Anti-union laws

Unite prepares ground for unlawful action

Unite the union held its rules conference in Brighton this week.

About 500 delegates debated motions from sectors, branches, equalities committees and regions. 

Two key and contested debates were about the election of union officials and the union’s political structures and affiliation to the Labour Party. 

Unite members do not elect any paid officials other then the General Secretary. There were many different motions calling for the election of different types of officers by different constituencies. These motions all fell and the status quo prevailed.

Unite has deleted from its rules the caveat “so far as it may be lawful”. General Secretary Len McClusky made clear this was about the existing trade union laws and the Tories’ planned new attack on the right to strike.

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RMT AGM pledges to fight attacks

Author: 

Janine Booth, delegate from Central Line East branch

The Annual General Meeting of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union voted to back Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for Labour leader, fight the Tories’ attacks on trade union rights, and step up its work on equalities.

As well as committing to militant industrial struggles, delegates also voted unanimously for several emergency resolutions from branches opposing the tightening of anti-union laws promised in the Queen’s Speech. These included support for a national demonstration and rank-and-file conference this year.

The Annual General Meeting of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union voted to back Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for Labour leader, fight the Tories’ attacks on trade union rights, and step up its work on equalities.

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Mobilising for a right to strike

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

Both RMT and ASLEF’s tube strike ballots met the arbitrary and hypocritical thresholds the Tories plan to impose: both had turnouts of over 50%, and both had majorities of more than 40% of all those eligible to vote.

Activists in branches across unions have formed a “Right To Strike” mobilising committee to help coordinate grassroots activity.

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Right to strike!

Author: 

Gemma Short

Prior to Unison’s national delegates conference (16-19 June), Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis released a press statement about the Tories’ proposed anti-union laws. But neither his statement nor the conference itself resolved to do anything much about the biggest threat to union organisation in two decades.

The new laws would require a 50% turnout threshold in a ballot and an additional 40% yes vote requirement in “core public services” (health, education, transport and fire services). Essentially outlawing all national strikes.

We must campaign for positive demands — for a right to strike.

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Right To Strike!

Author: 

Gemma Short

The Tory's new anti-strike laws would require a 50% turnout threshold in a ballot and an additional 40% yes vote requirement in “core public services” (health, education, transport and fire services). Essentially outlawing all national strikes.

Fight new anti-union laws. Fight for a right to strike!

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Fight Tory attacks on our unions!

Author: 

Maria Exall, CWU and Campaign for Trade Union Freedom (personal capacity)

The first Conservative government for 18 years will introduce a Bill to beef up existing anti-trade union laws in the UK.

Whilst the proposed restrictions on strike action had been well signalled in advance, the inclusion of a change to union political funds was unexpected.

The Tories are demanding a 50% turnout threshold in a ballot and an additional 40% yes vote requirement in “core public services” (health, education, transport and fire services), They hope to make it impossible for unions to organise lawful strikes.

The first Conservative government for 18 years will introduce a Bill to beef up existing anti-trade union laws in the UK.

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On the streets against the new anti-strike laws!

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Editorial

The unions and the labour movement should launch a life-or-death campaign to stop the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws, starting with a mass street demonstration.

Britain already has “the most restrictive trade union laws anywhere in the western world”, as Tony Blair complacently told the Daily Mail in 1997.

Now the Tories plan to ban public service strikes unless the ballot majority for the strike comes to at least 40% of the workers balloted.

Only 24% of the electorate voted Tory on 7 May, and they think that’s enough to decide the government!

The unions and the labour movement should launch a life-or-death campaign to stop the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws, starting with a mass street demonstration.

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German rail strike shows the way

Author: 

Paul Cooper

A much needed reminder of the power of organised labour in a rich and advanced economy is currently being demonstrated in Germany.

Freight and passenger train drivers for Germany’s Deutsche Bahn recently completed the latest of their strikes over wages and conditions. Their confidence and determination is growing in what is already a 10 month-old dispute.

Freight and passenger train drivers for Germany’s Deutsche Bahn recently completed the latest of their strikes over wages and conditions. Their confidence and determination is growing in what is already a 10 month-old dispute.

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A government for the rich

Author: 

Ann Field

The Tories are committed to cutting public spending by £30 billion over the next four years. This will mean annual cuts twice the size of any year’s cuts over the past five years. Although they have not identified all their cuts it is already clear to some degree where the axe will fall.

Policies include debarring unemployed under-21s from claiming Housing Benefit and cutting the annual benefits cap — the maximum payable to any claimant, whatever their circumstances — from £26,000 to £23,000.

The first Tory government since 1997 to have an absolute majority in Parliament will rule on behalf of the rich, the powerful and the bigoted. It will target the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick, the working class, and the one force capable of defeating the Tories’ new laws: the trade union movement.

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Bob Carnegie tour of England, May 2015

Author: 

Gemma Short

Bob Carnegie, who has been at the heart of every major workers' struggle in Brisbane, Australia, for more than three decades, is coming to the UK to talk about his experiences and lessons for organising workers. Read more at the tour blog.

Bob Carnegie is coming to the UK to talk about his experiences and lessons for organising workers.

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