Unions back alternative growth strategy to be launched at TUC Congress

23 August 2013 The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) will launch a policy proposal for an alternative growth strategy at the TUC Congress this year.

23 Aug 2013| News

23 August 2013

The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) will launch a policy proposal for an alternative growth strategy at the TUC Congress this year.

Authored by renowned academic Professor Keith Ewing and go-to trade union lawyer John Hendy QC, the evidence-based report will provide a detailed guide to how income inequality can be successful tackled through collective bargaining.

Narrowing the earnings gap and improving workplace conditions will have a knock-on effect on other areas of the economy, as summarised in the following infographic:

Full details of Ewing and Hendy’s ten-point manifesto – which is already backed by nine unions: Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT, PCS, CWU, UCU, RMT and ATL – and proposals for the encouragement of further collective and sectoral bargaining in the UK, will be announced on Sunday 08 September 2013.

The authors will be joined by Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower and RMT General Secretary Bob Crow in the Branksome Suite of Bournemouth International Centre at 7pm. This event, named Reconstruction after Crisis: a manifesto for collective bargaining is hosted by the IER in conjunction with the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) and the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom (CTUF).

Chair of the IER John Hendy said: “A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining – that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis. In this book we seek to demonstrate that extensive collective bargaining coverage of this kind was government policy for 75 years (until Thatcher and neo-liberalism) and was the favoured technique in this country, Europe and the US to end the depression of the 1930s. Furthermore, as we try to explain, collective bargaining is the only way of giving workers an effective voice in the workplace, giving them sufficient power to prevent injustice at work and, most important, fulfilling the UK’s binding international legal obligations to promote collective bargaining.”

President of the IER Keith Ewing said: “The decline in collective bargaining represents a disaster for British workers, who have seen a growing gap between rich and poor, a reduction in the share of national wealth allocated to wages, and the emergence of new forms of exploitative working practices, such as zero-hours contracts. There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State.

Every worker should have the right to be covered by a collective agreement. The next Labour government must take steps to make this happen.”

Please see flyer below:


Notes to editors:

For further information, contact:
Carolyn Jones, Director of the IER
0151 207 5265


The Institute of Employment Rights was established in February 1989. It is a network of academics and lawyers acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. It is an independent charity supported by trade unions representing over 6 million UK workers. See www.ier.org.uk: Tel: 0151 207 5265


The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade unions including ASLEF, CWU, GFTU, GMB, NUT, PCS, TSSA, UCATT and Unite the Union. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.


The Campaign For Trade Union Freedom was established in 2013 following a merger of the Liaison Committee For The Defence Of Trade Unions and the United Campaign To Repeal The Anti Trade Union Laws. The CTUF is a campaigning organisation fighting to defend and enhance trade unionism, oppose all anti-union laws as well as promoting and defending collective bargaining across UK, Europe and the World.

Professor Keith Ewing:

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King’s College London. He is President of the Institute of Employment Rights and Legal editor of the journal International Union Rights. He is also a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedoms

John Hendy QC:

John Hendy QC is a leading employment law barrister, operating from Old Square Chambers London and H P Higgins Chambers in Sydney Australia. He is Chairman of the Institute of Employment Rights, vice-chairman of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)and a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. John is standing counsel to UNITE, ASLEF,CWU, NUJ, NUM, POA, RMT and UCU.