National Education Union conference anti-union laws motion and fringe meeting (17 April)

Update: the motion was passed and the fringe meeting was very good. We hope to publish more information and speeches from the meeting soon.

On Wednesday 17 April the first conference of the National Education Union, formed out of a merger of other teaching unions, will debate a motion calling for it to campaign for repeal of all anti-union laws, submitted by supporters of the Free Our Unions campaign. See below for the text.

Comrades are also holding a fringe meeting (“Labour must scrap all the anti-union laws”) that evening:

6.30pm, Wednesday 17 April
The Liverpool, 14 James Street, Liverpool L2 7PQ

Organised by a range of NEU local associations
Speakers: Kevin Courtney, Joint NEU General Secretary; Mark Rowe, Secretary North West FBU; Kirstie Paton, NEU rep at John Roan School (striking against academisation) and NEU National Executive; a Merseyrail driver; Patrick Murphy Leeds NEU District Secretary and NEU National Executive
Chair: Cate Murphy, Liverpool Riverside CLP Secretary
Facebook event

Motion to NEU conference: Abolish the anti-union laws

Submitted by Leeds

Conference notes
1. The large raft of legislation passed by Tory governments between 1980 and 2016 aimed at restricting legitimate trade union action.
2. The Tory laws have made solidarity strikes illegal and prevent unions taking political strike action. These laws prevent us striking to defend the NHS and prevent stronger groups of workers helping less well-organised workers.
3. The anti-union laws prevent effective picketing.
4. The Tory laws prevent unions taking prompt action involving us in long-drawn out, cumbersome balloting procedures.
5. The 2016 Trade Union Act stipulates high thresholds for turn-outs and ‘Yes’ votes in strike ballots and gives the state new powers to interfere in internal union affairs.
6. Unions which breach these laws can be liable to massive fines.

Conference further notes
1. Tony Blair’s New Labour government was proud to retain the anti-union laws.
2. Labour’s 2018 conference once again passed policy to abolish the anti-union laws: “Labour will form a radical government; taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.”
3. The Union membership has an immediate, pressing interest in seeing all the Tory anti-union laws abolished and replaced with a positive set of rights for workers: the righ to join an effective trade union, the rights to picket and strike.

Conference instructs the National Executive to
a. Work closely with the Labour leadership to see that Labour abolishes all the Tory anti-union laws.
b. Organise and lead vocal and active campaigning on this issue, explaining to our members, the wider movement and all workers why this is such a crucial demand; and encouraging our local organisations to campaign with other unions and local Labour Parties.

Amendment submitted by Southwark

Add new point at end of motion
c. Campaign for the labour movement to organise support for trade unionists taking action in defiance of the anti-union laws.

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