Friday, 17 July 2015

Defending Trade Union Rights Despite Labour's Hypocrisy.

The UK Government’s plans to tighten rules on strike ballots and political donations have naturally triggered  a furious reaction.
The Trade Union Bill will require a turnout of at least half of members before a strike can take place.
If this is the case then as shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith reported
 “If the Tories were serious about seeing increases in turnout, they would allow trade unions to ballot their members in a modern way. This government is suggesting reforms to Parliament that will allow MPs to vote with computers and people already use secure online banking, so why on earth can’t trade union members cast their ballots online?”
There will be a further requirement that in key public services – such health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy – strike action must be endorsed by 40% of those eligible to vote.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government was delivering a “key commitment” from the Tory manifesto.
He said: 
“Trade unions have a constructive role to play in representing their members’ interests but our one nation government will balance their rights with those of working people and business. These changes are being introduced so that strikes only happen when a clear majority of those entitled to vote have done so and all other possibilities have been explored.”
This from a government  that received 36.9% of the vote on a 66.1% turnout 
Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:
 “This Bill is a deeply cynical and ideological attack on internationally recognised workers’ rights and civil liberties. If this becomes law then getting a pay rise or defending employment rights will become far harder for working people.
“Even when ballots meet the government’s new thresholds, employers would be able to try breaking strikes by bringing in agency workers. If ministers were really interested in improving workplace democracy they would commit to online balloting rather than forcing unions to use full postal votes which always reduces turnout.
“The new restrictions on facility time will also make it more much difficult for trade unions to solve problems at work before they escalate into disputes. This is not legislating to improve industrial relations or encourage better participation in union votes, it’s a party political attempt to make lawful action almost impossible – with no real consideration given to the consequences of that.”
 Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said her party

 “condemns in the strongest terms the latest assault on trade unions and the rights of working people by an ideologically-driven Tory Government.”She said: “Rights in the workplace were hard fought for and should be robustly defended. Such rights have been attacked by successive UK governments over several decades.
“The latest assault will further weaken the bargaining power of unions and their members. The UK has fewer public holidays, less favourable terms and conditions, lower trades union participation rates compared to many other EU states...
“The most equal societies are the most successful economies... We must resist attempts to dismantle this vital movement for social and economic good.”

One of the mist worrying parts of the Bill  is a clause where , employers would be able to try breaking strikes by bringing in agency workers..

Could this mean local Jobcentres sending unemployed people to Agencies where they can be used as Scab Labour and if they refused Sanctioning them ?

There has been much wrong with our Trade Unions as of late tier Ties with the Labour party have sen them giving  money and resources to a party that has  long despite  Owen Smith article in today's Wasting Mule  where  he  writes

Another key part of the Tories’ plan is to try and gag union members, by dictating the way trade unions are allowed to use members’ funds.
This is in an effort to make it increasingly difficult for trade unions to set aside money for political activism, like campaigning against the exploitation of workers by gang-masters and extremist movements like the English Defence League.
In order to run these kinds of campaigns, trade unions set aside money in political funds.
The use of the money from these funds is already subject, by law, to a vote by members, asking if they want to see it continue, while all trade unionists have the option to opt-out of the funds.
I find myself in agreement with Mr Smith except that of course he only approves of this because much of the political fund  goes to the Labour party.

Mr Smith shares a constituency Office with his AM counterpart  in the GMB regional  headquarters in Pontypridd  where posters adorn the building despite the Labour controlled  attacking the working conditions of its own members.

But this is not a reason to accept the Tories ideological atack on the Unions  it is for the members to reform the Unions not the government.

We will see a lot of hypocrisy from the Red Tories over the coming months on the lines of Owen Smiths article but because Labour  interest is more about its own fiances rather than workers rights. but we need to put aside out hostility to the Red Tory-TUC links and fight this bill.

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