Report from YCL North-West: Hundreds of people packed out the hall at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool to hear prominent members of several unions, Owen Jones and the Secretary of the People’s Assembly itself; Sam Fairbairn. People queued out of the doors and up the stairs to hear the what was said.
Loud cheers and applause greeted the statement that Liverpool was the UK’s ‘Union City’. No workforce in the country has as high rates of union membership as Liverpool. Speakers from Unite, CWU and PCS went on to extol the benefits of being in a union, benefits such as legal security in the work place, collective bargaining and higher rates of pay and job security as a result.
Anita Wright of the Womens’ Assembly, and Communist Party EC member, explained how women are worse off for austerity, but better off for being in a union although many of the lowest paid and most insecure jobs are carried out predominantly by women. But encouraged the crowd with the news that women were becoming increasingly unionised.
John Hendy of the Institute of Employment Rights cut through the general cheer of the gathering with bleak warnings of how workers rights are being attacked by institutes as large as the UN and the EU undermining trade union rights but stated that we shouldn’t cower in fear but should rise in resistance.
Author Owen Jones finished off the evening with a full-blown assault on austerity policies and noted that Labour must swing a lot further to the left than they are currently, not only to win votes to dispose of the Tories but also to bring back progressivism into the political mainstream.
Perhaps most inspiring of all was the on-the-spot collection that was made to raise funds to hire coaches to take people from Merseyside to the mass national demonstration on the 21st June.