The new merger and forming of Unite in November has massive potential in the construction industry. The Amicus section is mainly made up of electricians, pipefitters, plumbers and steel erectors from The Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union days. There have been a number of well organised jobs in recent years at Wembley, T5, and JLE, as well as others in Manchester, Liverpool, Scotland and Wales. There are some excellent stewards and activists on UK sites at present. There are a number of well organised stewards and activists in T&G also.
We must learn from the past though. In the late 1980s a breakaway union Epiu was formed by disillusioned socialists in Eetpu. As in the past this new union had little succcess. in fact the right wing in Eetpu were rubbing their hands together and were probably encouraging well known socialists in Eetpu to join this new union. It eventually led to Sir Ken Jackson taking over the union. The few socialists left had very little influence as their comrades were Epiu members.
So now to the future. Let’s all stick together and work to get on to committees and with a socialist programme we could turn the new union into a union to proud of – with real democracy and rank & file stewards committees. Hopefully we can also make the construction industry an industry with decent pay, safety top of the agenda and an industry you would want children to work in – with proper apprenticeship schemes available to all. Unity is strength!