10 June 2020 | UK NEWS
The Shadow Education Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, instructed a collection of trade union leaders to “train up” members and “politically educate” them during a conference call last week.
The conference call, seen by Wolves, was organised by the National Education Union and attended by:
- Rebecca Long-Bailey (Shadow Education Secretary)
- Amanda Martin (NEU President, host)
- Kevin Courtney (NEU Joint General Secretary)
- Mick Cash (RMT General Secretary)
- Sarah Woolley (BFAWU General Secretary)
- Mark Serwotka (PCS General Secretary)
- John McDonnell (former Shadow Chancellor)
- Lord Hendy QC (Labour Peer)
- Laura Pidcock (People’s Assembly National Secretary and former Labour MP)
While speaking on the call, Ms Long-Bailey said: “We’ve got to make sure that, right across the trade union movement, whatever our issues, we’re there at each other’s backs.
“We’ve also got to make sure that all of those people that Laura [Pidcock] mentioned, that have been politicised in a way that they’ve never been politicised before, they become members of a trade union and then our trade unions train them up and politically educate them.
“I think we saw 10,000 members or thereabouts join the NEU in the last few weeks… that’s the scale of the stirring that we’re seeing right within our communities, and we’ve got to make sure that those people are equipped with the tools to make that change happen that they want to see.”
UPDATE on 14 June: The relevant footage that this article refers to has now been published by The Express and can be watched here:
This is the latest instalment we have heard of far-left activists and politicians using the neutral-sounding phrase “political education” to refer to supporting the Labour Party. We first began covering this in April.
Also during the call, Mark Serwotka of the PCS said: “Let me say clearly, if Jeremy Corbyn had won that election in December, thousands of people would be alive today who have died because of the ineptitude of this Government. That was the scale of what happened in the December election.
“So whilst I want the Government to go, the most effective thing we can do, I think, is to fight the Government when it is attacking us. Whether that’s for our safety, or whether it’s over the pay freeze that’s coming or the redundancies that are coming, a united trade union and Labour movement can fight this Government and that’s the way, ultimately, to get something better.”
It comes as the latest in a string of events indicating that there is, and will continue to be, co-ordinated action by trade union groups, supported by Opposition MPs, to counter the Government’s attempts to restart both the economy and vital public services as the lockdown is eased.
On that score, Lord Hendy QC cited from four regulations that he said trade unions should be calling upon when insisting that members should not yet return to work, or should be demanding PPE across the board before doing so. These were:
- The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Finally, and on a different note, the conference call took place on the evening of Wednesday 3rd June, which was the day of the first violent Black Lives Matter protest in London, leaving elements of cultural heritage defaced and injuring police officers.
Responding to this, John McDonnell appeared to endorse the actions they took, saying: “I don’t think we should have any speaker, really, without actually acknowledging our support for the Black Lives Matter campaign … [I] just commend the young people who’ve been out demonstrating today on that particular issue to highlight it.”
NEU President Amanda Martin was nodding in agreement. McDonnell has been known to voice support for disruptive protest action in the past.
We will continue to bring you updates on the far-left’s “political education” efforts, along with ongoing trade union co-ordination to resist the re-opening of society, as we receive them.