Saturday, 28 July 2007


P.Murry (Secretary, Green Party Trades Union Group 25/02/2007

In the last Green World Derek Wall called for Greens to join Trades Unions, so I just wanted to write a short piece because I support Derek’s suggestion and because I feel that sometimes, some Greens may have some misconceptions about Trades Unions and their politics.

I think that a proper Trades Union is an autonomous workers’ organisation, originally set up by its own members to represent them primarily in the workplace and primarily to improve and defend pay and working conditions. Since workplaces exist in economic, political and ecological contexts this leads unions to act as pressure groups in these areas.

Hence Trades Union involvement in the campaign against the Colnbrook incinerator, (workers at nearby Heathrow airport would be amongst those worst affected by the pollution), and Gerry Doherty of the TSSA’s * call for support for road pricing, coupled with a reduction in excessive rail fares, (Guardian letters page 21/2/2007).There are many other examples of where Unions would support the same policies as Greens, but there are also instances where the oppose them, the worst example probably being Prospect and the TGWU’s support for new nuclear power stations. Here Greens have to argue that such stances are short-sighted as they will damage workers and their families as well as everyone else and that the job creation involved in greening the economy and society could more than compensate for jobs lost in some industries.

It is possible for Greens to make such arguments within Trades Unions, since they are basically, (but not perfectly) democratic institutions. Currently British Unions are politically dominated by a conventional Left consensus, (ranging from Trotskyite to right wing Labour) AND then there are the entrenched, vested interests of Officers (elected) and Officials (paid) who derive power, prestige and remuneration from the status quo, this all means that being an active Green within a Union can be a very frustrating and isolating experience. Things could become easier with the current superficial ‘greening’ of British politics , but paradoxically more difficult for the Green Party if others can claim to be able to enact the same policies, however what some Unions are starting to realise is that there is a very close convergence of the Green and Union agendas on social and economic policies.

So I think Greens should follow Derek’s advice and become more involved in Unions; for those who already have and for those who are just thinking about it, there is the Green Party Trades Union Group, open to all GP members, to join the email list contact .

* Transport Salaried Staff’s Association

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cllr Sven Rufus writes about the Green party, TU's and Co-ops

I'm in the GMB, my local branch have paid for adverts in our local Green Party newsletter. Now I have been elected as a Councillor, they are more interested still in what we can do together. I will be nurturing this relationship - in so many ways the TU movement is a natural partner for the GP. We should be drawing them towards us, we need to find common ground and build on that. On that note, the Brighton and Hove GP-TU group was on the picket supporting the CWU in their recent action. This support has been noted by the CWU at a national level, and contrasted to the complete absence of any contact from anyone in the Labour Party. Simple actions like this help build links for the future.
As for Coops and Mutuals - I am also a Committee member of the Local Co-op branch, and hopefully as soon as the group is properly convened,I will be on the national Environment Working Group for the Co-op too. I have raised the issue of Co-op support for Co-op Party (and thus the LabourParty) several times and I think the message is beginning to get through. I have also raised the issue of Co-op Party support for Labour with Co-op Party members, but inevitably, this is not being so well recieved. The people I work with in the Co-op are almost all Labour, and almost all disenchanted. The Co-op Party does not allow me to join as I actively campaign against the Labour Party, (in breach of the 1st Co-operative Principle - no discrimination allowed on various grounds including political). As the Co-op part funds the Co-op Party, despite the breach of the 1st Co-operative Principle, I believe that there is real scope for opening theCo-op's eyes to what the GP can also do for them. It should be noted that during the recent Local Elections, I was running on a manifesto that made more mentions of Co-ops than did the Labour Party manifesto (yet the Co-op Party paid £1200 towards publishing the LP manifesto). As with the Unions, I feel that of course we should be prepared to take any support that comes from people with a natural link to our philosophy as long as it is on our terms and we are not dictated to about how we should do things or what stance to take.Trade Union's and Co-ops are striving for many of the same outcomes as us and so of course we should work with them to get the job done. If these organisations have explicitly set aside funds to help influence political decision making, we have as much right to ask for support as do other parties. In fact we should be highlighting to these potential partners that the money they offer Labour has come to be seen as an automatic right by that Party, and often does not lead to the outcomes TU's and Co-ops are after. If they are not giving value for money to their funders, then a new relatonship may offer them more hope of achieving their own ends.

Furthermore, as the TU movement and the Co-op have memberships massively greater than the GP's, developing a good working relationship with them offers us the opportunity to get involved more in promoting the GP agenda to their members. If the GP establishes a relationship with my union, the GMB, that gives us access to 700,000 people. The Co-op has 4 million members - these numbers soon add up. If more people understand our message, we have a better chance of success.

This Branch/Trades Council (delete as applicable) notes:
1. That a new centre to detain 426 asylum seekers and migrants is being built in the grounds of Gatwick airport.
2. That people are detained in such centres without trial and for no crime. They have been deemed illegal simply for being in this country. Many are fleeing persecution and poverty. They are likely to face deportation.
3. That a No Border Camp has been called between September 19-24 to protest against the building of this detention centre and against all such centres.
This Branch/Trades Council therefore resolves to:
A. To campaign against the building of this detention centre
B. Sponsor the No Borders Camp and make a donation of ....... (recommended range £50-300 according to the finances of the branch. Donations made payable to No Borders Brighton and clearly marked - 'No Border Camp' on the back - sent to No Borders Brighton, PO Box 74, Brighton BN1 4ZQ.).
C. Encourage members to attend the camp. (For details see
D. Campaign to close down all detention centres.
E. Campaign against all deportations and immigration controls.
F. Call on the union at regional and national level to campaign to support the camp, campaign against the building of this detention centre, campaign to close down all detention centres, deportations and immigration controls.

Sunday, 8 July 2007


The Green Party is becoming online shop. Did you know that "We believe that environmental awareness does not have to mean the deprivation of the benefits our modern society has grown to enjoy.." ?

Well, see the new GP leaflet which uses the offer of a £5 voucher as an incentive to join the Green Party. The voucher can be
redeemed with the following company for purchases over £50 :

The following website appears prominently on the leaflet:

And if you went to consume the LIVE EARTH Concert on 7/7/07, the Wembley exclusion zone protected you from tree-hugging weirdos.

Brent Council threatened GP leafletters with arrest (and also removed Campaign for Climate change leafletters) in the walkway leading from Wembley Park tube on 7/7/07 at the Live Earth concert whilst permitting hamburger stalls, they have an exclusion zone for unlicensed leafletting round Wembley which means that the punters for Live Earth could proceed from the tube station to the stadium perhaps purchasing a funny hat or some junk food without being worried by being offered the chance to do anything about Climate change. Long live passive consumerism.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Amazing (if somewhat predictable) GPTU banner competition

This is our current banner , (I made it myself and that is why we need a new one), the picture of Bob Crow gives an idea of its true size. We are now broke because Sue Tibbles was sensible enough to spend all our money on organising a meeting at the Unison conference . So the fantastic prizes for a new banner design are:

A cat litter tray filled with specially pre-shredded patio heater leaflets AND

A copy of the Eco-socialist Manifesto pre-folded to provide emmission free air transport for fleas.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


This Blog is going to be a blog open to any member of the Green Party TU Group . At the moment to post to it you need to send your postings (ie written pieces or pictures) to me, Pete Murry, at It will be open to the public and probably in the public domain for legal purposes, ( I don't know I'm not a lawyer but if I put you on the blog I do not personally accept responsibility for any defamation, sedition, indecency or libel that you may post, however enjoyable it may be).
I hereby appoint myself Blog administrator which means I can remove posts if I think neccessary (but I hope it won't be).
If this works it should be an online means of pursuing the discussion we have had at GPTU meetings and on the email lists and perhaps reaching out to the wider audience we keep talking about.
If not another teabag on the compost heap of history.