Union Reps Threaten Immediate Direct Action Over No-Deal Brexit Suspension Of Parliament

"Across the labour movement, the mood is rising."

The grassroots trade union movement is in revolt over Boris Johnson’s bombshell decision to shut down parliament in the face of a no-deal Brexit.

More than 100 leading reps have broken ranks with union bosses to argue for immediate direct action “despite legal restrictions” placed on their organisations.

A joint statement signed by 110 reps, in a personal not an official capacity, has been shared with HuffPost UK.

One trade union source signalled the move could herald mass civil disobedience, wildcat strikes and stoppages.

The reps, whose membership spans Unite, NEU, GMB, Unison and other unions, promise to “urgently mobilise direct action, including protests, strikes, and occupations”.

It comes after the prime minister’s shock decision to prorogue parliament between September 9 and October 14, sparking fears remain-backing MPs are being silenced as the country heads towards a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Protestors from Another Europe is Possible outside the Houses of Parliament, London, to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily closing down the Commons from the second week of September until October 14 when there will be a Queen's Speech to open a new session of Parliament.
Protestors from Another Europe is Possible outside the Houses of Parliament, London, to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily closing down the Commons from the second week of September until October 14 when there will be a Queen's Speech to open a new session of Parliament.
PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of protestors flooded the streets around Westminster on Wednesday night chanting “stop the coup” after news spread that the Queen had consented to the prorogation.

One trade union source told HuffPost UK: “Boris’ Brexit plans are a massive attack on workers and working class people.

“Across the labour movement, the mood is rising. If there is a mass movement of civil disobedience, there is no reason why we shouldn’t see wildcat strikes and stoppages.”

Meanwhile, the grassroots left-wing campaign Momentum said it would support protests in Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield and York on Saturday.

National coordinator Laura Parker has said she’ll “join an occupation of parliament” and is encouraging Momentum backers to block bridges and roads.

“Eton educated, millionaire Boris Johnson is stealing our democracy so he can sell off our NHS to big US corporations in a no deal, Trump first Brexit,” she said.

She added: “There are thousands of us who will join an occupation of parliament and block the roads before we let Johnson close the doors on democracy.

“Our message to Johnson is this: if you steal our democracy, we’ll shut down the streets.”

A further demonstration in London on Tuesday September 3 when parliament returns is also planned.

Trade union reps’ statement in full:

“As workers and trade union activists, we oppose Boris Johnson’s attempted coup and sabotage of democracy.

“A no-deal Brexit will wreck working-class living standards and trash migrants’ rights. For an Etonian millionaire, elected by only a tiny handful of Tory activists, to force this through by asking our unelected head of state to suspend parliament is an affront to democracy and a lurch towards authoritarian nationalism.

“Despite legal restrictions, we believe our unions, the Labour Party, and the whole working-class movement must urgently mobilise direct action, including protests, strikes, and occupations, in opposition to this development. We commit to arguing for this within our unions.”

Full list of signatories

  1. John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary, PCS union

  2. Patrick Murphy, National Executive Committee, NEU

  3. Daniel Randall, Assistant Chair, RMT Bakerloo Line branch

  4. Simon Murch, NEU National Executive Committee and Joint Sheffield District & Branch Secretary

  5. Riccardo La Torre, Eastern Region FBU Secretary

  6. Mark Boothroyd, Joint Branch Secretary, Unite, Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital Branch

  7. Henry Chango-Lopes, President, IWGB

  8. Karam Bales, National Executive Committee, NEU

  9. Ruth Cashman, Joint Branch Secretary, Lambeth UNISON

  10. Simon Hannah, Joint Branch Secretary, Lambeth UNISON

  11. Murray Sackwild NEU National Executive; West Essex District NEU General Secretary; Essex Branch NEU Deputy Secretary.

  12. Nadia Whittome, Nottingham GMB

  13. Tom Harrington, Education Officer, IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch

  14. Zack Murrell-Dowson, Treasurer, Bristol Couriers’ Network, IWGB

  15. Andrew Berry, Islington UNISON

  16. Yousaf Hassan, Waltham Forest UNISON

  17. Dan Jeffery, Lambeth UNISON

  18. Tracy McGuire, NEU Darlington.

  19. Michelle Watts, NEU Workplace Rep

  20. Joshua Lovell, Cambridge UCU

  21. Pete Gillard, Unite

  22. Darren Cogavin, UCU Workplace Rep

  23. Chris Bright, Islington UNISON

  24. Tony Harrison, President, Oldham NEU.

  25. Mandy Hudson Ealing NEU

  26. Alex Blenkhorn, UNISON Workplace Steward

  27. Ian Townson, Lambeth & Southwark Unite Community.

  28. Rob Marsden, Leicester UNISON Health

  29. Alena Ivanova, Unite

  30. John Medhurst, London GMB member

  31. Tom Harris, PCS workplace rep.

  32. Louis Bayman Southampton Uni UCU

  33. Len Arthur UCU retired member

  34. Andrew Coates, Chair Unite LE/1860 (Suffolk)

  35. Janine Booth, RMT Piccadilly & District West Branch, Trade Union Liaison Officer Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP

  36. Christie Neary, NEU

  37. Tracy McGuire, Darlington NEU

  38. Lisa Crane, Birmingham NEU

  39. Alison Treacher, Secretary, Unite, Greater Manchester Social Action Branch NW389

  40. Jamie Green, Membership Officer & Steward, UNISON at LSE

  41. Sam Greenwood, Branch Labour Link officer, Wakefield District UNISON

  42. Matthias Kispert, IWGB

  43. David Ball, workplace rep, Barnet Unison & Barnet NEU

  44. Pat Markey, Secretary, Northampton District NEU

  45. Kieran Miles, Unite

  46. Stephen Wood, Night Tube Officer, Finsbury Park RMT

  47. Charlie Hore, UNISON.

  48. Sue Sparks, Unite

  49. Maisie Sanders, Unite

  50. Kelly Rogers, United Voices of the World union

  51. Mike Thompson, Unite workplace rep

  52. Dave Roberts, Leicester Unison

  53. Brian Cairns, Wandsworth NEU Officer

  54. Benj Eckford, GMB

  55. Hazel Croft, Unison

  56. George Buskell, Unite

  57. Caroline Powls Unison

  58. Gill George, Unite

  59. John Stuttle, Father of the Unite chapel at the Guardian and Observer, Political Officer, Unite National Publishing and Media Branch

  60. Susan Pashkoff, Chair, East London Unite Community

  61. Amanda Bentham, workplace rep, Tower Hamlets NEU

  62. Daniel Davison-Vecchione, Cambridge UCU

  63. James Doig, workplace rep, NEU

  64. Tim Cooper, Nottingham Unite Community

  65. Belinda Washington, NEU & Unite

  66. Kevin Saint, Unite

  67. Martin Goodsell, Branch Secretary, East London Unite Community

  68. Tim Martin, UCU

  69. Gary Whiting, Branch Chair, Lambeth UNISON

  70. Steve Eason, NUJ

  71. Nik Barstow, Unite Greater Manchester Social Action Branch & Trafford TUC

  72. Roland Rance, Treasurer, East London Unite Community

  73. Robin Starey, Unite

  74. Duncan Robinson, NEU

  75. Andy Warren, PCS DWP London Region Young Members’ officer

  76. Dave Parks, Devon County UNISON

  77. Dave Kirk, Unite

  78. Nalini Amichund, Workplace Rep, Croydon NEU

  79. Bob Sutton, Unite Construction

  80. Debbie Brown, Swindon NEU

  81. Fiona Ogilvie, Unison

  82. Suzanne Gannon, NEU

  83. Gareth Murphy, Branch Secretary, Camden Unite Community Camden

  84. Alison Lord, UCU

  85. Gill McCall, Unite Community

  86. Paul O’Brien, Unite Community

  87. Jeanette Fletcher, Unite Community

  88. Ian Fletcher, Unite Community

  89. Sam Gisagara, Equalities Officer, Camden Unite Community

  90. Vino Sangarapillai, Camden UNISON

  91. Terry Clarke, UCU

  92. Roderick Cobley, Unite

  93. Neil Rogall, UCU

  94. Roger Welch, UCU

  95. Richard Brenner, Unite

  96. Fran Springfield, Lambeth UNISON

  97. Roberto Mozzachiodi, UCU

  98. Anne Cooper, Lambeth Unite Community

  99. Juliet Sherratt, NEU

  100. Jenny Cooper, Brent NEU

  101. Jon Rogers, Lambeth UNISON

  102. Lucy Cox, NEU

  103. Linda Sayle, Camden Unite Community

  104. Claudia Ferreira, Camden Unite Community

  105. Andrea Egan, Bolton UNISON

  106. Paul Renny, Schools Convenor, Haringey UNISON

  107. Ryan Hebbs, Branch Political officer, Enfield GMB

  108. Craig Farlow, Unite

  109. Dan Rawnsley, Sheffield NEU

  110. Steven Carver, Tower Hamlets Unite Community