Sunday, September 07, 2014
Trade unions have to be prepared to fight the Tories. - inside or outside of the law
Since I'm unlikely to make it on to UNISON's slimmed-down delegation to the TUC again any time soon (having - as an honest, if not perhaps welcome, remark from a visiting retired member put it the other day - put on weight recently) I find myself following Congress from afar like most activists.
Hence I saw the link above, in which TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady makes a compelling case against the attacks on trade union rights which Cameron is preparing for the Tory manifesto.
It's clear that each time we retreat in the face of attacks from our enemies they advance further. Our collective failure to use the strength of our movement against the Coalition Government since 2010 has obviously given them great encouragement.
The legal position of trade unions is precarious. Common law doesn't like us - and the Taff Vale judgement expressed the class interests upon which our legal system is based.
From 1906 onwards we have pushed the legislature to create for our movement some exemptions from the raw class hatred which English law has for the collective organisation of working people.
Since the 1980s these exemptions have been so constrained as to have become almost worthless - and the enforcement of anti-union legislation has been very carefully placed in the hands of those who have a material interest in the financial well-being of our unions as institutions (over and above an interest in the financial well-being of the workers who created those institutions).
If a future Tory Government legislates so that lawful strike action becomes an impossibility we shall have to consider strike action nonetheless.
If there are those whose salaries and pensions currently depend upon our movement, and who would not, in those circumstances, support the taking of such risks, then I have a suggestion.
Go and get another job.
We have to be prepared for struggle. This awful century is set to get worse and we can't afford to be misled by people who won't fight when we have no alternative.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.