The World at War: A Trade Union Issue
Trade unions have been central to the anti-war movement over the course of this century. Tens of thousands of trade unionists have marched against the invasion of Iraq and the occupation of Afghanistan. Unions like ASLEF and NATFHE (now part of UCU) backed the Stop the War Coalition from its formation, while a range of other unions have given it political and material support since. The TUC itself voted at Congress to support Stop the War.
Large numbers of union leaders spoke from our platform on the vast demonstration of February 15 2003, the twentieth anniversary of which is approaching. And significant industrial action took place in many workplaces on the day the Iraq invasion began.
This is not surprising. War has always been a working-class issue. The loss of lives and destruction of wealth which every war entails bear hardest on working-class communities. That is the case even with those wars which happen far away from our shores. So, unions have always stood for the peaceful resolution of international disputes.
Today there are new challenges. The war in Ukraine gives rise to important new issues which impact on working people directly and powerfully. At the same time, some unions are prioritising increasing military spending, despite the mounting economic crisis.
This pamphlet explores these issues with a view to rallying trade unionists behind the movement for peace, a movement which entwines as never before with the daily concerns of unions and their members.