Are trade union activists on the ball when it comes to dealing with serious issues around discimination at the workplace and elsewhere?
That is of course a question that some of us often ask. The answer of course is not a simple one. Trade Union activists at the workplace and in the real world are people who give up their spare time and take a risk with their own personal lifes and their careers. There are many who will often criticise a rep for not doing one thing or another but these same people do not very often think about the amount of time and energy it requires for someone in that position to defend a member.
On the other hand I am aware of stories where organised TU outfits (lets call them branches) have taken their eye off the ball and have allowed (indirectly by remaining inactive) for a transgretion to develop and for a wrong not to be challenged. So whilst it is true to say that there isnt enough time in one day for say a branch to take on all the challenges and deal with them I am of the opinion that more has to be done to encourage the development and support of Self Organised Groups at the workplace.
I am aware of very large branches in London that do not, for example, have an established BWG or LGBT group. I was a member of one such branch recently (not Lambeth..) with more than 3,500 members which did not have SOG groups?? That to me is an astonishing ommission and a spectacular failure!!