Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Time to Defend Trade Union Rights

Yesterday in Parliament MPs gave a second reading to the Lobbying Bill, which seeks to gag trade unions and other voluntary organisations in an election year (

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, 70 trade unionists and Labour Party members met ( to launch the "Defend the Link" statement which seeks to defend the rights of trade unions in relation to Labour Party affiliation (

Caught in a pincer movement between a Government seeking to neutralise opposition to austerity and a Labour Leader seemingly engaged in a futile quest for a "Clause Four moment" our unions are in a bind.

As Keith Ewing said at the meeting, it falls to the current generation of General Secretaries to try to save the Labour Party as a party of the organised working class.

Keith acknowledged that this means looking to today's leaders to remedy the errors made by their predecessors, as it was the trade unions who let New Labour have its way in the Party for so long.

Roger McKenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary made the point which others also made, that in defending the link we are not saying that the status quo was satisfactory.

We need to defend a link which delivers for trade union members - and we need to defend the rights of trade unions (and other voluntary organisations) even to engage in effective political campaigning.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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