Trade unions: New rights; new freedoms

23rd September 2013 – 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Monday 23 September 2013

A fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference
Alexandra Room, The Grand, 97-99 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2FW
12.30pm – 2.00pm

Organised by The Institute of Employment Rights, the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and Unite the Union.

About the Conference

The regulation of working conditions and pay is a key lever of economic policy. High labour standards raise wages, 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 change track.

If we want to reconstruct our 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 – unions 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. Copies of the new Manifesto will be available at the meeting.

Free entry


Chaired by Tony Burke, Unite AGS and Chair of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union

Katy Clark, Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran

Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Institute of Employment Rights

Andy Green, Secretary of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC

Click here to download the full programme