Search This Blog

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Support Union Members' Democratic Right to Take Action to Defend Jobs

Socialist Party members who support TUSC were campaigning today in Clifton Street and Albany Road to scrap the anti trade union laws after another disgraceful decision banning workers from exercising their right to take industrial action. With no political party representing us, trade unions are the only thing standing between those who depend on public services and the main parties who plan to go further even than Thatcher did in slashing them to ribbons.

Hot on the heels of the second BA strike, postponed from its original date on the whim of a millionaire judge, RMT signallers and maintenance workers were due to take action next week to fight against their employers' plan to cut jobs. Network Rail wants to axe 1500 maintenance workers and are ripping up agreements with signal workers as a step towards cutting their jobs and worsening their working conditions. The result could easily be another Paddington, Hatfield or Potters' Bar.

But the courts have stepped in again. Unions are bound by so many requirements that defending services and jobs by taking industrial action legally is becoming impossible.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the first of Thatcher's anti-trade union laws and the fact that almost half that period has been spent under a Labour government demonstrates the character of that party today and the urgent need for a "Taff Vale Two" - a move by the trade unions to help found a party that represents ordinary working class people and trade unionists.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Assembly Members demonstrated the contempt their party has for trade unions by making a point of crossing PCS picketlines at the National Assembly. Centreforum, A Liberal Democrat think-tank, has effectively called for the expulsion of trade unions from national negotiations over pay, earning the condemnation of Unison, my trade union. And Plaid Cymru members in Caerphilly have embarrassed leaders of their party by withdrawing facilities for trade union reps in the Council in order to try and weaken their campaign against cutbacks.

It's often said that the trade union movement, without a political voice, is fighting with one hand tied behind its back. But, unless it bursts out of the legal constraints binding it today, it will face its toughest fight in living memory with both hands bound.

No comments:

Post a Comment