Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Workers Union

Workers Union RulesPREFACE 1909
Trade Unionism has arrived at a state of development when a new departure is called for. For three-quarters of a century the Unions of Britain have been the agencies whereby the workers have endeavoured to improve their position.
The good work accomplished by them cannot be over-estimated, but with the rapid development of huge capitalistic monopolies, with the growth of Syndates and Trusts of an internationalic character, the Trade Unions are gradually losing the power they once had.
The limitations of sectional Trade Unionism, such as we have been familiar with, are observable both to the plain matter-of-fact workman and to the student of economics ; and even the Federation of existing Unions, good as this would be, would not very materially change matters for the better. The most reliable statistics show that of the seven millions of men, and three millions of women workers, only one and a half millions belong to the existing Unions.
This is wholly accounted for by the indifference of the workers to Trade Unionism. But a more important point still is the fact, every day more and more recognised, that the workers have allowed the capitalist class to monopolise political power, and have refused to use their Unions to fight their battles as workers on political as well as on ordinary Trade Union lines. Separate organisations for political purposes have been called into existence, but what is wanted is the full recognition that a genuine workers' organisation should be able, willing and determined to fight by all available means, and a Union finding itself called upon to fight the capitalists by strike, etc., should be equally ready to fight them by the right use of political machinery.
Again, it is in the highest degree necessary to break down the feeling of caste, all too prevalent between the various grades of workers classed as skilled and unskilled, and whilst an effective Union must be ready to deal specifically with
the necessities of any special section, great good will follow upon the consolidation of all Trade Union forces.
The Workers' Union, therefore, will carry out all the essential characteristics of a real live trade organisation, seeking to adjust wages, working hours, and other working conditions, wherever and whenever possible and desirable, by quiet negotiation, and if need be, and good sense justifies, to strike to enforce the same, but the Union will not rely chiefly upon such methods, but will and hereby does openly and unmistakably declare in favour of political organisation for
the enforcement through and by means of Parliament such measures as are deemed essential to help on the realization of a collectivist State.
The workers in every country in Europe are rapidly organising with the same object in view, and methods that may have served for the conditions previously in this country a generation ago will not serve now. The Workers' Union, therefore, is both a Trade Union and a political organisation on independent lines. It will form no alliances with orthodox political parties.
We hold to the principle that, whilst we declare clearly what our goal is, we shall at the same time concentrate attention upon a given number of measures most suitable to the times, and which may be added to by a Referendum of, the members. Politically, the objects of the Workers' Union are :—
The organisation of the workers for the purpose of raising the standard of life, and the ultimate realisation of an Industrial Commonwealth.
The irreducible minimum political programme of the Union is as follows :— .
1. The Eight Hours day.
2. Provision of work for all unemployed.
3. Raising the age when children shall be allowed to go to work to fourteen years.
4. State pensions for all.
5. Adult Suffrage,
The Union will not support any candidate who declines to
endorse and work for these measures. In the event of all candidates, in any constituency, accepting the above minimum programme, the Union will then press for the inclusion of the -Nationalisation of the Railways; and should this be accepted by all, the Union will then demand the Nationalisation of the Land and the means of Production, Distribution and Exchange.
By the vigorous advocacy of such principles, and the effective application of such a policy, we shall "be able to do much to stamp out poverty and to usher in the glorious time when all children, all women, and all men shall have an abundance of life's essentials, when all shall do their share of work, and become thereby entitled to the results thereof.
Workers Union President:Councillor Robert Morley (Iron-moulder from Halifax)
Workers Union General Secretary: Charles Duncan MP
Register Number 1157
Workers Union Head Office:
16 Agincourt Road, Hampstead, London N.W.
General fund (subscription rate) 3d per week
Entrance Fee 1/-
Strike Benefit 10/- per week
Sick Benefit 3d per week
Out of Work 3d per week

Robert Morley - Workers Union President was a Socialist and Iron-moulder from Halifax

George Kerr, Workers Union Scottish Organising Secretary elected as a Labour councillor for Cowlais ward, Glasgow in  a by election 13 January 1914 - address given as 33 Esmond Street (this could be his home, ILP or Workers union address). It was noted in Glasgow Herald 14 January 1914 that George Kerr had previously served three years as a councillor on Partick Town Council