UK Trade Unions rally in solidarity: resounding support for Ukraine at TUC 2023

This past week at the 2023 UK TUC Congress, trade unions stood in solidarity with Ukraine in the face of the fascist russian invasion, passing a motion from the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.

The motion, moved by GMB, seconded by ASLEF and supported by the NUM, supports the immediate withdrawal of russian* forces from all Ukrainian territories occupied since 2014; Ukrainian unions’ calls for financial and practical aid from the UK to Ukraine; a peaceful end to the conflict that secures the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the support and self-determination of the Ukrainian people; the full restoration of labour rights in Ukraine and a socially-just reconstruction and redevelopment programme that embeds collective bargaining and rejects deregulation and privatisation; TUC work, and facilitation of affiliates’ engagement, with the main Ukrainian trade union centres (FPU/KVPU), and acknowledges the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.

Amidst the support for Ukraine, however, there was a minor pushback from the RMT, NEU, UCU and FBU. None supported the motion, with RMT, NEU and UCU choosing to abstain and FBU voting against, adding that they “do not think the escalation of war is in the interests of the russian or Ukrainian working class”. This is despite russia having carried out annexations, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine since 2014.

Regardless of this, it does not change that most of Britain’s trade union movement stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It recognises the need to stand up to fascism and put ideological differences aside when democracy is in peril.

Good on the trade union movement, Slava Ukraini!


*The Ukrainian government requests that all mentions of russia and the russian federation are written in lowercase, as capital letters denote respect, something which russia does not deserve.

* Jack Meredith is a Welsh Liberal Democrat member.

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  • Steve Trevethan 15th Sep '23 - 12:52pm

    Might it be both more accurate and helpful to avoid a binary structure when classifying governments?

    Might the current binary structure of “Democracy” vs. “Fascism” be inaccurate and causing simplistic “Either/Or” attitudes, thinking and behaviours which avoid/reduce opportunities for discussion and encourage murderous, sunk cost expenditures of life, limb, mental health and property?

    Might the attached, more detailed and graduated approach help us to be more realistic and able to reduce armed conflicts?

  • The Labour movement has always been a strong advocate of peace, but not at the cost of confronting aggression. In 1935, the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, was presented with the results of the Peace Ballot returned by 11 million voters.
    Winston Churchill in 1948 said the results meant Britons were “willing, and indeed resolved, to go to war in a righteous cause,” provided that all action was taken under the auspices of the League of Nations. Philip Noel-Baker later wrote it showed Britain “was prepared to stop Mussolini by armed force if that should be required.”
    The Conservative government did pay attention, and decided to use the League more in its foreign policy, especially in the crisis over Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia.
    The Italian invasion of Abyssinia (1935) and the events of the Spanish Civil War (1936- 1939) had led many on the Left to question if pacifism was the correct response to the use of force by Fascist Powers.
    By 1937, the Labour Party had abandoned its support for appeasement and was arguing for a more aggressive response. This encouraged the public to question the policy of appeasement.
    The Kristallnacht of November 1938, resulted in the death of a number of Jews and the destruction of property. It helped to turn public opinion in Britain against Hitler’s Germany.

  • Alex Macfie 15th Sep '23 - 5:03pm

    Actually capitalisation simply indicates a proper noun (i.e. a name), and implies no value judgement. It’s simply a grammatical rule. German capitalises all nouns; English only proper nouns. If we were to leave names uncapitalised because we don’t think the things they refer to deserve “respect”, then several of the things mentioned in Joe’s post above should probably not have initial capitals.

  • Zachary Adam Barker 15th Sep '23 - 7:39pm

    “Might the current binary structure of “Democracy” vs. “Fascism” be inaccurate and causing simplistic “Either/Or” attitudes, thinking and behaviours which avoid/reduce opportunities for discussion and encourage murderous, sunk cost expenditures of life, limb, mental health and property?”

    A deliberately loaded question set on a false premise.

    The Russian Government is acting in the manner of a Fascist power. And therefore should be opposed justifiably through providing all of the military aid Ukraine requires.

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