Union leaders stir against Blair

Submitted by Anon on 2 October, 2003 - 10:09

If the trade union movement is serious about defending workers' rights in the period ahead, it will have to do two things.

1. There must be a national demonstration and day of action organised by the TUC to protest at the threat to rob workers of their pension rights. As Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, has said, the threat to force us to work for an extra five years in order to access our full pensions, makes a nonsense of Labour's supposed commitment to 'work-life' balance. The trade unions agreed in principle to organise a national demonstration. It is essential that this takes place on a Saturday when most members can attend and as the National Convention of Pensioners has requested.

2. We must put the case for the right to take solidarity action back on the agenda in the trade unions and the Labour Party. The bosses use workers from other depots, from other areas and from the dole queue to break strikes. They move work, liquidate companies and use every tool available to them to defeat legal and official strikes. No law prevents them from organising any of this, and yet we are barred from supporting our fellow-workers with industrial action. No matter how popular or well supported, no matter if the workers in conflict are our own union members, solidarity action remains illegal six years into a Labour government.

General secretaries who are serious about "returning Labour to its roots" need to mount an open and immediate fight within the Labour Party, and in society, to repeal the anti-union laws and restore the right to take solidarity action.

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