By a conference delegate
Thanks to the model motions promoted by The Clarion, it seems that Labour Party conference will today take a major step forward on the question of workers’ and trade union rights.
Not everything we wanted has got in – it seems that Labour officials were reluctant to have a explicit reference to restoring the right to solidarity and political strikes, though in effect that is what the text says: “repeal the TU Act and anti-union laws introduced in the 1980s and 90s”. In fact in some respects it goes further than the motion passed in 2015 (see here) which did not refer to the Thatcher/Major anti-union laws after explicit opposition to them was removed in that year’s composite.
Well done to the delegate from Charnwood CLP, who played a key role in making this happen!
Some quotes from the final composited motion, much of it including the most radical parts from the text we promoted, are below. For the full motion, see the document here (pp13-14). For all the motions submitted on this issue, which include good formulations to fight for in the future, see here (p101 on).
If the motion passes, Labour policy will now say:
“repeal the TU Act and anti-union laws introduced in the 1980s and 90s” (2017)
“legislate for strong rights to unionise, win recognition and collective bargaining, strike, picket and take solidarity action” (2015)
It will also refer to the need for unions to be “freed from legal shackles” and for workers to have an “effective right to strike” (2017).
We must fight to make sure the party puts all this into practice.
From Composite 4: Workers’ rights
“Notes: on 4th September, the first ever McDonalds strike in Britain, in Cambridge and Crayford: previously un-unionised workers organising into a union demanding £10ph, with guaranteed secure hours and union recognition… A victory at McDonalds for BFAWU members would be a victory for the whole trade union movement…
“The ongoing, year-long struggle by Picturehouse cinema workers (part of Cineworld) to win the Living Wage, decent maternity and sick pay, and union recognition.
“Conference opposes the cynical practice of bogus self-employment which denies workers employment rights including the minimum wage, holidays and sick pay and enables companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax. Proper, proactive enforcement of all employment rights, through higher prioritisation and increased Government funding, is needed to stop companies ignoring their statutory obligations and protect workers…
“Conference recognises the world of work is a key political issue and calls on Labour and affiliated unions to develop a joint campaign against insecure work, promoting trade unions and the action Labour will take, and encourage CLPs and MPs to support local action by workers.
“Our manifesto rightly said: the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is collectively through a union. Strong unions, freed from legal shackles and bolstered by positive legal rights, will be key to tackling poverty, insecurity and inequality, transforming society and creating an economy that works for the many, not the few. For unions to be effective, workers need an effective right to strike.
“Conference welcomes the vision Labour offered to workers in the General Election and will build on this including commitments to:
• improve enforcement of the National Minimum Wage…
• pursue policies for £10ph living wage and scrapping zero hours contracts…
• introduce a statutory right to contracts that reflect the hours a person normally works…
• support trade unions taking action against insecure work
• repeal the TU Act and anti-union laws introduced in the 1980s and 90s
• introduce a strong legal charter of workers’ rights to unionise, win recognition and collective bargaining
• use devolution and local government to demonstrate Labour’s commitment and determination to improving job security
• promote trade union rights, access to workplaces and collective bargaining”
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