Region 4 GEC seat for Unite: Vote Rob Williams

19th February 2008

I am 38 and have been the Convenor at the Visteon car plant in Swansea for two and a half years and a member of the union for twelve years. I am on the regional and national committees of the Vehicle Building and Automotive trade group.

Enough concessions to employers

I am opposed to 'concession bargaining', where unelected full time officials encourage our members to accept worse pay and conditions instead of organising a fight-back. This strategy inevitably ends in the employer making further threats in the future and coming back for even more cuts!

Despite having our backs against the wall in Visteon we have won significant victories by being prepared to mobilise the membership against management's attacks on our jobs, terms, conditions and pensions. I believe elected shop stewards are the union officials that are closest to the membership and have the authority to determine the tactics and strategy to defend our members' interests.

Rebuild the labour movement

I am proud to represent Wales on the national steering committee of the National Shop Stewards Network.

I am a member of the Socialist Party and believe that our union should disaffiliate from New Labour, whose government attack our members while maintaining the Tory anti-trade union laws which weakens our ability to fight back.

We urgently need a new mass workers' party to politically represent ordinary people.

A fighting union

I don't know about you but I've had enough of being told 'don't rock the boat'.

We in Visteon had had first hand experience of what happens when we accept the mentality of 'its ok, its only the ones coming in after you that will be affected'. This led to us having not two but three tiers of wages and pensions in Visteon!

The problem is that management will keep on driving us down until we are all on the worst tier! In Visteon, we have managed to keep everyone together by being prepared to fight back.

But it would have been much easier if we, the union, had stood its ground earlier.

Confidence

The problem is, every concession makes the boss more confident. On the other hand, we found out by our experience that when you fight, the shop floor becomes more confident.

That's why I'm standing in this election. The merger can make our union stronger... but only on condition that we have confidence in the membership and fight together when our jobs, terms & conditions and pensions are threatened. Unite must be a combative, member-run union.

Not a penny more to New Labour

I'm also standing because we need to break the link with New Labour.

Not a penny more to this pro big business party that privatises our public services and maintains Thatcher's anti-trade union laws which make it easier for the bosses to stop us fighting back.

But we shouldn't become a non-political union. We should start the campaign to form a new mass workers' party based on the trade unions to give all working people a socialist alternative.

For a real fighting union led by the shop floor,
Vote Rob Williams for GEC Region 4 seat
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