Campaigning against the anti-union laws

At Labour Party conference 2017, delegates voted unanimously for a motion to repeal not just the 2016 Trade Union Act but the anti-trade union laws introduced by the Tories in the 1980s and 90s – and to introduce positive legal workers’ rights, including a strong right to strike. This built on policy passed in 2015. (For the text of the motions, see here.) However the party is not yet fighting for these policies. The task is to get them known and actively carried out.

Activists connected with The Clarion are working to get discussion in the labour movement about the anti-union laws, how they are used, and what the next Labour government should do about them; researching the effect of the anti-union laws, documenting their use today, and delving into the history books to learn about previous campaigns against anti-union laws; and organising events around these issues.

On this page we will collate resources, activities and articles about the campaign.

Support the statement

We are circulating this statement, initiated by Lambeth Unison, for union branches/organisations, Labour Parties, etc to discuss, sign and circulate to other branches, etc – see here for the text, a model motion to propose it to your branch with, and an updated list of signatories. For a supporting motion for Labour Parties, see here.

Sign and circulate the petition

There is also a statement individuals can sign online here – signed already by hundreds of Labour and union activists including Matt Wrack, John McDonnell, Ian Hodson and Claudia Webbe. For a downloadable/printable PDF version to use in meetings, etc, see here.

“Free our unions” pamphlet

For more information about and to buy copies of our new pamphlet Free our unions: why Labour must repeal all the anti-union laws – a great resource for education and campaigning – see here.

Posters for photos of support

Here are posters you can download and print off/copy to do a photo opp in support at your branch meeting, etc. Or make your own, obviously!
Free our unions sign 1 Free our unions – Repeal all the anti-union laws
Free our unions sign 2 We need the right to strike – Repeal all the anti-union laws
Free our unions sign 3 Repeal all the anti-union laws
Free our unions sign 4 Free our unions
Free our unions sign 5 Labour conference is right: Repeal all the anti-union laws
Free our unions sign 6 Repeal all the anti-union laws – Thatcher’s, Major’s, Cameron’s

Invite a speaker

For more information or to invite a speaker to your union branch, CLP, etc, email us at

Articles about the anti-union laws

Green Party backs call to free our unions (December 2018)
What’s in the Institute of Employment Rights manifestos and what does Labour say about them? (November 2018)
Angela Rayner was right about the anti-union laws (November 2018, republishing extracts of a speech from 2014)
Free our unions – model motion for CLPs (November 2018)
Statement: Join Matt Wrack, Ian Hodson, John McDonnell and Claudia Webbe in demanding repeal of all anti-union laws (November 2018)
“We will not be bullied” – Glasgow workers defy council’s threat of anti-union laws (October 2018)
Women’s strike shakes Glasgow, male workers take solidarity action (October 2018)
Labour conference commits to “abolishing anti-union laws” (again) (September 2018)
Sean Hoyle’s foreword to our ‘Free our unions’ pamphlet (September 2018)
Scottish FBU’s Denise Christie: Respect Labour conference policy on union rights! (speech at Labour Party conference, September 2018)
Labour must vow to scrap all anti-union laws – beyond the Trade Union Act 2016 (September 2018, published on LabourList)
Labour must get the anti-union laws off workers’ backs! (September 2018)
Repeal the anti-union laws! Labour conference fringe, with Matt Wrack (September 2018)
John McDonnell’s TUC speech and the right to strike (September 2018)
Unite conference demands repeal of all anti-union laws (August 2018)
For free trade unions (motion for Labour Parties) (August 2018)
Arguing for the right to strike (June 2018)
Trade union rights – back John McDonnell’s call (June 2018)
Would the miners’ strike have been illegal under Corbyn’s trade union laws? (June 2018)
‘A Corbyn government must free our unions’ – motion to Unite policy conference (June 2018)
Matt Wrack and Shen Batmaz on why Labour must repeal all anti-union laws (May 2018)
Young Labour policy on repealing the anti-union laws/the right to strike (passed October 2017, published here March 2018)
Six arguments against abolishing all the anti-union laws – Six replies (March 2018)
The anti-union laws: acid test for a Corbyn government (January 2018)
If Jeremy Corbyn wants a mass movement, he must radically revive the unions (January 2018, published in the New Statesman)
Repealing the anti-union laws: what Labour’s new policy says (December 2017)
Bob Crow and John Hendy on why we must repeal the anti-union laws (December 2017, republished from 1998)
Labour votes to scrap all anti-union laws – build a campaign! (November 2017)
Young workers turned up for us – we must turn up for them (speech at Labour Party conference, September 2017)
Solidarity strikes and Labour democracy (April 2017)
What are the anti-union laws? Institute of Employment Rights timeline, 1979-2017 (2017) – for a briefer summary see also the section on ‘What are the anti-union laws?’ here

Events (latest at top)

• Wakefield meeting, Wednesday 23 January – details tbc

• Free our unions – Repeal the anti-union laws! Organised by Cambridge UCU. 6-8pm, Tuesday 4 December, Friends Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA. Speakers include Clarion editor Rida Vaquas and a McStriker. Facebook event
• Repeal the anti-union laws – organising meeting, with Matt Wrack – 7pm, Tuesday 20 November, Brixton (Lambeth Unison office, Blue Star House, 244 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SP). Hosted by The Clarion and Lambeth Unison. Facebook event
• Free our unions – repeal the anti-union laws! (Croydon) – 7pm, Tuesday 13 November, Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Rd, Croydon CR0 1BD. Facebook event
• Free our unions pamphlet launch (Sheffield) – 7pm, Tuesday 30 October, Central United Reformed Church, 60 Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1 2JB. Facebook event
• Free our unions – why Labour must repeal the anti-union laws (Manchester) – 7pm, Monday 22 October, Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester M2 5NS. Facebook event
• Repeal the anti-union laws! Fringe meeting at Labour Party conference 2018, with Matt Wrack – 7pm, Sunday 23 September, The Liverpool, 14 James Street, L2 7PQ. More information here