Saturday, November 27, 2010

EMI Hayes 1953



From the work inside our factory, and especially from the movement around redundancy and the wages campaign, in which our factory were the leaders in that part of West Middlesex, we have learned that it would "have been impossible for us to have achieved such a level of activity, to have so influenced the course of events in other factories, without the existence of a Communist Party branch which was recognised and known in the factory as a public force.

Inside our factory there are 100 shop stewards, of whom only eight are members of the Communist Party, yet invariably, on all major questions, the standpoint of the Shop Stewards Committee is a progressive one, and it was possible to win some 5,000 signatures in the factory on the demands against rearmament, for a Five Power Peace Pact and for the defeat of the Tory Government. It is obviously not just a question of voting strength, especially when you consider that the attendance at the fortnightly shop stewards' meeting is round about fifty. It is because the Party has become known through the public meetings it has conducted outside the factory, where the convenor is known as a Party member, who speaks for the Party outside and inside the factory.

That is the basis on which we have been able to make this contribution towards the broader movement on wages and redundancy. But we have now reached a stage for some time where we know that if the policy of the Tory Government is not to be more heavily and sharply felt in Hayes, there is one essential and necessary condition, and that is, the building up of the Communist Party.

Inside the factory we are proud of the contribution we have made over the past twelve months; but we recognise serious weaknesses in the way we have not faced up to the building of the Party. In twelve months, up to the annual meeting of our branch last May, we had increased our Party membership by 25 per cent.

This was in a period of a number of outstanding events, including the formation of an "Anti-Tory Committee" at the time of the elections in 1951, which the Shop Stewards Committee elected and which formulated its own points of policy, and spoke outside the factory along with the local candidates for Uxbridge and Hounslow on the policy of the Shop Stewards Committee.

The No. 1 Question

Since May 1952 we have only been able to increase membership from thirty-eight to forty-one inside the factory. Yet that period is one in which we have had tremendous opportunities and possibilities. The work of our, Party Branch, its activity, has not been on a lower level. On the contrary, it has been much higher; the Party Branch has issued leaflets, held more meetings, and the work of our Communist stewards has been improved. Yet in spite of this, we have not had the growth that we expected, and it is because we have always supposed that the question of Party building is the last thing instead of the first.

Frank Stanley World News & Views in May 1953

Note workforce at Hayes EMI about 6,000