Liverpool Dockers- Urgent solidarity needed

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Fri Sep 27 10:43:58 MDT 1996

Any list subscribers who live in Britain, please try and get to
Liverpool this weekend. Details at the bottom of this report.Spread the

THE LIVERP00L dockers and their supporters will mark the first
anniversary of the start of their strike this Saturday, 28 September
with a mass march and rally, assembling at 12 noon at Myrtle Parade,
 On September 28 1995,agroup of young dockers mounted a picket line
outside the Mersey docks. They were employed by a subsidiary of the
Mersey Dock and Harbour Company (MDHC) and were striking against the
casualisation of their jobs.
 The terms and conditions being imposed on them would have meant them
having no fixed hours of employment, but being on call by phone at all
hours of the night and day should the employer need them.
 They would only get paid when called into work.
 These conditions now prevail throughout the privatised docks of
Britain. Merseyside alone is holding out against them.
 Other dockers refused to cross the young men's picket line and were
sacked for doing so. In all, around 500 lost their jobs.
 Since then, the picket line outside the docks has remained constant as
the dockers fight to get their jobs back.
 They have won overwhelming support and solidarity from the labour and
trade union movement throughout Britain.
 But our Tory anti-trade union laws mean that the fight, which is
technically secondary action, cannot receive full trade union
recognition -- much less any supporting industrial action.
 This would leave the unions concerned open to action in the courts and
 But the Tories do not rule the whole world and the Liverpool dockers
have received an amazing level of solidarity from other dockers
throughout the world.
 Representatives of the dockers have flown to Australia, America and all
around the Mediterranean, enlisting the support of dockers' unions in
many different countries.
 At an international conference in Liverpool at the end of August,
dockers from ten different countries agreed to take action to support
their Liverpool colleagues.
 Now ships owned by companies still using the port of Liverpool will
face hold-ups, boycotts, go-slows and strikes all over the world.
 The effect of these boycotts so far has been impressive. In the first
months of this year, the MDHC offered a "peace settlement" of pay-offs
of up to £25,000 each to the dockers to drop their demands for
 The dockers resoundingly rejected the bribe in a postal ballot.
 And the August conference also created a temporary international
alliance of stevedores' unions to combat a common enemy -casualisation
of dock work and an onslaught on working conditions.
 The march from Myrtle parade will be the first in a series of events
throughout the weekend.
These will, include workshops on Sunday 29 September and a mass action
on Monday 30 September at the Seaforth dock.

 For full information on these events contact 0151 2073388, or 0181 450
6929 or 0171
5823474. For information on coaches leaving London early on Saturday
morning for the event, contact 0171 281 4621 or 0956 138496.

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