TRADE union voices had a strong presence at the Stop the War conference. Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT railworkers’ union, congratulated the coalition for building and sustaining such a broad campaign.
“It’s not just cabinet ministers who should be held to account,” he said. “Every single Labour MP should be questioned about the war and occupation.
“We should say, ‘If you support this illegal war on Iraq, then you can’t expect support from the trade union movement.’”
The conference voted to put a list of questions over the war to every candidate in the election, to publicise the results and to hold hustings over the war.
Keith Sonnet, deputy general secretary of the Unison union, said, “We have to campaign for troops out and to work with legitimate unions in Iraq. All out for 19 March!”
Speaking for the Communications Workers Union, Steve Bell explained how campaigning against the occupation goes hand in hand with solidarity for Iraqis trade unionists, rather than being opposed to it.
He said some people who supported the war were now trying to use the issue of solidarity to justify the occupation. “But what good is sending people second hand computers if you’re bombing them to pieces?” he asked. The clear and overwhelming message throughout the day was that the anti-war movement will not be thrown off course by the warmongers’ efforts to confuse the growing feeling against the occupation.