Formed in December 2012 by a merger between Liasion Commmittee for the Defence of Trade Union and the Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti Trade Union Laws, the rally takes place at Friends House, London at 1:30 pm.
Speakers will include Unite’s Len McCluskey, Bob Crow of the RMT, (who is president of CTUF), the TUC’s Sarah Veale, the CWU’s Billy Hayes, TSSA’s Manuel Cortes and many others.
Supported by twenty five unions, the launch of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom hascome at an opportune time. The Tory-led coalition is preparing to launch even more attacks on workers rights, using the smokescreen of the economic crisis to further hit already weak employment rights in the UK.
We have already seen the proposals from Wonga.com boss Adrian Beacroft, (initially dismissed by Vince Cable as being ‘bonkers’) being dusted down and pushed through parliament by willing accomplices such as Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson MP.
These include making it harder for workers to seek workplace justice at Employment Tribunals; extending the qualifying period to gain employment rights to two years along with proposals to repatriate European gained rights such as protection for agency and temporary workers and the scrapping of the Working Time Directive.
This week there has been a further attack on workers rights with the coalition taking forward Tory unfinished business cutting the consultation period on redundancies from 90 days to 45 days where employers are planning to make 100 or more redundancies.
As Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:
“At a time when Britain’s economy has flatlined and jobs are in short supply, the Tory-led government is trying to sneak through legislation to make it easier to sack workers. The government is giving bad bosses the green light to sack workers, then ask questions later. It is telling companies that they do not have to commit to Britain’s workers – in fact, the government is offering a fast-track ticket to exit”.
The Campaign intends to fight to defend and enhance trade unionism, oppose all anti-union laws, as well as promote and defend collective bargaining across the UK, Europe and the World.
Trade unions worldwide are under attack by governments driving through the neo-liberal agenda to crush unions. In the EU, long held rights to national collective bargaining are being dismantled. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are using the crisis make it easier to sack workers.
In Mexico employers and the government are using legislation to break independent unions in multinational companies such as PKC and Honda; and in the US ‘right to work legislation’ is now being used in some states by right-wing governors to hit back at unions who delivered union votes for Obama.
The case for free trade unions is unanswerable – and the campaign intends to make the case for a new legal framework of trade union freedoms. We also will be campaigning for a return for strong collective bargaining as good economics – a point that is has now become a part of mainstream thinking.
During the rest of the year the campaign will be holding meetings at the Durham Miners Gala, Tolpuddle, and fringe meetings union conferences and at the GFTU, TUC and Labour Party.
First published on Left Foot Forward, March 18th.