter. These statements were later used as the central evidence in Mr. Hunter’s defence. Mr. Hunter’s suspension ended in 2020, after Mr. Leedham’s unprecedentedly fast promotion to becoming a supervisor.

16. To return to the investigation on unfair work assignments between the trades crews on afternoon shift: at the start of his investigation, Mr. Leedham discovered that the E1 team was assigned to collect 63 bins of rubbish at 48 premises every Tuesday, while my team, E2, was assigned to collect refuse from 85 bins at 64 premises. So my team was obviously doing about 33% more work than E1.

17. Mr. Leedham, who had no authority over trade waste collection, decided to “investigate” the E1 and E2 work assignments. Mr. Leedham never told my supervisor, Colin*, that he was “conducting an investigation” on the work assignments of his two work teams, even though he had ample opportunities to do so.

18. Mr. Blackburn never told my supervisor that he had asked Mr. Leedham to conduct the secret investigation. He never discussed the findings of the purported investigation with Colin*. Mr. Blackburn never even told Colin* that he was asking Human Resources for the okay to suspend me for gross misconduct in April 2019 when he had no evidence of misconduct on my part or on 29 July 2019 when I was actually suspended.

See the video of Dennis Carabott (pictured above) motivating fellow workers to attend the tribunal hearings. Scan the code for the video link.

19. Prior to my suspension on 29 July 2019, I had never received a single verbal or written warning. I was a respected and outspoken representative for my co-workers. I became the de facto Unite union steward at my workplace. Management knew they could count on me to go above and beyond carrying out all my job functions. I knew the customers on my route. They liked and treated me with respect and kindness, even though I frequently reported the traders responsible for over-generating rubbish to my supervisor. I never expected to be suspended for unsubstantiated presumptions which have attacked and smeared my character, honesty, and integrity.

20. I was charged with fraud. The allegations against me were first, that I made “unauthorised collections of rubbish,” and secondly, that the unauthorised rubbish picked up was over-generated rubbish of two shopkeepers who must have been paying me off for not reporting their over-generation of rubbish. The evidence of my wrongdoing relied on Andy Leedham’s review of CCTV footage and route records that he said looked like I was acting “suspiciously” at two stores that were on my collection route every Tuesday. The CCTV footage captured me walking out of the two stores, Caner Supermarket, on Odessa Road, and Stratford Food Centre, on Leytonstone Road, which is a large and busy main road in Newham, with drinks and snacks for me and my crew. I purchased these items while my two loaders were emptying a bin into the back of the truck. I was accused of allowing people outside of Caner Supermarket to throw extraneous boxes of rubbish into my truck. I never saw the rubbish being thrown into my truck, but it did not surprise me that this might have taken place, since the public throwing rubbish into our truck happened regularly. When I witnessed people throwing rubbish into the back of my truck, I would ask them to stop doing it. If the problem persisted with the same people I would write down the address of the premises, and when possible, report the people to my supervisor.

21. I did observe that there was extra rubbish placed beside the bin at Caner Supermarket. I asked the store owner if the rubbish was his, and he said no. He was not over-generating trash, so I had nothing to report him for. He explained to me that the rubbish came from the new tenant who had moved into the apartment above the store. He explained that the new tenant did not have a bin, and did not speak English.

22. I reported the issue to my supervisor Colin*. He became aware of the problem as soon as I became aware of it. I asked my supervisor if he could order a domestic rubbish bin for the tenant and he told me that the tenant would have to do so herself. The next time I was at the store, I explained to the shopkeeper what my boss told me to do. The store owner ordered domestic/recycling bins for the tenant but instead of receiving both a regular rubbish bin and a recycling bin, which is what should have occurred, the woman only received a recycling bin into which she neatly placed both rubbish and other trash. The drivers who picked up the recyclables would not empty the woman’s recycling bin because it would have contaminated the very profitable recycling materials, and so when we passed by the store after the recycling trucks had left the bin untouched, we picked up the stinking rubbish and refuse which we were not responsible for because it would have been a health and safety hazard.

23. There was another issue at Caner Market on Odessa Road. When we collected the bin, it was extra heavy and difficult for our loaders. That is because the owner would wet the cardboard so it could fit it into the bin. That practice not only made the bin heavier, it also meant that the loaders got splashed with the water from the wet cardboard. I reported this to my supervisor, Mickey Neale who told us to continue to collect the waste. We talked to the owner and asked him to please stop wetting the cardboard, and instead just leave it on the side of the bin and we will pick it up anyway. That business was not over-generating. 

24. You might ask what I received for taking these common sense measures. Well, according to management, I received a 20p discount on a 70p bottle of water. The store owner has stated that he gave police officers and other public workers an occasional small discount on an item they purchased at the store. He also said that he never told the workers when he was giving them a discount. So a single 20p discount that I didn’t even realise I received, blew up into being “the personal gain” I received from a store owner who had done nothing to deprive the Council of a single penny.

25. Andy Leedham must have known that both domestic and trade customers often give refuse workers free drinks or snacks to show their appreciation of the services we provide. He had been a loader and supervised recycling/refuse collectors who routinely received gestures of goodwill from their customers.

26. The second accusation against me was that my team picked up some rubbish on Leytonstone Road in front of the Stratford Food Centre three and a half hours before the scheduled pick-up time. No one ever claimed that I received any money for the early pick-up. It was assumed that I must have. I explained that my crew often picked up trash along our route to lessen our load later when we made our scheduled pick-ups. 

27. I also explained that we had three timed collections on different streets, including Leytonstone Road scheduled for 6.30pm and so we had to make adjustments to complete our work. When asked why I went into the store on Tuesdays at or around 3.30pm, behaviour that Andy Leedham characterised as “suspicious,” I explained that I bought my chocolate wafers as my weekly treat to myself, which came into the Food Centre on Tuesdays and were not available anywhere else.

28. I also reported to my supervisor a problem at Stratford Food Centre; the cardboard in the bin would get stuck and we had to manually take it out. I believe that Mickey Neale or VeeJay Pickett went to speak to the shop owner. They worked out an agreement for the shop owner to leave the cardboard on top or next to the bin for us to pick up. That way we saved time and trouble, and the rubbish would be collected. 

29. The whole charge of fraud levelled against me for my Tuesday stop at Stratford Food Centre was especially absurd, because my crew was responsible for clearing all the rubbish on Leytonstone Road at or around 6.30pm, regardless of who generated it. Any rubbish left on the street, we would have to return to clear at 6.30pm. Nothing we cleared from the store at 3.30pm constituted over-generation of waste materials. 

30. To my knowledge, no one from management ever went to the store to speak with the store owner to find out if I was accepting wafers as a bribe to overlook his imaginary over-generation of rubbish at any point in disciplinary proceedings. My crew collected rubbish on Leytonstone Road six days a week. We were very familiar with the practices of all the traders. We reported traders who over-generated rubbish. We could identify the guilty traders. We did our job and carried out the clear all refuse policy day in and day out. There was zero substance and no evidence for the fully fabricated and untrue charge that I accepted money from the owner of the Stratford Foods Centre in exchange for my not reporting.

31. Every upper level manager that participated in my dismissal claimed that there was no clear all policy used in the waste management department. They ignored my supervisor, Jonathan, who told upper level managers that he had instructed us to use the clear all protocol. They also overlooked Newham Council’s published public policy statement on “fly-tipping,” the act of illegally leaving refuse in black bags or other unauthorised containers or discarded furniture and other rubbish on public roads.

32. The policy states that fly-tipping is illegal and threatens to fine anyone caught fly-tipping £400. It also states that the Council aims “to clear all fly-tips on publicly owned roads and paths within 24 hours.” Larger, more heavily populated and travelled main roads including Leytonstone Road receive two daily refuse pick-ups six days a week to fulfil the Councils clean and safe streets policies. In the course of my discipline, 30 waste management workers signed a letter stating that they all carried out the clear all protocol. 

33. I hope it is clear that the allegation of “making unauthorised collections for personal gain” from Stratford Food Centre, and from Caner Supermarket are not based on anything. My suspension and dismissal should have never taken place. The grounds for my dismissal are on their face unfair and unreasonable. Mr. Blackburn wanted to suspend me in April 2019 and then received the go ahead from Human Resources to suspend me in May 2019 on the basis of a single CCTV recording that does not show me doing anything wrong.

34. If Mr. Blackburn had talked to me, my supervisor Colin*, the store owners, my co-workers, and other Council staff and managers including those involved with street sweeping, rather than sneaking around behind all of our backs to construct reasons for my suspension, all of this could have been avoided. If Mr. Blackburn was genuinely unaware of the practice of so many customers giving us free or discounted drinks and food, all he needed to do was investigate how frequently this was occurring. If he genuinely believed that for refuse workers and many of our managers, receiving free or discounted drinks from our customers would inevitably lead to fraud, he could have held a group meeting and outlawed the practice. Mr. Blackburn and higher up management people who participated in my dismissal practice knew that some managers and lots of workers followed the clear all procedures.

35. So why charge me and find me responsible for gross misconduct and fraud? The answers to these questions are in the next two sections of my witness statement which cover the runaway rubber stamping review process that was neither fair nor reasonable, and the relationship between my public interest declarations and trade union activities.

II. Retaliation and Detriment

How My Actions in Representing Myself and My Co-Workers with the Mayor and Management Increased After 18 October 2018 and Resulted in My Discriminatory Dismissal.

36.  My experience of facing retaliation for my public disclosures on the mismanagement of our department began in 2015 when I suffered the detriment of lost overtime hours and pay for speaking out. That was followed by another act of retaliation for again making public disclosures in 2017. In response to that, I persuaded the Mayor and Chief Executive to hold a workers-only meeting in the canteen at the job site. It looked like we were finally going to make progress on having our grievances addressed. However, combined with my raising concerns about the significant differences in the workload of the four trade refuse crews, all this resulted in further  detriment. Events occurred in October 2018 which qualitatively changed my situation and led to my termination.

37.  In January 2017, I was part of leading my union’s organising drive for a collective grievance of 50 refuse workers. I submitted it in August 2017. April/May 2017 I attended a meet and greet event at the Depot canteen with the newly elected Mayor, where I spoke to the Mayor raising the victimizations, bullying, and money wasting. She agreed to arrange a meeting with my co-workers and myself. After a number of weeks went by and we hadn’t heard back from the Mayor, I and two of my co-workers attended the Mayor’s surgery and spoke to her again. The result was the then Chief Executive Katherine Kerswell and the Mayor organised a meeting for my co-workers and myself at the Depot canteen, without management present. Katherine Kerswell said she would come back to us. However, we found out a few weeks later that she suddenly resigned.

38. To put what happened in context, in September 2018 I helped to circulate a group grievance that garnered the signatures of a lot of workers and raised several different issues, including the harassment and bullying of workers on the job by management and several other issues of unfairness. Because of our action, on 24 September 2018, a meeting was convened that included several members of management and a delegation of three workers and a higher up Unite union official. I was not present at the meeting. 

39. On 18 October 2018, a settlement to the grievance was announced and a Unite union meeting was called to discuss the settlement. There was a lot of discussion and debate by workers at the meeting which led to a few arguments. There was nothing unusual about that union meeting including the fact that none of the arguments had a personal character.

40. On 19 October, the day after the meeting, Andy Leedham went to senior management and complained that Michael Hunter, our steward, had bullied him in the meeting. This was not true. However management reacted to the bullying complaint by expelling our steward. Of course management failed to conduct an investigation before suspending Michael Hunter, because they knew they had no right to interfere with the internal functioning of our union. I responded to Michael Hunter’s suspension by organising my co-workers to write statements of support for Michael. In the period following Michael Hunter’s suspension, two changes occurred on the job that would lead to my eventual termination: I became the de facto union steward and Andy Leedham, who lacked the credentials to be a supervisor, was given that job by management only a week or two after the union meeting. 

41. It is possible that I would have faced a retaliatory suspension and discharge if I had only continued to pursue making public disclosures about the mismanagement of the Waste Department. It is also possible that I would have faced the detriment of suspension and termination just by being an effective union steward. After all, Michael Hunter spent 18 months suspended just because he was an effective steward. What I am certain of is that my role as a Whistle-blower was strengthened when I became a steward, and my role as a union steward was strengthened because I had the ear of the Mayor and the Chief Executive. No other union steward was fighting for their members on two fronts: first with the top echelon of Council leaders and second through building union campaigns to advance our group grievances all the way to organising a successful strike ballot.

42. My functioning as both a steward and whistle-blower strengthened the collective will of the workers I had already been speaking out for and writing up group grievances for. Once I started functioning as the union representative for the Waste Management workers, we were able to get higher up Unite officials to stand up for us. For example, on 25 October 2019, just a week after our Unite representative signed off on our group grievance, we were able to get him to appeal one of the points of the settlement. This was an important change because it signalled to management that they actually had to bargain with our union rather than just bully us into submission.

43. The more I asserted myself as a union leader, the stronger we became as a union. One example is how we conducted our fight to get all the loaders reclassified to a higher pay grade which was agreed to at ACAS, but which management later reneged on. On 12 February 2019, we received information from our Unite representative on how the discussions on this issue were proceeding with management. On 8 March 2019, the waste services workers I represented were asked to vote on the pay offer from management. We rejected the offer.

44. When it became clear that we were getting nowhere in our further negotiations on the pay issue, I successfully recommended my co-workers to vote yes on a strike ballot that occurred in May 2019. This led to management agreeing to meet with Unite representatives including me with ACAS to try to settle the issue. We started meeting with ACAS on 5 June 2019. On 10 June 2019, we announced strike dates to make clear that if the discussions with ACAS failed to resolve the issue we were ready to strike. We ended up reaching a settlement through the ACAS mediation process. However, when it became clear that management was reneging on the settlement in July 2019, we started to regroup and plan further actions. 

45. On the public disclosure side of my efforts, I began to make more progress after October 2018. On 27 November 2018, I raised a series of job related issues in a workshop with the Mayor. I reported on financial mismanagement of the Department, bullying and harassment of workers by management and the issue of pay-related job classification issues and other issues. I followed this up with the submission of a group grievance signed by 44 workers to the Mayor on many of the same issues we had raised in the past. I felt we were finally breaking through the policy of ignoring our concerns when we finally had a meeting with the Mayor and Chief Executive of the council at the Folkestone Road Depot on 17 April 2019. On 10 May 2019, I finally had a meeting to discuss a grievance I had filed with the Mayor’s office in 2017. I was persistent in trying to get results from the Mayor’s office. The Mayor’s office responded to the pressure by placing demands on Human Resources and our management for results, such as finally issuing the Culture Review Report on our workplace on 24 April 2019.

46. Our efforts to build community support also began to yield results. On 13 May and 21 May, a reporter from Archant news, which publishes the Newham Recorder and is the largest publisher of community newspapers in Britain, emailed the Mayor with questions concerning our struggle. On 12 June a local Labour Councillor weighed in on our side over the pay increase/grade reclassification of Newham workers. My policy of fighting for the needs of the workers I represented using traditional trade union tactics and asking Newham Council’s political leaders to act for us was shaking up things in Newham Council and changing the balance of power in favour of the workers.

47. I am including a timeline of three sequences of events that resulted in my unfair and wrongful/discriminatory suspension as an appendix. It includes a timeline of my grievances to the Mayor and her office’s response; a timeline of my activities as a union steward, specifically the group grievances I pursued with management; and lastly, the individuals I represented as a steward and the detriment I suffered and they suffered. There is a good deal of overlap between my work as a union steward and the grievances I submitted to the Mayor. I think the timelines provide a sense of the escalation of pressures mounting on management to act fairly and reasonably and, as will be clear below, how that led to an escalation of management’s activities to unfairly and wrongfully suspend and terminate me.

III. Unfair and Wrong Practices that Led to My Dismissal

48. By the beginning of 2019, management continued their old tactic of discriminating against me by making adverse employment decisions to retaliate for my public disclosures and for my union actions. They also adopted a new tactic to retaliate against me and cause detriments to myself and the individual workers I was representing on the job. In December 2018, I raised a number of problems with management, including the unfair and unequal work allocations within our four trade teams. On 8 January 2019, we had a formal meeting between the Refuse and Recycling Management and our trade union at which Mr. Blackburn stated that the issue of uneven work distribution had been resolved unilaterally, that is he declared no changes would be made. Mr. Blackburn’s decision to leave the allocation of work between the different trade refuse worker teams meant I and my team had far larger work assignments and were constantly in the position of asking our supervisors to resolve difficult and dangerous situations. These very problems would be used by management as the pretext for unfairly and wrongfully suspending me and sacking me.

49. The new policy that management adopted to attack my ability to function as a union steward relied on subjecting the workers I represented to health and safety dangers. Management took one step further in trying to publicly challenge my authority as a steward by sacking many of the individual workers that I represented in meetings with management. In April 2019 I trained eight new drivers. Every worker except my last trainee was given a co-driver for two weeks so they could learn their trade route, and another two weeks with a co-driver so they could get the routine of waste collection under their belt. The last driver who I trained, George, only received eight days of training which was inadequate. I explained to Mr. Kett that it would be unsafe to put George on the road alone, especially at night. George was very worried about taking responsibility for his own route in the dark. Mr. Kett ignored our concerns for George’s safety. He sent George out after our meeting and George got into an accident that same night.

50. George and I had another meeting with Mr. Kett a week later. George learned that his wife had been rushed to the hospital to give birth to their second child while he was at work. He was very concerned about what he could do to assure that the child they had at home would be looked after. I told him that he could be entitled to child dependency leave (CDL). When he went to Mr. Kett and told him that I had advised him that he was entitled to CDL, his request for it was denied. Mr. Kett told George he could only take annual leave, while knowing full well that George had no annual leave time to take. George was one of many workers I’ve represented who were unfairly treated or sacked by management to undercut my authority as a union representative and to harm the workers I spoke up for.

51. A vulnerable worker I represented named Danny, in early July 2019, was asked to work as a single loader on his refuse truck. I had repeatedly raised the issue of the health and safety dangers of having a single loader per truck, and specifically raised this issue in a meeting I had with both Mr. Kett and Mr. Humphries on 18 June 2019. Predictably, Danny was injured on 10 July, a week after he had raised his health and safety concerns with management. He reported his injury at the office at the end of the shift as required. Danny did not ask for time off because of his injuries or make a claim against the council in part to avoid causing trouble. Another loader saw a red mark on Danny’s chest and told management what he observed.  Danny was then called into the office and given a letter telling him that he was suspended for falsifying an accident report.

52. I came into work early on 10 July 2019 to represent them. Danny was very concerned that he would be sacked by management. Mr. Kett was aware that Danny had mental health issues and used Danny’s vulnerabilities to bully him into agreeing to resign and take a settlement. After the hearing ended, I walked Danny to the gate. I was worried about Danny’s reaction to what happened. I was walking him to the gate when Mr. Kett yelled at me in front of all my co-workers to get back to work. Next he tried to humiliate me and bait me into a fight after I told him, Stephen Blackburn and an HR woman that they had failed in their duty of care for Danny. Mr. Kett’s remarks were personal. I took them to be a threat.

53. A similar issue occurred the next day on 11 July 2019. We received new uniforms that day and one young lad who was an agency worker raised with me that his pants were too long. Andy Leedham, who must have overheard our conversation, came to the office window, angry and red faced and shouted to the young lad that if he had a problem he should go to see Mr. Kett. So the young lad went, as ordered, to talk to Mr. Kett. He requested that I attend with him. Mr. Kett was in the meeting room. I could see that he was looking at vehicle video footage from my team on his computer. The young lad was sacked by Mr. Kett for no reason other than his association with me. 11 July 2019 was the first day I knew that I would be disciplined. I knew at that point that he was coming after me as well.

IV. Connecting the Dots: How My Actions as a Whistle-blower and a Union Representative Led to My Unfair and Wrongful Suspension on 29 July 2019 and My Unfair and Wrongful Dismissal.

54. By 16 April 2019, it was clear that Stephen Blackburn wanted me suspended and sacked. But this meant conjuring up a reason for my dismissal that could be characterised as gross misconduct. I had always been a good employee. I had no history of repeated incidents of misconduct or absenteeism that could be manipulated into a basis for a suspension and dismissal for gross misconduct. What Mr. Blackburn knew he had was a way to turn my strengths into grounds for suspension.

55. Mr Blackburn did not need to look very far to figure out what he could use to charge me with gross misconduct, because I gave him the information he needed to discipline me when I told my supervisors and co-workers that there were two shops on my route: one at 100-102 Leytonstone Road called Stratford Food Centre and the other at 163 Odessa Road, called the Caner Supermarket that had a history of special issues centring on the disposal of cardboard boxes. 

56. I had trained 8 new drivers and had obviously explained the specific practices we used at those two stores. At the Stratford Food Centre, the issue centred around the difficulty we had of removing the boxes from the basically right-sized commercial bin the shop used for rubbish disposal. The Stratford Food Centre under-generated waste most of the time. Sometimes the bin they rented contained more space than was needed for the refuse that the Food Centre disposed of. There were other times when the shop generated enough waste to fill the bin up right to the top if it packed its refuse tightly in the bin and placed damp cardboard right on top of  their refuse heap. Finally there were rare occasions when the Food Centre over-generated waste.

57. Whenever the refuse was tightly packed into the bin the trash stuck together. My crew had to remove the cardboard boxes manually, so that the loaders could get all the packed in trash into the truck. I had reported this problem to my supervisor Mickey Neale long before April 2019. Mr. Neale informed me that we should instruct the store to place his cardboard boxes at the side of or on top of his bin. I also explained to Mr. Neale that I believed that there were occasions when the store owner over-generated trash, but those weeks were balanced out by the weeks when trash was under-generated. Mr. Neale told me that I should use my discretion and report the over generation of trash if it became a frequent problem, but otherwise try to gauge whether the periods of under-generation compensated for the periods of over-generation so that the store owner would not have to unfairly pay the Council for a bigger bin. 

58. Given the discretionary policy Mr. Neale told me to use, it is no surprise that the evidence against me consisted of 6 weeks of footage collected over 17 weeks of trash pick up. Basically, the Food Centre over-generated waste about a third of the time and under-generated waste two thirds of the time. It is worth noting that Leedham and Blackburn had originally included CCTV footage from Tuesday 21 May 2019, but quickly removed it from the investigation when they learned that I was off work that day and so a different driver was following my same routine. The footage from that Tuesday and all the other Tuesdays that was not used would have exonerated me. They started by telling me that they would show me 8 weeks of footage, but when I was actually given a chance to see the footage, I was only shown 6 weeks.

59. In the past there had been a similar problem with the trash generated at the Caner Supermarket at 163 Odessa Road. The trash the shop generated could fit into the bin they were paying for but the bin was placed under a leaky tap. When the loaders dumped the bins they became covered with water. The solution we worked out was that the store would keep its trash someplace dry and leave its broken down boxes by the side or on top of the bin. It was common knowledge that soggy cardboard is easier to stuff into a trash bin than dry cardboard, allowing the owner to place the cardboard boxes outside the bin eliminated any temptation to wet down the trash in order to condense it into the bin. 

60. In Andy Leedham’s statement, he stated that he was not looking for any other wrongdoing on my part. But then he got lucky over the alleged over-generation of trash at the Caner Market. I have already described the saga of the tenant’s trash bin, so I will not repeat it here. I said I reported the problem to my supervisor as soon as I encountered it, and when it was not resolved after about a month of assurances that it would be resolved, I marked the issue in two of my report sheets.

61. What is ironic about my discipline is that it is based on precisely the things that made me respected, popular, and trusted by my co-workers, honest managers, and the community. My honesty, my commitment to fairness, dedication to maintaining the same routine week-in and week-out, to saving money for the Council and being a model community representative of the Council’s commitment to serving the community, and finally my desire to solve problems rather than create them were turned against me. Did I count the change I received from one of my long-standing clients? Of course not. I wanted them to know we could have an equal relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Did I follow the same routine every week? Yes, it’s what I was known for. Did I report customers I knew by shop name when they over-generated trash? Obviously I did. They knew and I knew that was one of my job responsibilities.

V. The Bias of the Managers that Charged Me with Gross Misconduct.

62. I have catalogued the specific procedural violations that have occurred in an appendix. 

63. I never had any discussions with Andy Leedham after he engineered Michael Hunter’s suspension and then forced his son to resign. I brought eight complaints by workers against Andy Leedham after he became a supervisor. I disputed his qualifications to be a supervisor and said that it was obvious he was rewarded for his attack against our union. Andy said in his statement that he had gotten to know me after he became a supervisor, which was not true. Maybe he said it to act like he was objective. In any case, when Stephen Blackburn chose Andy to be his assistant, he definitely chose the right person. An honest supervisor would never agree to be complicit in using a pack of lies to get me unfairly suspended and dismissed.

64. As is clear from what I already said, Stephen Blackburn was no fan of mine. We had a long history of disputes. He was the person who would be held responsible by the Council, top managers and community for all the misdeeds I raised to the Mayor and Chief Executive. He was clearly the trouble-shooter behind my sacking and he had to know better than to do what he did to me. Suspending me without warning or trying to solve the problem first; skipping over any lesser disciplines; sneaking around the backs of my managers to build a case against me; never even interviewing the shopkeepers in his rush to get me gone; allowing David Humphries to dismiss key facts in his investigation of me; characterising a 20p discount as a bribe and me a fraud for whatever else I could be doing; from start to finish, the whole sordid process was unfair, unreasonable, and unconscionable.

65. If you just connect the dots it is easy see how the increasing boldness of the workers, including a willingness to strike during a time when no one else was striking, which was built on my example and my leadership made the Waste Department management eager to get rid of me quickly even if doing so meant violating their own policies. Under my leadership our union was becoming more unified and more determined to act. We were shifting the balance of power away from high-handed bullying policies of management to the creation of more democratic rights for ourselves. We were poised to win. Restoring the status quo must have seemed impossible to Stephen Blackburn so long as I remained on the job.

66. Stephen Blackburn asked Human Resources for permission to suspend me on 2 May 2019. He received permission to do so from HR on 22 May 2019. David Humphries took over the process and wrote our letters of suspension on 28 May 2019. After that, no time looked like a good time to proceed. It was not until the end of July, a peak vacation time, when Council meetings and Mayoral surgeries shut down until the Autumn, and the possibility of a strike was clearly in the rear-view mirror that I received my suspension. Suspend-now-investigate-later was the Stephen Blackburn/David Humphries’ strategy at the end of July. During the time that Blackburn was in his post, more people had been suspended and terminated than any other time in my 16 years of employment. There were several dangers to waiting until September to carry out the suspension. Management was on the verge of reneging on the ACAS solution. Management also learned from Michael Hunter’s suspension that if they waited until the Autumn to suspend, a new leader could emerge and win the support of their co-workers and community and place demands on the local Council. 

67. The constant delays by management and financial hardship that this whole process created damaged my health and made me sick. When my mother became very ill and then died, management was in a rush to move things forward anyway. They showed no care of duty.

68. I hope this Tribunal will see through the pretend fair and reasonable procedures that management will be looking to stand on. I would like to be reinstated to prevent the chilling effect my dismissal could have on free speech and union rights. I want to thank the Tribunal in advance for the time you have taken to read my statement and the hours more we will spend together when my hearing begins.

Dennis Carabott’s witness statement can be read online at

Sign the petition to reinstate Dennis Carabott at


Reinstate Dennis Carabott NOW

Everyone out to Dennis’s East London Employment Tribunal Hearing 25-29 September

Bring our movement of workers & the community into the streets and into the courtroom!

We the undersigned demand that Newham Council:

  1. Immediately reinstates Dennis Carabott to his position in the Newham Refuse Department;
  2. Guarantees the future of Queen’s Market. The Queen’s Market traders should control running the market and deciding on the needed improvement funded by Newham Council.

And we:

3. Pledge to build a mass mobilization of supporters at Mr. Carabott’s East London Employment Tribunal hearing from 25-29 September.

Scan the code above to go to the petition website, or copy the link

We must stop Newham Council from getting away with sacking one of Newham’s best known and most effective union and community leaders, Dennis Carabott. Mr. Carabott has worked for Newham Council for sixteen years. He has been a truck driver, team leader and teacher and mentor for new drivers for most of those years. He has an unblemished record of service. He was sacked by Newham Council on blatantly false, manufactured charges of misconduct because he was so successful at fighting for his co-workers as a union leader and for the community he served.

Mr.Carabott played a decisive role in the decision of Newham and Tower Hamlets refuse workers overwhelmingly yes votes on their recent strike ballotts despite his termination. Win or lose his employment case, he is ready and eager to lead our upcoming strikes.

Dennis Carabott’s Employment Tribunal case begins on 25th September at the East London Employment Tribunal. The case is slated to go for 5 days. The Newham Strike to Win Committee must win Mr. Carabott’s reinstatement. We need our natural allies to join the fight, including the traders and the shoppers at Queen’s Market who are also fighting against the Newham Refuse and Waste Department managers to save and improve the market.

We can win in court if we are putting the movement back into our strike movement by taking our fight to the streets, to the picket lines and to Newham’s Labour Party Council and Mayor. A win for Dennis is inseparable from the forging and emerging of new leaders for our movement. We need to win Mr. Carabott’s case to send a message to every Tory MP and Labour Party Council that victimising our leaders will accomplish nothing more than strengthening of our movement.

23 August 2023

VOTE NO on the Tory’s Pay Proposal


Defeat the weak collapsing Tory government and its attacks on the working people of Britain

Victory to the strike wave

Save public education

Build independent union committees of action to take control of our union
negotiations and strikes

Build an independent worker/community movement fighting for the interest of the
people of Britain. Support only leaders and allies of the new labour movement in the
next elections to start building a REAL British labour party to replace the anti-labour party of Keir Starmer and Tony Blair

The 6.5% sub-inflation pay increase we are being urged to accept by the government and our turncoat union bosses is an attack on education and a scam. The Tory government will only allocate funds for 3% of the pay rise. The government is refusing to say exactly how it will fund this 3% rise. All of our dishonest cynical groveling education union tops are saying that they have “reassurances” that the government’s pay offer will not come out of “frontline” education costs. But this is an obvious lie.

It is no secret that the pay offer that our union sellouts are trying to shove
down our throats is predicated on the fact that the other 3.5% of our pay rise is coming out of the budgets of the individual schools we work at. On 14 July 2023, Minister of Education Gillian Keegan stated that she recognized that the proposed wage settlement “will not mean that no school will face financial challenges and [so] I will also extend the support currently available to individual schools facing the most difficult financial circumstances by up to £40 million.” £40 million is a pittance of what schools will have to pay to cover teachers’ pay increases.

Reject this crime against the people

As part of the crime being perpetrated by the government and our union leaders-turned-enemies, we are also being told that the new money added to the education budget funds will be raised through a series of attacks against immigrants, including higher costs for work visas, higher fees for immigrants using NHS services, and doubling the costs of visas for foreign students.

This a crime in part because the Tories know that these measures will raise little
to no money, and that they will force doctors, and a host of other desperately needed caregivers to leave Britain at a time when there is already a terrible
shortage of frontline healthcare workers. But this is also a crime because the Tories, with the apparent immoral support of our union leaders, are attempting to resolve what is really an economic crisis caused by Tory policies, with typical racist, cruel, anti-immigrant demagoguery as part of the usual divide and rule politics of our most reactionary politicians. It is unconscionable for leaders of unions representing teachers in this country to be party to these racist attacks on the communities that teachers serve and that teachers and their union leaders should consistently defend. In other words, instead of increasing the taxes on the billionaires and giant corporations, the Tories only policy for dealing with the crisis of public-sector pay, is to cut public services, including resources for our schools, and throwing out some more xenophobic, racist, Brexiter anti-immigrant demagogy – with the cooperation of the leaders of our teachers’ unions. The whole 6.5% pay increase scam is nothing more than a union-leadership-sanctioned attack against teachers and students and the communities we have a duty to serve. This fact alone warrants a resounding no vote.

Meanwhile, private sector workers are receiving pay increases that are far
higher. Agreeing to this settlement is a betrayal already signed onto by our cynical, cowering anti-struggle union leaders. We must not follow their lead.

Weak Tories collapsing but union bureaucrats still cringe before them

The current Tory government is pathetically weak by historical standards
and is essentially crumbling. Dozens of Tory MP rats are already fleeing the sinking ship of this hated Tory government, declaring that they will not stand for re-election. Under these circumstances, the teacher-union bureaucrats look absolutely ridiculous, pitifully naive, and downright cowardly, as they gush over the settlement and issue a joint statement with this dying Tory government that includes a treacherous promise of no more strikes.

In contrast, the junior doctors and the Consultants immediately refused the
government’s offer and pledged to continue striking. The General Secretary of
Unite, Sharon Graham, predicted that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s offer would
lead to” a new wave of industrial action.” The Standing Orders Committee of Unite agreed by drafting an emergency motion calling on Unite members to reject Sunak’s “final offer”. The General Secretary of Prospect, Mike Clancy, called Sunak’s offer a “disastrous error” and pointed out that the government was “taking a knife to public services to pay for these pay rises, showing they have learned nothing from the austerity years.”

However, the NEU and ASCL union leaders/managers are forcing educators
to immediately vote on this settlement without even giving us the time to read
the offer or discuss it so that we can make an informed decision. Last week Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the ASCL, stated that his members would be asked to vote in a poll between Monday and Friday starting on Monday, 17 July. The NEU tops announced that the union will set up an electronic ballot of members which will run from 18 to 28 July. Members of the NASUWT just voted for striking in a ballot that closed on 12 July. Their organisation, however, is now recommending that they accept this unconscionable and pitiful pay deal and end their dispute now. It is worth remembering that Minister of Education Keegan just stated that head teachers have a duty to pick up their students and bring them to school to improve enrollment figures.

Our growing strike movement can win

We must organize a no vote on this settlement. Already there are groups of
teachers around the country who are campaigning for a no vote on this settlement offer. This requires us to get out the truth about what Sunak’s offer actually is, and to urge our colleagues to vote no. The NEU, NASUWT, ACSL and NAHT are all balloting on striking now. Our biggest danger is that teachers disgusted and outraged by our sellout leaders’ attempt to stab us in the back will vote no on the strike ballot and accept the current offer or abstain from voting. This fight is all about voter turnout. We need teachers in every branch to step forward and get their colleagues to vote down this wretched offer and vote yes on the strike ballot. We need these new leaders to campaign to get rid of our current pro-Tory government leaders and to replace them with new elected rank-and-file leaders accountable to the members and committed to building school-based branch wide committees of action.

Our strike movement is winning. If we vote down this proposed settlement,
other unions will follow our leadership. Our rejection of the government’s offer
could be the final blow to the teetering, weak, and hated Tory government. But
right now we do not have any party to support in the inevitable quickly approaching Parliamentary elections. Keir Stammer, the leader of the Labour Party has given the Tories’ settlement proposal his tacit support by refusing to even comment on it, because he does not want to “wade” into this vital do-or-die moment for teachers and education.
Our strike movement is progressing quickly. The people who emerge as our
best leaders should stand in the next Parliamentary elections. We are transforming the UK labour movement; it is time for us to transform the political landscape of the nation as well. There is no reason to waste our votes to elect Labour Party candidates when the Labour Party has opposed our strikes from day one. We can create a new independent political party from the powerful and massively popular movement we are building. We are responsible for defeating so many of the Tories’ most racist, divisive, authoritarian, and right-wing policies already. Now we just need to take the next step and
stand candidates who speak for our movement, immigrant, oppressed, poor
and struggling middle class communities and go on the offensive.

The original Labour Party was formed more than a century ago to fight for a socialist program needed to uplift and improve the lives of the vast majority of people, but it gave up the fight long ago. Today’s British Labour Party is on the
wrong side. We can and must fill the void left by this British Labour Party, because as the best of this society we have the power to build a new Britain offering equality, new opportunities, prosperity, hope and unity.

16 July 2023


Bulletin #6

Strike to win

Build independent workers committees of action

Bring down the Tory government

Build our strike movement to create a new, integrated, multinational, equal Britain that puts the rights of the working class and oppressed above all


A balance sheet of our strike wave so far

1. Out of the roller coaster, into the driver’s seat

For the last nine months British unionized workers—especially National Health Service (NHS) workers, education workers, and other government workers—have been on what feels like a series of roller-coaster rides, with each ride offering higher peaks, steeper drops, and faster turns. Fighting to save the NHS and to win the wages and working conditions that we deserve, we have all experienced the anxiety, fear, frustration, and exhilaration that comes with the best roller-coaster experiences. And like every fan of coasters, at the end of each ride, the only thing you want to do is up the ante, find a bigger coaster, buckle up, and get ready to scream in joy or fear, in anticipation of the new twists and turns. The thrill of a roller coaster is that it combines the sense of being out of control, unable to disembark once the ride begins, with the certainty you have ultimate control of your own emotional experience on the ride.

As exciting as it has been, we need to get off the roller coaster or we risk losing much of what our strike movement has gained during the last year. So think theme part go-kart racing or better yet open-wheel Grand Prix racing. We must move into the driver’s seat. We need to be actively controlling every moment of the sometimes scary, exhilarating, often draining course of strikes because in the end, there is no better feeling than winning it all.

From that standpoint, roller coasters are for relatively passive thrill seekers. We have spent too many days keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. We have waited for weeks to find out whether settlements have been rejected, new strike authorizations approved, etc. We have been remarkably successful thus far. But we need to take control of our strikes to assure that no more rotten settlements are put up for a vote, that we end the regime of on-again-off-again, one-day, single-union, and uncoordinated strikes aimed only at getting the government to the bargaining table. This means putting the real rank-and-file leaders of our strikes in charge of our movement.

We have made progress by forcing our recalcitrant union leaders to yield to our pressure and do the minimum of what we have demanded of them, but they’re still sabotaging our prospects for victories.

Our most important victories have come when we rejected the losing tactics of our sell-out establishment union leaders/managers and implemented the commonsense strike to win strategies of Movement for Justice (MFJ). Every time union memberships took control of our strike movement, we made progress, which laid the groundwork for further progress.

2. Rank-and-file healthcare and education workers lead the way

The struggles of the NHS workers and teachers have had the greatest impact on pushing us forward. In December 2022, Scottish Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members ignored their misleaders, voted-down a bad settlement offer and called the Scottish Nationalist Party’s bluff when it tried to impose the rejected settlement on them—and they won.

In February and March, NHS workers and teachers at every level of education forced the union leader/managers to call massive days of joint strike actions, marches, and demonstrations involving community supporters. In March and April, members of all the different NHS unions resurfaced an independent organization called “NHS Workers Say No” and defeated the attempt of the RCN leader Pat Cullen to push through a completely unacceptable settlement.

Inspired by the action of their co-workers, the British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors took 3 straight days of strike action themselves. This in turn has led senior doctors-Consultants and paid hospital staff doctors such as radiologist and anesthesiologists to start preparing their own strike actions. The NHS workers, representing the gamut from least-paid workers to doctors, have a highly contagious case of strike fever.

The developments in the healthcare struggle are profound. For decades we have watched Thatcher’s and the Tories’ efforts to privatize the NHS and undermine public healthcare and the Blairite Labour Party’s refusal to reverse the Tories’ attacks. Now, many NHS staff members believe we can rebuild the NHS into the best national healthcare system in the world. We are poised to make that happen.

3. Our strike wave: the workers’ real answer to the hyperinflation

Fundamentally this strike wave has always been a workers’ response to the hyperinflation. Millions of British workers have understood the inflation crisis is a result of the crisis of post-Brexit British capitalism and the special crisis of Covid —and the bankruptcy of the “neoliberalism” (actually ultra-monopoly capitalism) of both the Tory and the Labour Party leaderships’ impotent economic policies. Our strike wave has been the British workers’ way of saying:

Our daily struggle for survival is not to blame for the greed and incompetence of the British capitalists and the cowardice of the Parliamentary parties. We and our children refuse to be scapegoated for the failures of the politicians and the economic tyrants of the giant corporations.

For all that we have gained in trade union solidarity and militancy—breaking a government plan to break the back of the labour movement—we have not yet won the wage increases that have rightly been the shared basis for our strikes. The reason for this is that we have not yet wrested control of our unions from the establishment top union bureaucrats, who maintain a policy of collaboration with the managements who remain determined to demoralize and scapegoat us.

We will fail to win our most basic wage demands under our current union leaders because they are in reality misleaders who agree with the management’s positions—not ours. The union misleaders agree that the economic crisis should be “resolved” on the backs of the workers—at the expense of our basic standard of living. These union misleaders agree that the solution to the inflation crisis is lower wages for us, higher profits for the giant corporations, and lower taxes for the corporations and the richest individuals—the Tory programme.

We cannot defeat the Tories’ anti worker, anti people programme with national union leaders who agree with it! We are fighting to defend the livelihood and improve the lives of working people. Our top union leaders want to collaborate with the Tories in raising corporate profits at the expense of the working people. They believe that this is the only way to jump-start the economy. The reality is that these policies will only cascade us into further poverty—if we lose our strikes.

We will not win anything close to the 12% raise and cost-of-living allowances to keep up with inflation that we desperately need, without the all-out indefinite multi-union strikes which our current union leaders/managers continue to oppose. If we continue down our current path, we may succeed in delaying union defeats, and we might even bring down the Tory government—but we will not win. We make our movement vulnerable to demoralization that could set in if our battles for better pay drag on for a long time and end with inadequate wage increases that don’t match what we are fighting for.

So now is the time to take the next critical step forward. We need to change who decides our strike strategy and tactics. We need to shake off our fears of becoming too powerful ourselves, of failure, of the unknown, and form an independent, alternative elected rank-and-file leadership now. We must replace our current leaders with accountable elected well-respected rank-and-file workers. We need to create cross-union, rank-and-file, industry-wide branch, regional and national level “committees of action” to run every aspect of our strikes. Our committees of action—the name does not matter—must take control of our strike movement on a national basis to organize the all-out indefinite nationwide strikes to win.

4. Can the workers win? Lessons from the NHS workers

Newham Refuse workers march through their community, September 2022, as part of their 3 week strike.

What we need to do is within reach. In the NHS, rank-and-file workers have already taken steps to take control of their strikes out of the hands of their bankrupt current leaders/managers and have thus gained control of some aspects of their strikes. In March 2023, members resurfaced an independent multi-union opposition to their betraying establishment leaders. NHS Workers Say No was a preexisting opposition organization that was transformed into a mass workers’ organization focused mainly on voting down the NHS contracts during March and April 2023. This committee successfully organized a rejection of the NHS settlement recommended by RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen. The new NHS Workers Say No committee followed their initial success with an overwhelming no vote by NHS Unite members in April.

NHS Workers Say No was an informal body, led by some experienced and known union activists. While the leadership of the committee was not formally elected, it had the authority to hold regular meetings open to all union members, attended by hundreds of union members. Union members used these meetings to discuss and work out how to proceed. NHS Workers Say No coordinated mass workplace distribution of its Say No flyers, participated in by workers from different unions throughout the NHS. MFJ is proud to have played a leading role in supporting NHS Workers Say No. MFJ continued to organize RCN for a winning strike strategy at the RCN national conference held in May 2023. MFJ leader Anna Pichierri, a voting RCN delegate to the conference, delivered a rousing call to action at a plenary session of the conference and in the Strike to Win bulletin distributed at the conference.

NHS Workers Say No had two understandable and natural problems—limitations that can easily be remedied. First, it functioned as a limited temporary single-issue vote no campaign and stopped organizing after its victories. Second, NHS Workers Say No did not present itself as an alternative leadership for the NHS at any of the NHS Union national congresses. We failed to pull together a slate of candidates to contest Pat Cullen’s stranglehold on the RCN. If we can rebuild NHS Workers Say No now and become an independent, stable caucus within multiple NHS unions, adopt principles of unity, and create a stable democratic structure, we can become a powerful rank-and-file workers committee counterposed to the current sure-to-lose leaders in the NHS unions.

The reconstitution of NHS Workers Say No, as a serious and determined, democratic, membership-accountable leadership, fearlessly willing to take control of our strikes, may also be the only way to get a new strike ballot authorization within the RCN.

See video of MFJ’s Anna Pichierri speaking at the RCN conference at

5. Can the workers win? Lessons from the education struggle

A second union rank-and-file that has successfully turned coordinated actions into successful challenges to their current leadership are University and College Union (UCU) university lecturers. UCU members have made a fight to get their elected bargaining team rather than their sellout union managers to take over bargaining. They have refused to even acknowledge the legitimacy of the settlement entered into between their union managers and university management this spring.

Instead they have conducted a self-organized, successful assessment and grading strike/boycott for the past two months. Because it is clear that the “official” UCU establishment have lost their authority with their members, university managements have entered into negotiations with representatives from their own faculties. At Leeds University UCU teachers have gone out on an indefinite strike to stop the university administration from withholding 100% of their wages, to retaliate for the faculty grades and assessments strike/boycott.

If the UCU lecturers take the next step and form an independent organization of elected leaders from all the different universities, they could take over national negotiations and call national coordinated strike actions. There is nothing preventing this from happening. The best UCU leaders must boldly step forward and make this happen. Nothing is going to change spontaneously, and the sellout UCU leaders will not surrender control without a fight. Electing the rank-and-file workers to take control of bargaining has already happened in some London buroughs. Rank-and-file workers have formed independent committees of action that include family members and community members. These committees have stepped up to organize the support of other unions and community members for Newham refuse workers, striking bus drivers and teachers in Lewisham, who voted to take local strike action to stop the academization of the four Prendergast schools. These committees have built joint struggles with community members and vice versa. These initiatives need to be replicated in every striking union at every level of union organizations.

6. The playbook of betrayal

Our union misleaders’ only “bright ideas” are the tactics of manipulating their members into bowing to betrayal:

1) Capitulate to the government;

2) Drag things out;

3) Repeatedly put up for a vote variations of the same settlement that has already been voted down;

4) Embark on a few new losing and dead end strikes and;

5) Where possible divide the union members up by professional status, gender, race and national boundaries within the UK.

As things stand now, these are the tactics they plan to employ to end our strike wave. Winning strikes has never been part of their agendas.

The class collaboration union leaders would probably never have called any strikes if they had not felt the pressure from angry workers demanding the 12%+wage increases and making clear their desire to take on the Tories, especially after their unconscionable COVID-19 policies and barrage of attacks on the working class, immigrants and refugees, and oppressed communities.

But the arrogant, drunk-with-privilege-and-power Tories, made a big miscalculation and tried to make 2022 their year to finally break the unions. The government massively underestimated how much public support the strikes would gain. They also vastly overestimated their ability to use racism, anti-Union sentiment, and the scapegoating of refugees to mobilize a middle-class backlash to our strikes.

The government’s decision in the spring of 2022 to forego the usual bargaining charade, sideline the union bargaining team, and unilaterally impose a so called cost saving settlement on the workers was more than the union leaders could accept. For years, the unions and the government had operated on the longstanding principle of union-management collaboration. But this time, if the union tops had done nothing to counter such extreme government overreach and abuse of power, the union bureaucrats knew their members could not swallow it. Even these long-time sell-out union bureaucrats realized they could not be reelected if they allowed the Tories to treat them and their members with such absolute contempt. They would have gone down in history as some of the weakest, most subservient leaders of all time.

7. How we got here: 40 years of attacks, defeats, and betrayals

For some 40 years the British people have been forced to watch a series of attacks and reversals of historic gains in economic rights and social welfare, human rights and basic dignity. The elite of the British economic and political establishment have attempted to resolve chronic historic economic and social problems by making the lives of the British people worse. To cover the realities of their hostile policies, they have employed the standard tactics of divide-and-rule racism and xenophobia, both domestically and abroad. The point has been to divert our attention from the British corporations and their subservient governments who are actually attacking us to imaginary “enemies”—at home, minorities, including immigrants, abroad the EU (Brexit).

It is now obvious to most of the people of Britain that neither attacks on minorities, including immigrants, nor Brexit have made Britain better off. On the contrary, these policies have made us a good deal worse off.

Our strike wave is a profoundly healthy sign that the British people are becoming fed up with endless attacks wrapped in economic gobbledygook and hate-mongering demagogy.

Striking cleaners & porters at South London mental health hospitals, May 2023

8. The original major turning point: the Thatcher government and the miners’ strike

This terrible period in British history began with the election of the Tory government headed by Margaret Thatcher in May 1979. The Thatcher government took power with the avowed aims of:

1) Breaking the back of the organized British labour movement.

2) Reversing the gains for social justice since World War II by turning social services into for-profit-of-a-few private corporations.

The decisive battle came in 1984-85—the attack on the British Miners union—historically the militant spearhead of the British working class. Thatcher naturally used her reactionary Tory parliamentary majority to attempt to crush the Miners’ strike, but went beyond traditional political and governmental methods to mobilize police from all over Britain to break the Miners picket lines, bully the news media and hundreds of other interest groups to create an impression of a vicious monolith of hostility to the Miners across the country.

The reality was that millions of members of labour and community groups all over Britain passionately supported the Miners—understanding that Thatcher’s attack was really on them—on working-class communities, on Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities, on the women’s movement, on mosques, on lesbians and gay men. In other words all across Britain the communities of the working class and oppressed understood that Thatcher was attacking them in attacking the Miners.

All over the UK, the people of the nation’s working-class and oppressed communities organized support, subsidies, demonstrations and marches for the Miners, who toured the country as heroes to whom ordinary working-class families, churches, mosques, synagogues and community centers opened their doors in concrete solidarity and love. A national mass movement of rank-and-file people understood that the miners were on the front lines of the defense of every real progressive and social gain made in the UK during the previous half century.

But the national union leaders of the TUC and the British Labour Party leadership refused to support the Miners’ struggles. In fact some of the most vicious attacks made on the Miners came from the Labour Party leadership and reactionary bureaucrats.

This isolation of the British Miners by the TUC bureaucrats and the right-wing Labour Party leadership led to the defeat of the Miners and—as Thatcher knew it would—the historic weakening of the entire labour movement and of most progressive struggle for the next generations.

The union bureaucrats and the Labour Party that betrayed the miners and instead stood with Thatcher has been, for the decades since the 1980’s, the misleadership of our unions, the Labour Party, and other struggles.

When a Labour government formed under Tony Blair, it had brought to power the perfect realization of the Labour Party leadership that had attacked and betrayed the miners. The years of “neoliberal” (in reality reactionary) Labour Party government that followed did little or nothing to reverse Thatcher’s attacks on unions and social welfare and on the public sector generally, including the NHS and education. And most of the national union leaderships in Britain have continued the cringing policies of retrenchment and retreat embraced by the TUC tops in the 1980’s—never really defending their members, always really on the side of management.

The union and political leaderships that embraced the policies of retrenchment and retreat in the face of Thatcherism in the 1980’s have maintained refuse-to-struggle policies ever since. Yet these have naturally been the leaders we have looked to to lead our fight. Their failure of will and courage culminated in the inability of the British Labour party frankly and boldly to oppose the racism and xenophobia of Brexit in the last general election.

The result—the incredibly reactionary, cruel, and authoritarian Tory governments—with a growing fascist tendency in and out of government—and the accumulated crisis of Brexit, Covid, and out-of-control inflation—and now attempts at sweeping scapegoating attacks on the welfare and rights of the people of Britain.

Striking nurses, February 2023

9. We are changing history for the better: some of our achievements so far

Building our movement has reshaped our lives individually and collectively in ways we never thought possible. What began as a series of separate trade union battles for better wages has blossomed into the most far reaching and effective movement for economic and social justice in four decades. No one would have predicted our amazing achievements in so short a period of time.

 If you asked the majority black, Asian, and immigrant Newham refuse workers if their small local strike last autumn, the community marches they led, and the initial actions of their counterparts at London’s King’s College Hospital and South London striking bus workers who followed the refuse workers’ example of turning picket lines into community demonstrations, would be the vanguard of a powerful new strike movement that continues to grow, they certainly would demure at first but after a moment of shy modesty would say “ we weren’t even trying to be leaders, but if our actions sparked all that has happened then we will happily keep stepping forward and leading this momentous strike wave”. The refuse workers of Newham will have the chance to do that along with tens of thousands of other local- authority workers who are likely to join our strike movement this summer.

10. We are changing history for the better: power to the people!

The greatest achievement we have made is shifting the political balance of power in favor of the working class and oppressed. During the last month we have served a series of defeats to the Tories. The Tory government lost seats in the recent elections. We have forced them to back down from their rabid attacks and efforts to criminalize cross-channel refugees. We no longer hear discussions of implementing new union-busting laws. We have prevented the fascist street gangs directly tied to members of the Tory Party from closing down Drag Queen Story Hours or intimidating refugees housed in unsanitary hotels overrun with rodents and bugs from protesting for new accommodations and winning significant victories against the repressive and vicious institutionalized Home Office bullies.

Boris Johnson, the poster boy for Brexit and reactionary politics generally, like his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, is shrouded in legal scandals and has been forced to resign from Parliament. In the face of the strike wave and his Tory party’s overall crisis, he has even been forced to withdraw from politics altogether for the time being.

Striking cleaners & porters at South London mental health hospitals, May 2023

11. We are changing history for the better: uniting the people in the fight against impoverishment and economic inequality

Our success has placed us in the position to change the course of British history. We have put our movement in a position to begin to close the tremendous income gap between rich and poor and to stop the legacy of social and political inequalities based on national identity, race, gender, sexual orientation and other forms of oppression that have divided us and kept us so effectively from fighting for our own united self-interest.

During the height of the Empire, the rulers of Britain claimed to offer all the colonies a chance to experience a new and better life, but all that materialized in the places they exploited was greater poverty, social and cultural destruction, and increasingly an accelerating free fall into larger and smaller scale wars and desperation.

Brexit was built on the lie that white working class and middle-class people benefitted from the glory days of the Empire and could do so again. But that was a lie stoked by racism and built on fantasies. The living standards of some people in Britain improved for a period of time during the height of the Empire. But the imperial policies also lowered the wages of many British workers. Imperialism also created a rivalry between the nations of Europe, contesting to control each-others’ colonial possessions, and to conquer new territories. The result was two world wars that cost the lives of millions of working-class soldiers across Europe and undercut the international workers’ struggles that were actually needed.

People from the colonial world were forced to move to Britain to support families languishing in poverty in the colonies. At the beginning, they were as a whole scorned, degraded and victimized by racism. But the British economy needed their labour and increasingly British society and culture depended on the contributions of diversity, creativity, and leadership the descendents of colonial people brought to Britain. Now people from Britain’s former colonies are becoming the majority- minority population of Britain. Britain’s immigrant communities have played a leading role in creating our new movement. The immigrant communities have also produced some of the best young leaders of the movement.

A majority of people in Britain are actively committed to defending the NHS, public education and other key aspects of the social safety net won through past struggles. Once upon a time the British Labour Party of Aneurin Bevan and other “leftists” responded positively to workers’ struggles and between 1945 and 1952 created the NHS and nationalized 20% of British industries and utilities including the coal industry, the railways and electrical power. Today’s Labour Party is an entirely different story—they have been and are on the side of undoing the past progress, because that is what the giant corporations want. But today we are in a position to create a diverse multicultural Britain striving to end racism, sexism, anti LGBT+ bigotry and all other forms of oppression and to be united and strong enough to defend those gains regardless of the decrepit, reactionary Labour Party politicians threats.

12. A perspective for changing history, not repeating it

For the first time since the governments of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, there is a movement that has the power to shut the door on all the right-wing “neo-liberal” reactionary policies that have dovetailed into each other. The Parliamentary Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Starmer is a particularly right-wing, vicious, and deeply anti-working-class expression of Blairism. The top union bureaucracies inseparably tied to the Labour Party are committed to one of the overriding principles of Blair trade union politics—preserving the sanctity of the profit-driven capitalist system of production is paramount no matter what the human costs. They have been such effective partners with every post-Thatcher government, precisely because they agree that destruction of the social welfare system, privatization of every public institution, a continuing policy of tax cuts for the billionaires and privileged elite along with austerity measures imposed on the great majority of people in Britain, are the only ideas open to discussion. Our movement is powerful enough to reject the class collaboration politics stemming from the era of neoliberal Labour Party leader Tony Blair. Blair served as Prime Minister of Britain from 1997-2007. Peter Metcalf, a journalist for the Guardian, summed-up neoliberalism as “the ideal of society is a universal market…with the goal to weaken the welfare state and any commitment to full employment and to always cut taxes and deregulate”. Under the Blair regime, parts of the NHS were sold off to private companies, who made huge corporate profits gleaned from the government payments they received for their services. Similarly, local authority schools were forced to “compete” with private academies subsidized by the Labour government. The Labour government also established fees for university students to pay that were initially £1000 but were tripled to £3000 before Blair left office. Management/union cooperation schemes became more prevalent as the new model for pay settlements during Blair’s tenure. Another pillar of the Blair policies was to leave in place the Thatcher anti-Labour laws that have crippled all of our struggles and the Tories’ disastrous privatization of the railways.

The current Labour Party Parliamentary leader Keir Starmer has opposed our strikes and implicitly backed the majority of racist, anti-immigrant, anti-working class and anti-democratic Tory economic and social policies. Since Starmer, like the Tories, can think only in terms of raising corporate profits and making the rich richer, he has to oppose the necessary economic and social measures desperately needed for the survival of workers and the poor. If the price of the task of making the biggest British capitalist corporations bigger means that the living standard of the great majority of the British people will remain in a free fall, well too bad for the people, as far as Starmer is concerned.

Starmer has ordered Labour Party members to stay away from our union pickets and banned them from expressing any support for our strikes. He has expelled left-wing Labour Party leaders, including Jeremy Corbin and Diane Abbott, on the basis of trumped-up charges he knows are false, in order to purge the Labour Party of anyone who supports the traditional socialist programme that many people associate with the Labour Party.

A challenge to Starmer’s Labour Party leadership will occur this summer, if and when local government workers, who are balloting now, go out on strike. Strikes of local council workers are, by definition, political in nature. Every local Labour Party council will be put on the line: side with their local workers and communities or lose office during the next elections. This will present the perfect moment for our movement to demand that Jeremy Corbin, Diane Abbott, and the other expelled left Labour Party members be unconditionally re-admitted to the Party. It will also present the best opportunity for our movement to demand that the Labour Party take up the fight to end the government’s legislative and extra-legal thug attacks against refugees, immigrant communities, and other oppressed communities.

We will have the power to look beyond paralysis by the Labour Party politicians and their policies. We should only back Labour Party candidates who defend the NHS, public education and the whole working-class socialist programme that the Labour Party once claimed to stand for. And, we should demand that Labour Party candidates support our strike or give up our votes. We should back only candidates who actively support us and our just demands.

When the current government is forced to call new elections, the Labour and Liberal Party will be scurrying—not to support our struggle—but to convince billionaire backers of the Tories to switch, at least for the time being, to backing their parties. Labour will have the inside track. They are already tight as thieves with union leaders/managers. It is probably true that some Labour candidates will lie and promise to give us gains in the future in order to win our votes. But the promises they keep will be the ones that they made to the billionaires—to end our strikes and bring our struggle for survival to an end.

We have been down this road before. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Now is the time to call the bluff of the Labour Party traitors and fight for ourselves, with our independent economic and political struggle. We have come this far by shedding our illusions in false friends and allies. If we can continue, we can win our liberation from the vice-grip of political enemies, liars, and frauds. This is our chance now to build real social justice and democracy in Britain.

25 June 2023

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