Free Our Unions motions and fringe at Fire Brigades Union conference

UPDATE: FBU conference passed the Suffolk motion unanimously (the Staffordshire one was withdrawn in its favour), making the FBU the first really national union to endorse the campaign. The fringe meeting was excellent. Reports soon.

We have been working with activists in the Fire Brigades Union on the Free Our Unions campaign to repeal the anti-union laws. Two motions supporting the campaign have been submitted to the FBU conference (15-17 May, Blackpool) – see below.

There will also be a Free Our Unions fringe meeting at the conference on Wednesday 15 May, co-sponsored by the Eastern and West Midlands regions of the FBU, with the following speakers: FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, FBU Scottish Regional Secretary Denise Christie, Clarion editor Sacha Ismail, Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group, and climate striker Patrick Wakefield. Chair: Cameron Matthews, FBU Eastern Region Chair and National BME Committee Chair.

Free Our Unions – Repeal the Anti-Union Laws

This Conference notes that the anti-trade union laws – not just the 2016 Trade Union Act, but multiple laws going back to 1980 – continually undermine workers’ ability to organise and campaign. They mean our movement is fighting the challenges of low pay, insecurity and erosion of hard-won terms and conditions with our hands tied behind our backs.

This Conference also notes that in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Labour Party Conference voted for clear policy to repeal all the anti-union laws and replace them with strong legal rights for workers and unions, including strong rights to strike and picket. However, this has not yet fed through into the party’s public campaigning.

Conference welcomes the Free our Unions campaign and associated statement for Labour to implement this policy that has been launched by a range of trade union branches and organisations, coordinated by The Clarion magazine. It is absolutely crucial for our movement to ensure the next Labour Government acts quickly and decisively on this and that the trade union movement hold them to account on this.

Therefore Conference demands that the Executive Council support this campaign and;
• sign the Clarion Free Our Unions statement for labour movement organisations and stay in touch with the other signatories to coordinate
• circulate the statement to Members and an explanation of why it is so important
• encourage and assist Branches and Committees to invite a speaker from the campaign to Branch and Committee meetings
• buy copies of the pamphlet published by The Clarion about the campaign to distribute to Members
• encourage Officials to circulate the statement as widely as possible to other nearby union branches and trades councils (and, as appropriate, Labour Parties) asking for support
• coordinate photos supporting repeal of the anti-union laws and the right to strike at upcoming meetings
• write to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell on this issue.

Suffolk Brigade

Free Our Unions – Repeal the Anti-Union Laws

The anti-trade union laws – not just the 2016 Trade Union Act, but multiple laws going back to 1980 – continually undermine workers’ ability to organise and campaign. They mean our movement is fighting the challenges of low-pay, insecurity and erosion of hard-won terms and conditions with our hands tied behind our backs.

In 2015, 2017 and 2018 Labour Party Conference voted for clear policy to repeal all the anti-union laws and replace them with strong legal rights for workers and unions, including strong rights to strike and picket. However, this has not yet fed through into the party’s public campaigning.

We welcome the campaign for Labour to implement this policy that has been launched by a range of trade union branches and organisations, coordinated by The Clarion magazine. It is absolutely crucial for our movement to ensure the next Labour Government acts quickly and decisively on this. We therefore call on Conference to;
• add our endorsement to the campaign statement initiated by Lambeth Local Government Unison and promoted by The Clarion
• circulate this policy to our Members and Officials, to the TUC and to local Labour Parties asking for support
• purchase and distribute copies of the pamphlet The Clarion which has been produced for the campaign.

Staffordshire Brigade

Let us know what you think? Write a reply? theclarionmag@gmail.com

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