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J. Deane

Dockers Want 25/– a Day

(August 1945)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 7 No. 11, August 1945, p. 1.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

One of the first acts of the new Labour Government has been to send troops to the Surrey Docks to unload several ships. This can only be taken as a deliberate attempt to use men, who were conscripted under the slogan of fighting fascism, to impose the employers demands upon the workers at the docks.

The soldiers have “no heart to do it” ... “they sympathise with the dockers” and “hope the Labour Government will recall them”, as a couple of soldiers put it to a reporter from the Socialist Appeal. The dockers don’t want them to do it, but they bear them no antagonism because they know they are under military discipline.

The fact that their own Union leaders oppose the constitutional action of the dockers condemns these Union leaders as reactionary bureaucrats.

This experience has demonstrated clearly to all militant dockers that they can expect nothing from the Union bureaucrats.

It is this realisation that has caused the dockers, for the first time, to form a rank and file committee and to establish contact with other workers throughout the country. The Progressive Committee is an excellent step in the right direction, but its basis must be extended. This committee would have the unswerving loyalty of every dock worker, not only now but after the struggle, if it went before the men and asked for elected representatives from every section of the docks. Such a representative committee, thoroughly organised and prepared, could secure victory for the dock workers. This is a step which the members of the Progressive Committee must consider immediately.

Contact has already been established with other ports. This contact must be secured and fully organised. To facilitate this and at the same time create a national consciousness amongst the dockers, the dockers must instruct their Union leaders to call a conference of all dock workers to discuss wages, conditions and organisation. Mr. Donovan, Secretary of the T.&G.W.U. Docks Section, will try to side step this demand because it will pose the question of electing new and militant officials subject to annual election.

The bosses are provoking the dockers, the dockers only answer can be through organisation and preparedness. Only in this way can victory be secured.

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Last updated: 7 February 2017