15 July 2016
Delegates at the policy conference of Unite the Union have called on the Labour Party to protect workers’ rights in post-EU Britain.
A statement passed by member of the union and written by Unite’s executive council, said: “Working people must be given the chance to choose their path out of the crisis. This will demand new policy responses, not least to the deprivation and alienation caused by six years of austerity and thirty years of deindustrialisation, and we look to Labour to give a lead on meeting those challenges in the interests of working people.”
Elsewhere, General Secretary of Unite the Union Len McCluskey has backed the Institute of Employment Rights’ proposals for the reform of labour law in post-EU Britain, which advocate for the promotion of collective bargaining as the main mechanism by which wages and conditions are agreed. In a Manifesto authored by 15 leading labour lawyers and academics from some of the UK’s most prestigious universities, the IER argues that collective bargaining should be encouraged at a sectoral level, setting a minimum floor on which separate enterprise level agreements can be built. This structure would be underpinned by statutory rights monitored and by a new Ministry of Labour, which itself would be informed by a National Economic Forum on which would sit representatives from all stakeholders including workers, employers, academics and the government.
At the Unite conference, the statement backed by delegates added: “We further need to ensure that the British and Irish governments do not launch a race to the bottom in terms of social protection, workers’ rights, and corporate tax – and do not allow multi-national capital to play one government off against the other.”
The IER believes it is imperative the vote to leave the European Union leads to the implementation of more progressive rights for workers and the restructuring of our economy to reduce inequality, rather than becoming an opening for even more draconian right-wing restrictions to be imposed on workers.