Thursday, 16 July 2015

Why preserving a fair right to strike, and repealing anti-trade union laws in Britain, matters

The Conservative government's proposed Trade Union Bill, which will make it almost impossible for legal strike action to take place due to the unfairly high strike thresholds it sets (50% turnout, without recourse to online ballots for all types of strikes, with an additional threshold of 40% of all eligible union members for people working in 'essential public services') if it is passed, will receive its first reading next week, and the more important readings (second and third) soon after.

Therefore, we need to state clearly, and now, why the right to strike matters so much to us.

The right to strike (and thus withdraw labour) is important when the capitalist system fundamentally creates substantial inequalities between the majority of us who work for an employer in some capacity, and the often very wealthy employers themselves, and also creates enough unemployment to make switching employers difficult. By being able to strike, we can make sure we are paid fairly and on time, we can ensure we are able to work in a safe environment, we can make sure we have good working conditions, we can try to hold our employers to account, and so we all have a good chance to succeed within our workplaces (for those of us who are employed as opposed to self-employed).

Whilst we are at it, we also need to campaign for the repeal other anti-trade union laws (and other laws harming our employment rights) which Labour failed to repeal the last time they were in power, such as bans on secondary picketing, requirement of two years' service before unfair dismissal claims can be made (when unfair dismissal claims should be allowable no matter how long you have worked for an employer),  and particularly having to pay extortionate fees before cases can be taken to an employment tribunal.

It is important to remember that protection of our employment rights benefits all of us-whether we are employed, self-employed, unemployed or otherwise, and whether we are low earners or high earners.


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