It is deeply disappointing that throughout the long dispute the leadership of the TGWU have offered no active support, other than financial contributions from the hardship fund. The Labour government, despite containing MPs and ministers with TGWU links, also did nothing to bring about a fair settlement for the men locked out by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Clearly the Labour Party really is "the party of business" and one has to ask why trade unions bother to carry on giving it money.
The dockers' dispute was not the last fling of an outdated militancy as the union "modernisers" have alleged but a conflict which challenged the notion that workers are powerless in the face of global capitalism. The Liverpool dockers have made a brave decision to end their action in a united fashion (report, 27 January) and I applaud the sacrifices they have made in defence of basic trade union principles.