Sunday 08 September 2013
Bournemouth International Centre
7pm – 8pm
John Hendy QC, Chair of the IER
Professor Keith Ewing, President of the IER
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union
Christine Blower, General Secretary of NUT
Bob Crow, General Secretary of RMT
The regulation of working conditions and pay is key lever of economic policy. High labour standards raise rages, increase demand, decrease unemployment, raise tax revenue and diminish inequality.
The neo-liberal route of low labour standards and anti-union policies on the other hand deliver the opposite – low wages, reduced consumption, decline in demand, increased unemployment, higher dependence on benefits, reduced tax revenue and a subsequent fall in the resources required to deliver services.
We’ve seen the results. Neo-liberalism has failed. It’s time to chance track.
If we want to reconstruct out economy we need to build more efficient and effective labour market structures. To do that we need a government committed to bringing together both sides of industry – union and employers – under a statutory framework that encourages agreements on terms and conditions of employment across whole sectors of our economy. Such agreements should cover levels of wages, hours of work, holidays, pensions, training, the employment of apprentices and more.
Is such a framework feasible? Are there precedents or legal standards we can look to? Does the political will exist to build a framework for working life that delivers a strong economy based on social justice, equality and fairness at work?
This meeting will launch a discussion around the need for a manifesto which puts collective bargaining at the heart of the UK’s economic reconstruction. Copes of the new Manifesto will be available at the meeting.
After the fringe, celebrations will continue at the GFTU Fish and Chip supper and song night. Banner Theatre, First of May Band, Grace Petrie, Robb Johnson and the audience. Political song at its best in the Devonshire Suite, Marriott Highcliff Hotel – 8 till late.