An effective, credible and principled opposition has never been needed more. The Cameron Government have resumed their assault on working people in the Commons this week.
The Trade Union Bill seeks to remove the democratic rights of working people and has been condemned by human rights organisations including Liberty, Amnesty International UK and the British Institute of Human Rights.
New ballot thresholds effectively remove the right to strike. In the limited circumstances when they are achieved the Government will use agency workers to break strikes, in contravention of International Labour Organisation rules. Continue reading
Liberty, the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Amnesty International UK yesterday published a joint statement condemning proposals in the Government’s forthcoming Trade Union Bill:
The government’s plans to significantly restrict trade union rights – set out in the Trade Union Bill – represent a major attack on civil liberties in the UK.
By placing more legal hurdles in the way of unions organising strike action, the Trade Union Bill will undermine ordinary people’s ability to organise together to protect their jobs, livelihoods and the quality of their working lives. Continue reading
Strike action, fox hunting, the BBC, Europe, migrant benefits – never underestimate the Tory capacity to identify things that aren’t problems and then attack them. The number of days lost to strike action is on average less than a tenth of what it was during the 1980s. It’s not even as though strikes are constant – and certainly workers themselves are reluctant to strike because they themselves suffer the most – or have an enormous impact on productivity nowadays. Of far greater impact is the UK’s under-investment in skills, which is something that unions want to work with the government to fix. But the government’s latest proposals will upset the balance between employers and workers, tilting it much too far in employers’ favour and many of the proposals will make it far harder to resolve disputes fairly. Yet good employers know that the best way to resolve problems at work is to sit down with workers and talk it through, trying to find a compromise, rather than using statutory power to ride roughshod over workers’ rights to impose authority by default. Continue reading
Trade unionists met at the NUT’s Mander Hall in central London last week, united in their fury about Tory attacks on their civil liberties.
What is at stake is an attempt to silence the trade union political voice and to emasculate its industrial power. Neither will succeed — trade unions are too important and their support too strong. A bloody battle of wills is about to unfold.
From the first British legislation against collective bargaining in 1349, we have had to fight for our rights — against the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800, not repealed until 1824; against the judges to achieve the Trade Union Act of 1871; and against the judges again to pass the Trades Disputes Act 1906 (a struggle which was instrumental in forming the Labour Party). Continue reading
The Tory MP, Douglas Carswell, noted that Graham Allen MP described tomorrow’s Lobbying Bill as a “dog’s breakfast”. But, Carswell added, “he is wrong of course. Far more thought has gone into pet nutrition than into this Bill”. In fact, Carswell is himself wrong. No political party could, without great thought and ingenuity, introduce a Lobbying Bill which will have no impact whatever on lobbying, but which will indulge their favourite sport of bashing the unions, which has nothing to do with lobbying.
This has been a sleaze-ridden government. Tory party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas was secretly recorded offering access to government in return for large donations. Members of the government attended invitation-only events organised by the Chemistry Club, with the company paying up to £1,800 a head to meet ministers, senior government advisers and MPs at a series of events. Political lobbyists were paid thousands of pounds to help broker a meeting with Liam Fox through Adam Werrity. Continue reading