IER TUC Fringe Meeting: Labour Law under Brown - What's on the Agenda?

Submitted by carolyn on Mon, 24/09/2007 - 20:54
  • Where? Meeting Room 1 (Hall B West) Brighton Conference Centre
  • When? Monday 10th September, 5.30pm (or end of TUC session)
  • Who? Brian Caton, POA Bob Crow, RMT, Jon Cruddas, MP, Keith Ewing, IER President,Sally Hunt, UCU, Pam James, National Group on Homeworkers, John McDonnell, MP, Sarah Veale, TUC, Tony Woodley, UNITE

Chair: John Hendy, QC IER

For the past two years Congress has supported motions calling for the repeal of anti trade union laws and the introduction of a Trade Union Freedom Bill. Congress has also called for greater regulation of the labour market to ensure vulnerable workers (migrant, agency, women and the low paid) are not exploited by ruthless employers.

This year is no different. Congress will discuss many motions concerning employment rights and trade union freedoms. It will discuss cuts in the public services, problems with privatisation and contracting out and the need to curtail the excesses of fat cats in the boardrooms and the activities of global private equity companies.

What is different this year is that we have a new Prime Minister, a new Cabinet, a new “big tent” approach to politics and a general election around the corner. There are few signs yet that the new PM is thinking of changing direction – there are no trade union appointments in the “big tent” to match the promotion of Digby Jones; the Fundamental Charter of Social Rights has been “red lined”; the Trade Union Freedom Bill has been blocked at an early stage and attempts are in hand to reduce the trade union voice at Conference.

So what exactly is on the Brown agenda? What do trade unionists want to see in the next Election Manifesto? Where will unions draw their “red lines” over policy issues?

We already know the Trade Union Rights and Freedoms Bill is due a Second Reading on 19th October. The United Campaign has organised a Rally of Parliament in support of the Bill for 18th October and the TUC General Council has agreed to support that Rally. We also know that new legislation is due to be introduced in the form of a proposed Employment Simplification Bill.

But will the proposed Employment Simplification Bill go as far as the popular Trade Union Rights and Freedoms Bill? If not, will unions in the UK follow the example of our sister unions in Australia and organise a centrally coordinated, multi-union funded and supported campaign aimed at raising the political profile of the calls for trade union rights at work?

Keith Ewing, President of IER, will consider possible new strategies for challenging the government’s internationally recognised poor record on employment rights and trade union freedoms.

For further information please contact Carolyn Jones, IER Director on 07941 076245 or John Usher, United Campaign Director on 07989 851446.

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