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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2012

Cable launches new attack on workers' rights

Alex Davidson

The attack on workers' rights outlined by Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable is one more confirmation of the government's absolute determination to drag us back to the pre-World War Two years.

In what the trade union Unison has rightly described as "Beecroft-lite", Cable has adopted close to 80% of the Tory financier's recommendations published in October 2011. The most prominent of these is the plan to limit unfair dismissal claims to one year of salary alongside plans to restrict Tupe (employment transfer procedures) rights even further.

In responding to the announcement Unite general secretary Len McCluskey rightly stated that "UK workers already have the worst protections in Europe. This government is utterly misguided in its belief that making workers more vulnerable will power our economy to recovery."

It must be pointed out though that Labour had 13 years to strengthen workers' rights but we were still left with the weakest employment rights in Europe.

Cable's latest assault needs to be seen alongside his plans to abolish health and safety inspections in thousands of firms.

As the victimisation of a Unite health and safety rep on the Crossrail project shows, employers are already riding roughshod over trade union rights.

While there has been plenty of condemnation from union leaders they must follow this up with real action. The attack on workers' rights affects both public and private sector workers equally, therefore the union leaders should use this to mobilise their members in support of the POA motion passed by the TUC conference last week calling for a general strike.

As Steve Gillan of the POA said when moving the motion "they will only stop chasing us when we stop running".

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 19 September 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We can beat Con-Dems' austerity

All forces to the point of attack against austerity

NHS: Condition critical

Cable launches new attack on workers' rights

Global warming: Capitalists skating on thin ice

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Marikana miners remain defiant


Education

Stop the deportation of London Met students

Interview with NUS vice-president for union development

No to Gove's counter-reforms


Socialist Party feature

Hillsborough disaster: Truth is out, now justice


Socialist Party workplace news

Sparks' picket blockades Crossrail site

Workers die on tower cranes - Con-Dems cut safety regulations

HMRC seeks to axe workers' childcare

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Oaklands Pool - "This is what we pay our council tax for!"

Salford: Uniting to save mental health services

Fight Tameside library cuts!

Save Hampshire residential care homes

Stop the fire service cuts in West Yorkshire

NSSN supporter invited to address RMT


Socialist Party women

Rape is no joke

Slutwalk: there's NO excuse for rape

Sexism - a product of capitalism


Socialist Party review

Review: "From dole queue to corner and back again"


 

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