Derek Robinson Funeral Birmingham Trade Union Leader Nov 22 13:30

Wednesday, 22nd  of November 1:30 pm

Stourbridge Crematorium South Road, Stourbridge DY3 3RQ

TRIBUTES poured in from across the labour and progressive movement yesterday in response to news of the death of former British Leyland convener Derek Robinson.
Dubbed “Red Robbo” by the right-wing press, he led a militant campaign against mass sackings at the nationalised car company in the 1970s and was fired after refusing to withdraw his name from a pamphlet issued by the Leyland combined committee putting a socialist alternative to the cuts demanded by BL’s management.

Leyland’s Birmingham Longbridge was the world’s largest car plant in the 1960s, the centre of an empire employing 250,000 people and taking 40 per cent of the British car industry market. But it ran into financial difficulties in the 1970s and the company was bailed out by Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1975 — a move that would now be impossible because of EU legislation.

The unions’ plan was to fight for a continuation of mass volume car manufacturing as an alternative to job losses, arguing that if it succeeded it would be a “political victory,” proving that ordinary working-class people could run industry.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said Mr Robinson was a “stalwart of the movement” who was “unfairly maligned by the media” as he sought to find solutions to turn the car company around.

Midlands communist George Hickman called Mr Robinson a “tower of strength for shop stewards everywhere” and Graham Stevenson said communists active in Unite were mourning “their most distinguished mentor and guide.”

Former Communist Party industrial organiser Mick Costello described Mr Robinson as “an outstanding trade union leader” who was “a fighter and a thinker who also knew how to listen to people.” He explained that Leyland conspired with “Thatcher’s guru” industry secretary Sir Keith Joseph, who charged MI5 with gathering — and inventing — dirt as part of a witch hunt against Mr Robinson.

One Sunday newspaper printed notes concocted by one of the spies that were put across as minutes of a meeting of communist stewards at Longbridge. “To their credit, no other newspaper’s industrial reporters used it as they doubted what was, in fact, what these days is called ‘fake news’,” said Mr Costello.

Richard Hatcher speaking at the BTUC delegates Meeting Crisis in Social Services

Directions to Unite Office

Directions to Unite offices

Birmingham May Day Rally Gill Ogilvie GMB organizer speaking

Birmingham May Day Frank Keogh UNITE the Union speaking

Jodie Stevenson speaking at the Birmingham May Day Rally 2017

Zahid Nawaz from PCS Union speaking at the May Day Rally 2017 Birmingham

Anti-austerity Campaigners talking about defending services in Birmingham

Birmingham Trades Union Council 2017 May Day Rally 29th April 12:30 pm

 12.30 pm Saturday 29th April: committee rooms 3 and 4

Council House Victoria Square B1 1BB 

Speakers

         Frank Keogh,  UNITE Health sector

         Patrick Highton, Birmingham Keep NHS Public

         Stephen Brown, Musicians Union regional secretary

         Neil Vernon, formerly branch secretary Birmingham UCATT (now part of Unite)

         Gill Ogilvie, regional organiser GMB on school funding cuts

          Speaker from the Friends of the Birmingham Libraries

The speakers will discuss the crisis in the NHS, the massive cuts in funding for local schools leading to widespread redundancies of classroom assistants and teachers and the destruction of Birmingham’s library service. Neil will be speaking about the use of umbrella companies to exploit employees. There will be plenty of time for discussion from the floor. 

Refreshments will be provided and unions and political campaigns are invited to have stalls at the event.

For further details and to book a stall contact the Birmingham TUC secretary:

btucsec@hotmail.com

RMT in dispute with Railway employers on Guards and safety of train users