Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/507/3331

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 October 2007

Trade Union Rights and Freedoms Bill

Why workers need a new party

THE DAY before John McDonnell MP's "watered-down" trade union freedom bill got its reading in Parliament, hundreds of trade unionists from across Britain came to lobby their MPs.

Andrew Walton, Unison shop steward, personal capacity

Trade unions are hobbled by Tory anti-union laws brought in to smash the miners and others in the 1980s. Britain is second only in Europe to Turkey in repressive trade union legislation. If these laws were repealed, unions would be able to take secondary action, such as striking against privatisation (at present illegal).

They would be able legally to take solidarity action, as in the Gate Gourmet dispute where BA baggage handlers walked out in support of sacked catering workers. Petty obstacles such as having to give complicated details of everyone who would be on strike, which resulted in the CWU union's proposed action last week being blocked by the court, would be removed.

Despite the trade unions giving millions of pounds to New Labour, the bill was left to a private member's bill. At the lobby John McDonnell himself dampened expectations, saying it would probably be 'filibustered out' of time by the government.

At the meeting of rank and file trade unionists, leaders like PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, RMT rail union boss Bob Crow and Brian Caton (General Secretary, Prison Officers Association) spoke of the need for the bill.

Brian Caton spoke of his members' action over a three-year pay freeze and overcrowding in prisons. Society would have to pick up the pieces if people with mental health problems, who needed NHS help not imprisonment, continued to be locked up without adequate resources to treat them. The idea that prison officers could be threatened with imprisonment for going on strike was greeted with derision where were they going to be put?

Tony Woodley (General Secretary, Unite) was greeted with jeers of "stop giving them money" when he argued that unions should keep affiliating to New Labour as our only hope, due to its links with the trade union movement. Yet Labour has carried out numerous attacks on public services and has no intention of making life easier for unions to campaign against them.

This Freedoms Bill could not even be debated in parliament. Similarly John McDonnell could not get on the ballot paper during Gordon Brown's leadership "coronation." These testify to the hopelessness of trying to turn New Labour around.

A century ago, rail workers came together with other trade unionists to form the Labour Party, due to the lack of political representation in parliament. This meeting made me even more convinced of the need for a new voice today to represent working-class people.

Such a party could help enable trade unionists to fight on a level playing field with their employers and provide a platform within which the need for a socialist transformation of society could be argued out.

The best way to get the Tory Party's anti-trade union laws repealed is for more unions to get behind the national shop stewards' movement and support the campaign for a new workers' party at www.cnwp.org.uk.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 October 2007:

Public health not private wealth

Join the 3 November NHS demonstration

NHS: What the Socialist Party says

March to save the NHS

Michael Moore's latest film 'Sicko' reviewed

Huddersfield SOS: Class fighters' bold initiative


Postal dispute

Reject Royal Mail deal: Vote 'No' and reinstate the action

Striking Liverpool postal workers return to work


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Why workers need a new party

Respect in crisis - what lessons for socialists?


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007


Socialist Party feature

Pakistan: Suicide bombings at Bhutto rally


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey's invasion threat increases regional instability

Release Saburi Akande Akinola, Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Olatunde Dairo now

France: Biggest public transport strike action since 1995


Socialist Party women

Do women still have the 'right to choose'?


Socialist Party news and analysis

Liberal Democrat leadership: Two candidates, one background, no answers

Classroom assistants challenge the Stormont Assembly

Who's to blame for teenage obesity?


Workplace news and analysis

Glasgow: On strike for a fair deal

Train drivers prepare for action

Fight Cadbury's factory closure

Teachers' union election time to change!

BBC threatens hundreds of jobs


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 October 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Unions:

triangleCorbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The role of trade unions in the fight against racism in Britain

triangleHull: Construction workers' walkout forces employer to back down

triangleHull construction workers strike against blacklisting

triangleClimate protests: which way forward after 20 September?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/10/19

Postal workers

Massive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"

16/10/19

PCS

General secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

16/10/19

Socialist Party

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party

16/10/19

Waltham Forest

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

16/10/19

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure

16/10/19

Climate change

Trade unionists discuss climate change

16/10/19

National Education Union

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

16/10/19

Hackney

Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory

16/10/19

RMT

RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

16/10/19

Wales

Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

15/10/19

Derbyshire

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

9/10/19

Caerphilly

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

9/10/19

PCS

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

9/10/19

York

York freshers success

9/10/19

Leeds

'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999