what it says on the tin? memories of the NSSN

In January the National Shop Stewards’ Network fell apart when the Socialist Party declared the foundation of yet another national anti-cuts campaign. Sheila Cohen reflects on the deeper roots of NSSN’s failure

What follows will have to be taken as a personal account, given the fierce antagonisms and uncertain alliances involved in the split which took place at the National Shop Stewards’ Network (NSSN) conference on 22nd January. Since that time, the comments of the NSSN majority have focused largely on the “democracy” of the debate, which saw a large vote for the proposal that the NSSN launch an “anti-cuts campaign, bringing trade unions and communities together to save all jobs and services”.

There is no point commenting here on the methods available for securing such large majorities. That would be to detract from the central issue which saw up to 100 people leave the conference – and the NSSN. Our spirited discussion at a nearby pub was not based on any lack of formal “democracy”, but on the fundamental irrelevance of the debate, if such it can be called, on the future of working-class politics in Britain. Continue reading “what it says on the tin? memories of the NSSN”

rob williams sacked – step up the struggle

Rob Williams, trade union Convenor of Linamar Swansea and vice chair of the National Shop Stewards’ Network, was sacked by the Linamar management last week, and then temporarily re-instated following militant action by the Linamar workforce.


Disgracefully, however, Rob today had his sacking confirmed. Negotiations between Linamar management and Tony Woodley took place all day in London, but Linamar did not shift. Continue reading “rob williams sacked – step up the struggle”

workers go it alone

Jake Lagnado, who is involved in the Latin American Workers’ Association, wrote this report (in a personal capacity) on the March 22nd National Shop Stewards Network event for the Morning Star

As bosses use the recession to step up their attacks on workers, more and more rank-and-file union activists are declaring that they cannot afford to wait for union leaders to give the nod before fighting back.

Last week, the London Shop Stewards Network held a “workplace organising conference” to discuss how workers at the sharp end of the employer’s offensive, particularly agency staff and migrant workers, could learn from each others’ experience of resistance.

The London activists are part of the National Shop Stewards Network which was created in 2007 to forge grass-roots links between organised workers in different workplaces and rebuild the strength of our working-class movement. Continue reading “workers go it alone”

workplace organising conference 22nd march

The London Shop Stewards Network invites all workers, reps and activists to what we believe will be an interesting, relevant and useful event co-run with members of the Campaign Against Immigration Controls (CAIC), N&E London Solidarity Federation (SolFed) and the RMT Metronet workplace strike committee.

The conference will be made up of 3 sessions:

Rank & file organising ~ from workplace organising, setting up strike committees and running a successful dispute – Metronet RMT Reps

Migrant workers in struggle ~ resisting NI checks in the workplace – CAIC

Developing class consciousness & resistance in the workplace – SolFed

Sunday 22nd March – 10am to 3pm

Somerstown Community Centre

150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE

(5mins walk from the British Library Euston/Kings X)