Right to Reply By Patrick Harrington National Executive, Solidarity Trade Union
This is the text of an article published by The Voice newspaper on February 13, 2006. It was written in response to an earlier article critical of the Solidarity Trade Union.
I was very interested to read your report on the formation of the new Solidarity Trade Union (‘BNP’s Union Shock’, The Voice, February 6). I would like to reply to the allegations you make against us.
First, our constitution makes it clear that people of all religious faiths are welcome in our union. Second, our union welcomes people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
It is a union which does not vet its members on racial, religious or political grounds. We allow members of the BNP to join, just as we do Greens, Communists, Socialists, the apolitical or anyone else. We take an inclusive libertarian view. Other unions may wish to expel people on political grounds, but we take a different view.
I would expect the certification officer to thoroughly examine any application for certification, including our own. It is his job to do this in a fair and impartial way without preconceptions or prejudices. The calls by activists for certification to be refused without good reason are unreasonable and unlikely to have any effect on the process.
It is quite true that I held an executive position in the National Front. It is also true that I voted to disband the organisation over 15 years ago.
Third Way, which I helped form in 1990, advocates harmonious relationships between all communities. Third Way welcomes the vibrant contribution that this variety brings but we are also aware that there can be friction between communities.
We must be honest about these difficulties and work to solve problems together in a spirit of unity. Third Way policy is very different from that of the BNP which we have stood against in elections.
Bill Morris oftens says things with which I agree. On the subject of Solidarity, however he will be proved wrong. Solidarity is already recruiting well. We are clear in our opposition to exporting jobs – a threat to all workers. We will militantly defend the rights of Solidarity members. That is not to say that we have given up on those who are not currently in any Union. To the contrary, we actively seek to recruit them and organise them to defend their rights in the workplace.