(en)Liverpool Dockers Celebrate No Vote

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Fri, 24 Oct 1997 11:12:58 +0000

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Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 16:22:47 +0100 (BST) From: LabourNet <chrisbailey@gn.apc.org> Subject: Liverpool picket celebrates 69% NO vote

In the midst of an exhuberant picket celebrating the 69% NO vote by former Mersey Docks men including Coastal Container employees, the policewoman blundered. She instructed a steward to get off the grass and stop shouting at scabs behind the perimeter fence. A few seconds later, 50 pickets had crossed the road to join their colleague and an Inspector told his junior officer to move away. "So now you're for the chop," Women of the Waterfront told her, "are you going to take the 28,000?" The Inspector had his kid gloves on and no wonder. Half the British media were watching.

A few minutes later both sides of the dock road fell silent and men doffed their caps as a funeral cortege passed. Inside the hearse lay the body of a former dock worker who had supported the men in dispute.

The ballot result broke on the 10 a.m. news. Soon BBC Radio Merseyside was running a phone in. A sacked docker formerly employed on the Norse Irish terminal was arguing with the talk show host Roger Phillips, who reported a statement from Bill Morris regretting that as the company was withdrawing its offer as of Friday 24 October, a negotiated settlement was not possible. "Well Roger, a few years ago you were on the picket line and you didn't want your colleagues to cross did you?" "That was different. We weren't out over money, it was a matter of principle." "And what do you think this is? Aren't there any principles when it comes to dockers? We're not out for money!" Suddenly Roger switched to an urgent news flash. A prepared statement from Mersey Docks Operations Director Peter Jones was read out. "...in good faith the Company will stand by its offer of payment of up to 28,000, to all of the individuals who accept it by 17:00 hrs on Monday 27th October." Soon Roger Phillips had Jones on the line and asked him what would stop men from claiming the money and going back on the picket line. "We trust our former employees," Jones replied.

By the afternoon, it emerged that the company would send every former employee a form to sign. If they accepted the offer, they would get 28,000.

So much for democracy. They sprung the secret ballot and went through the Electoral Reform Ballot Services. 69% rejected the offer on a 91% turnout. Now there's going to be a re-run, without the ERBS!

A few days ago, it was "take it or leave it", but now Mersey Docks is literally begging men to take the money. The smell of panic is overpowering.

LabourNet Report http://www.labournet.org.uk

Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 13:27:15 +0100 (BST) From: LabourNet <chrisbailey@gn.apc.org Subject: Liverpool dockers vote "NO!!"

After more than two years on strike, the heroic Liverpool dockers have once again confirmed their resolve to stand by trade union principles. In the latest secret ballot forced on them by Bill Morris, General Secretary of the TGWU, they have again voted overwhelmingly against taking the 28,000 pound bribes to abandon the Torside workers and give up the fight for all their jobs.

Chris Bailey LabourNet

*********** BEGIN FORWARDED MESSAGE ***********

Electoral Reform Ballot Services

Bill Morris General Secretary Transport and General Workers Union Transport House Palace Street Victoria London SW1E 5JD

23 October 1997

Dear Mr. Morris


Our report of voting for the above ballot, which closed on Wednesday 22nd October 1997, is as follows:


Number of ballot papers distributed 329 Number of duplicate ballot papers distributed 11 Number of ballot papers returned 316 Number of invalid ballot papers (blank/spoilt/unsigned declaration) 6 Thus, total number of valid ballot papers to be counted 310 Rate of participation 91%

Result The question put to the membership was as follows:


Number voting YES 97 (31% of valid vote) Number voting NO 213 (69% of valid vote)

The ballot papers will be stored by ERBS for a period of twelve months.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Murphy Ballot Adviser Electoral Reform Ballot Services

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