Anti-union laws

Industrial news in brief Matthew Wed, 06/04/2014 - 11:53

Doncaster Care UK workers struck for 14 days in May in a fight against a 50% cuts in wages and massive reductions in sick pay.

A strike committee has now been formed for the 80 out of 120 rank-and-file Unison members who have refused to accept these conditions

Cameron says Tory 2015 manifesto will include new anti-strike laws

Submitted by AWL on 13 May, 2014 - 5:54

David Cameron has threatened new anti-union laws to make it harder for unions to call lawful strikes.

Cameron said: “When strikes are going to take place that are hugely disruptive to other people’s lives they should at least have the support of a good share of the members of that trade union.” He is reported to be considering a proposal from London mayor Boris Johnson that strike ballots must secure an absolute majority, rather than just a majority of those voting, to provide a mandate for legal strike action.

Australian labour on back foot

Submitted by Matthew on 12 March, 2014 - 10:39

Australia’s right-wing prime minister Tony Abbott has called for a Royal Commission into union “corruption”, as a way of paving the way for new anti-union laws, which he can’t introduce straight off because he lacks a majority in the Senate (upper house).

The comment by former Labor minister and former ACTU [Australian TUC] president Martin Ferguson on Abbott’s anti-union drive focuses some of the problems in the labour movement’s response.

The Scab as Hero: The Miners Strike, 1984-5

Submitted by dalcassian on 11 March, 2014 - 5:55

"BY THEIR heroes ye shall know them... for in the individuals whom they exalt and glorify and hold up to the youth as example every class and every movement unfailingly reveals its standards of worth, its morality, its very soul.

Thus, the communist workers of Germany glorified the name of the courageous and incorruptible Liebknecht who sacrificed his life in battle for a great cause. The degenerate Nazis countered with the dedication of their official hymn to Horst Wessel the pimp who was killed in a brawl...

The Year of the Heroic Scab: The Miners Strike, 1984-5

Submitted by dalcassian on 11 March, 2014 - 5:55

"BY THEIR heroes ye shall know them... for in the individuals whom they exalt and glorify and hold up to the youth as example every class and every movement unfailingly reveals its standards of worth, its morality, its very soul.

Thus, the communist workers of Germany glorified the name of the courageous and incorruptible Liebknecht who sacrificed his life in battle for a great cause. The degenerate Nazis countered with the dedication of their official hymn to Horst Wessel the pimp who was killed in a brawl...

Tories plan new anti-union laws

Submitted by Matthew on 19 November, 2013 - 7:55

The so-called review of industrial relations announced by the Tories on 17 November is a build-up for new attacks on the right of trade unions to take effective action to defend their members. It is also another stage in the Tory campaign against union-Labour links.

As a manufactured pretext for the review, the Tories have latched on to Unite’s “leverage” tactics, especially its use of those tactics during its recent dispute with Ineos in Grangemouth.

The role of leverage

Submitted by AWL on 19 November, 2013 - 12:04

We continue our discussion of the lessons of the Grangemouth defeat. Here, a contribution from Mark Best discusses how Unite’s “Organising and Leverage Department” can help win disputes.


Football pundits are fond of pointing out that it is not so much the defeat itself that teaches you anything meaningful about a team, but how they react to it in the matches that follow. Much the same could be said about Unite and the left following Grangemouth.

High Court blow for unions

Submitted by AWL on 19 August, 2013 - 3:43

A High Court Judge has ruled that two of the actions in an RMT campaign of industrial action "short of a strike" at East Midlands Trains are unlawful, as they technically compromise strike action and are therefore not covered by the union's ballot for action short.

RMT balloted its East Midlands Trains members for the action in a dispute over a range of issues relating to major upgrade work at Nottingham station. As part of the action, members refused to work various turns and duties outside their agreed rosters - effectively a form of "work to rule".

"Fellow workers, comrades... we won!" Bob Carnegie charges dropped!

Submitted by AWL on 15 August, 2013 - 9:16

On Friday 16 August, contempt of court charges were dropped against Bob Carnegie, the Workers' Liberty Australia member and union activist prosecuted for assisting a construction strike in Brisbane in August-October 2012.

2,000 construction workers stopped work to attend a solidarity demonstration at the Federal Court in Brisbane, with around 100 cramming into the courtroom and erupting into applause when the judge announced the verdict.

He ruled that the terms of construction company Abigroup's injunction, aimed at keeping Bob away from the construction site, were not sufficiently clear.

Emerging from court, Bob said: "Fellow workers, comrades, case dismissed. We won."

The fight to defend Bob is not entirely over, as he still faces a civil case brought against him by Abigroup, but today's win a huge step forward and signal to bullying bosses that they cannot intimidate activists out of building solidarity with workers' struggles.