My thoughts on TUC letting UKIP know to keep their mitts off our trade unions rights

Here something to remember about UKIP:

Let’s face some home truths, be frank and honest with ourselves when trade unions put some questions to UKIP members and their leadership what are their policies regards to a well-established trade unions and trade movement at large most of UKIP membership and their great leader are clueless on what their basic policies are on trade unions rights let alone to give a position on it.

chuSince the formation of UKIP all they are concerned about is out of European Parliament, stopping immigrants entering the UK and they want a referendum now. Err hello welcome to Cloud coo land they seem to forget it was the trade unions who fought tooth and nail to secure trade union rights to be recognised both in Europe and UK via Labour MEPs which a Labour Government has delivered and many trade unions members have benefited so why would the trade unions throw in the towel and embrace UKIP it makes no sense.

tuc All the trade unions who are affiliated to the TUC have concurred that UKIP has nothing to offer to the trade union membership. If anything they foresaw that UKIP would rather be bed partners with the conservatives to help them to implement Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) /Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA)  which will see the end of our NHS and Local Government under the guise of Jaws of Doom to put it in a nutshell which many UKIP members brags about today as this article goes to print.

This what some UKIP members had to say about the general policy for UKIP about the trades unions, or even if it has a policy concerning that matter. As a true libertarian party, UKIP would have to accept trade union membership of it’s supporters.

As a Kipper myself, I have nothing to hide, and can confirm that I am a fully paid up member of a large Trade Union, and have been for many years. I personally see that they do ‘mainly’ good things to represent workers and help improve working conditions and help make the workplace safe, as well as negotiating pay deals and work benefits. Although I do not support wild cat strikes like they used to have in the 70s, or indeed the national ‘general strike’ that was called for by the big union bosses the other week.

the other UKIP member said I am a fully paid up member of UKIP and was a Candidate on Thursday. I am not currently a member of a trade union but was for several years with a union which I joined when I worked for BT. Unions are important, but we would be wise to avoid being ruled by them. We certainly need to avoid, like labour, being dependant on them.

This is what  the leader of UKIP has to say about trade unions:

Unions have great power and when used wisely it can benefit everyone, when union leaders will not compromise or accept certain arguments, life can get pretty difficult. They key is to be honest with them and for them to be honest with whomsoever they are representing and or negotiating with.

No party can guarantee that a particular policy will be agreed with by the Unions, but if the policy is correct, then the argument should be made and those unhappy either convinced about them, or allowed to make their argument and in some cases seek a compromise. There will be cases when compromise cannot be reached, if this is so, then the reason for that lack of compromise should be clear cut and at the end of the day justified.

Trade union campaigners have launched a drive against the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) just before he European elections.

The Unions Together campaign will aim to highlight that as well as Ukip’s divisive immigration policies, the party also stands for a series of reactionary reforms, supporting the rollback of basic workers’ rights such as maternity leave, sick pay and paid holidays.

The announcement comes a day after a protester was arrested for throwing an egg at Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

MANOFACTION“Ukip will take Britain’s working people back to the dark ages, scrapping basic rights we fought hard for and relied upon by the 31 million workers in this country,” said GMB general secretary Paul Kenny.

“This is a chance to show that Ukip’s agenda, specially its small-business manifesto, is far from being in touch with Britain’s common people.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” said Unite community activist Bernadette Horton about the campaign.

“People only see the immigration issue and are blind to all the other things that Ukip wants to do.

“Ukip want to decimate the public sector,” Ms Horton added. “I’m a full-time carer and the cuts have already been bad enough.”

Less than a week ago Nigel Farage’s party stood up for an Exeter member who publicly argued women should “stay at home.”

 A Unions Together van will be spreading the message “Don’t let Ukip steal what matters to you” across south-east England over the bank holiday weekend.

Let’s not forget it was both Labour and trade unions that put in place the Human Rights Act and We should all share pride in our Human Rights Act’

In those heady days after 1997, Labour put into action many of the policies devised in opposition. We started to improve the NHS (do you remember how people used to die on the waiting list for a heart op?). We brought in the minimum wage. We set up Sure Start centres for young children and Connexions for older ones. And we brought human rights home by passing the Human Rights Act.

The European Convention on Human Rights was not devised by foreigners in a far off land. The UK was fully involved in its development and a Conservative MP, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, oversaw the drafting.

We signed the Convention over 60 years ago. But asserting your rights by going to the European Court of Human Rights could be a cumbersome process, with cases at home backed up and waiting for the decision. So, in consultation with lawyers and judges, Labour passed the Human Rights Act.

We all benefit from the Human Rights Act. The Countryside Alliance used the Human Rights Act to challenge the ban on fox hunting. Elderly couples can no longer be separated by care homes hat used to be common practice.

Human rights have been used to protect our privacy; to confirm that we cannot be tried and convicted without knowing the evidence against us; to stop innocent people from having their DNA stored indefinitely; to prevent discrimination.

This Tory/LibDem government and with the possibility of a UKIP/Conservative coalition has not been good at protecting civil liberties: from cuts to civil legal aid, changes to judicial review and the ‘gagging act’ we have gone backwards on a number of fronts. And now the Tories are promising to repeal the Human Rights Act and to pull out of the Convention if they stay in government next year.

We should be proud of our Human Rights Act. It is the mark of a civilised democracy. Of course, some decisions might not be popular. Some decisions might criticise the government of the day. But that’s really the point. We all benefit when government is more accountable, when we are all recognised as being equal and possessing inherent human rights.

I’m not surprised there have been two defections from two Conservatives Member of Parliament to UKIP and five members of Conservatives who were elected in 2010 will be standing down as one of them will go onto challenge the leadership in the near future. This may be claptrap to some quarters of UKIP members rest assure it’s in the pipeline.

IMG_1739I’m glad to have the opportunity to attend the TUC to listen to Chuka Umunna full speech which he said:

Thank you Congress. It’s an honour to address you for the first time today.

Let me begin by paying tribute to your General Secretary, Frances, who is doing a fantastic job leading this movement. Keeping us on our toes. And fighting for social justice in this country.

Today I’d like to speak about the importance of this movement and our shared mission to build a new economy. But as my time is limited, I won’t be able to cover all I want to say but will be happy to deal with anything I don’t address in the Q&A.

So to start with – a simple statement: I am a proud trade union member. Out of choice and out of conviction. I don’t come from a family with a history of labour trade union activism.

But my Dad – a self made man – always supported this movement and voted Labour Let me tell you why.  He arrived in this country, in this very City in fact – at Liverpool Docks – in the mid-1960s, after a long boat journey from Nigeria. It took some courage. Not just because he was leaving everything he knew, but also because he couldn’t swim – if the ship went down, he was going to go with it.  And he was sea sick for the entire journey. But, carrying only a battered suitcase, he made it.

He came here – like so many immigrants – to create a better life for himself and to make a contribution. But, like every other person of colour in 1960s Britain, he faced rampant discrimination. Remember the famous signs on hostel windows: “no Irish, no blacks, no dogs”.

NHS1The reason my entrepreneur father supported this movement – in fact his hero was Harold Wilson – was simple: this movement gave him a chance. The reason those racist signs came down and my father got his opportunity was because of the trade unionists and Labour Governments leading the charge for equalities legislation in the 60s and 70s. That, Congress, is why I’m so proud to be speaking here today.

Too easily, people forget the impact this movement has had. Sometimes in Westminster, you just shake your head at some of the rubbish you have to sit through. Government Members, week after week, smearing and denigrating our trade unions.

Just think: they’ve had this big push to appoint more women ministers – which is great, yet they seem to forget that these very same Conservative women have benefitted from the right to equal pay, equal rights and all the other social reforms that this movement worked so tirelessly to introduce. So they attack the very people who helped remove the barriers to their progress. It’s a disgrace and it must stop.

Maybe they think it’s pro-business to attack you. But just as I am clear that you can’t be pro-worker if you don’t back the businesses that create decent jobs; you cannot be pro-business if you constantly attack the rights and representative organisations of the people who work in our businesses.

Pro-worker, pro-business – that is the right approach. After all, many of the most successful companies in the FTSE100 are the ones that recognise the important role of trade unions and your members. And it’s an approach that’s going to be more important than ever in the future.

NHS2As a movement, we’ve always worked to ensure the right balance of power between those who have and those who do not. That ideal endures. But – let’s face it – the context in which we seek to achieve social justice – to ensure people have good, fulfilling work – is changing.

We’ve all seen the winds of change blowing through towns and communities across Britain. The emerging economies of the South and East are posing greater competition than ever to our firms and our workers. New technologies are transforming how business is done.  Yes, creating new jobs, but also making many of the jobs people have done for generations disappear; and the new jobs are not always better jobs.

And, the thing is, we cannot stop this change: we can’t stop the rise of international competition. We can’t stop the onward march of technology. Doing so through protectionist measures, for example, would be entirely counter-productive.

But we can and we must shape these forces of change together to build the kinds of jobs and the better future we want for our children, our families, our communities.

We must ensure our firms are the ones producing and creating those new technologies the world wants, enabling us to pay our way in the world, building an economy of good jobs and higher wages for all.

And Congress, for this we need you. Too often, trade unions only come to prominence in the media when things reach crisis point: during difficult pay negotiations, when a plant is under threat, during a dispute. That essential role for trade unions will continue.

But we need unions to be engaged not just in times of dispute or crisis. But much earlier, in a continuous discussion, shaping the process of change. Working with our businesses to transform themselves, harness new technologies and compete with India, China and beyond.

So at the level of each firm, we must be ready for these kinds of discussion – as I know you are – and we need employers engaging with you, including you in this process.  Promoting investment in people and the business, so we are producing goods and services each business can sell to the world.  I am clear: adding value is what this movement does for our economy.

And this approach is needed at the level of each industry sector too.  It is essential trade unions are included and play an active part on different sector bodies in shaping the different industrial strategies we have.  And Government must of course play its role in the implementation of a those industrial strategies across all departments, bringing employers and union representatives together to help forge that future.  Resolutely backing those sectors where we have a competitive edge or might do in the future.

That’s not happening right now. Look at the defence industry, where the Government abandoned UK firms at the start of this Parliament to buy kit off the shelf from the US. Look at renewables and the damage caused by their u-turn on Feed in Tariffs.  Look at pharmaceuticals, where they were happy to waive through the takeover of our second biggest firm, AstraZeneca, by Pfizer, a firm with a record of intellectually asset stripping companies and cutting R&D investment.

As Ed Miliband says, we can and must do better than this.  And under Labour our long-term plan for growth with industrial strategy at its core – we call it “Agenda 2030” – will animate the whole of government, backing our businesses and those working within them.

A strategic and strong pro-worker, pro-business agenda that has us all working together – employers, trade unions and government – to ensure the UK and all of our people succeed.

It’s the only way we will rise to the challenge of building a new economy for this modern, global world.

Now, the Conservatives don’t understand this: that you have to build an economy – not on the stress fractures of conflict – but on the firm foundations of collaboration.

They see workers as a threat to be controlled, not as the inspiration for everything our companies achieve. They see unions as a brake on our nation’s success, not as partners in building the new shared and fair economy we need. They say we’re all in this together but their actions seek to divide and rule.

And don’t even get me started on UKIP, who take this division to a whole new level.  We can’t meet the challenges our nation faces by setting our communities against each other, by scapegoating and blaming.  The rhetoric which seeps out of that party in respect of our fellow Europeans is not at all dissimilar from the rhetoric deployed against black and Asian people in times past. We will not stand for it.

And that’s why when people argue that we’re all the same.  I am resolute in my view that we are not.  Because the Tory way, the UKIP way is not the Labour way of doing things.

Labour is a political party built on the power of common endeavour, the value of collaboration, the importance of solidarity, respecting people’s rights and ensuring they have a voice.

That’s why I’m proud we voted down the move by Tory MPs to abolish trade union facilities time in this Parliament.

It’s why I’m proud we saw off the threat of Adrian Beecroft’s compensated no-fault dismissals.

It’s why I’m proud we blocked the proposal by Vince Cable and his ministers to end the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s duty to promote equality.

Above all it’s why I’m proud to say we will do what this Government has refused to: launch a full enquiry, held publically, into the inexcusable blacklisting of workers in the construction sector.  Let me be clear.  If am given the privilege of serving as Business Secretary in the next Labour Government we will deliver justice to those workers who lost their livelihoods and end blacklisting for once and for all.

Labour beliefs – not just in words but, proudly, in our actions too.

And in Government, you will see our beliefs in action too.

We have fought to defend people’s rights and voice in opposition but these rights are only meaningful if you can get proper redress.  The current employment tribunal system is unfair, unsustainable and has resulted in prohibitive costs locking people out of the justice they are entitled to.

Affordability should not be a barrier to workplace justice. But it would be a mistake to simply return to the system of the past, where tribunals were so slow that meaningful justice was not available.

So if we are elected the next Labour Government will abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system which ensures all workers have proper access to justice.

Openness and respect. Rights and justice under a future Labour Government.

It is this same drive for social justice that has driven our commitment to restoring the value of the national minimum wage, alongside increased fines and better enforcement, to incentivise employers to pay a living wage, to outlaw exploitative zero hours contracts.  Because if you work hard – day in, day out – you shouldn’t have to live in poverty or have insecurity heaped upon you.

And there is more. We will take action to ensure agency workers are properly protected and that there are no exemptions from equal treatment on pay including by ending the Swedish derogation from the Agency Regulations.  We will extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licencing Authority.

But all of this will only happen if a Labour Government is elected.

And I should say: if you live in Scotland, the SNP would have you believe that social justice can be achieved by voting for separation.  But when asked what measures in their White Paper redistribute money and power from those who have it and to those who do not, they have no answer because there are none.  Instead they are committed to a further 3p reduction in corporation tax for the biggest and wealthiest companies.

Congress, there is only one way to achieve better social justice in this United Kingdom and that is through this pro-worker pro-business agenda I have talked about which the election of a Labour Government will deliver not separation.

To finish, I’d like to go back to the beginning.

When my father arrived here in Liverpool, he was filled with hope and ambition. That’s what this country represented to him – and what it proved. Due to your work in protecting his rights, the infrastructure this country provided and his ability to see the opportunity in the world – he was able to make it.

That simple story of hope, hard work, rights, opportunity and success is what we want for all of our people. That we can lead lives where tomorrow is better than today and we can give our children more than we had.

Let’s work together – in solidarity – to make that happen.

Thank you.

After the wonderful speech from Chuka Umunna the following resolution was agreed at the TUC:

Congress continues to be deeply concerned at the effects of the government’s austerity agenda which has already resulted in over 13 million people living in poverty with around five million people still earning below the living wage (currently standing at £7.65 an hour).

Congress condemns the fact that 10 per cent of our young people live with a level of social and economic deprivation that creates educational barriers which blight the life chances of a significant proportion of our next generation.

Congress notes that, at a time of increasing poverty and austerity for the many, the UK is now the fourth richest nation in the world (GDP/capita) with the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK currently worth over £518bn, an increase of 13 per cent since 2013.

Congress also notes with concern that the recession and the increases in poverty and inequality which come in its wake have also led to an upsurge in racism and xenophobia in the UK and across the whole of Europe.

Congress notes with concern the advance of UKIP and other even more right-wing, xenophobic and outright racist parties in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. Congress continues to reject the policies put forward by such organisations, including on immigration.

Congress notes the deep disillusionment with mainstream politics revealed by the results of the 2014 elections. In particular, low turnout assisted UKIP to considerable gains. UKIP’s true agenda stands counter to the interests of working people of all backgrounds. UKIP have previously called for the elimination of virtually all workplace protections, with employees’ rights wholly dependent on the goodwill of the employer. UKIP have also called in the past for the privatisation of schools and hospitals and a flat rate of income tax, policies that would be disastrous for low-paid and working class people. Their success has damaged mainstream politics, leading to more punitive measures against migrant workers, legitimising racist rhetoric and attacks against vulnerable workers.

While UKIP preys on economic anxieties, Congress believes that the only real answer to low pay and exploitation is stronger employment rights protections and trade union solidarity. Congress asserts that trade unionists are uniquely positioned to challenge such propaganda.

Congress calls on the General Council, affiliated unions and others to continue to campaign vigorously against organisations who have no contribution to make to improving the living standards and quality of life of the millions of people suffering from the impact of austerity cuts imposed by various governments across Europe.

Congress is also critical of the UK right-wing media’s obsessively prejudicial coverage of immigration issues characterised by exaggeration, lies and half-truths – including increased pressure on our schools, hospitals and other public services.  Congress rejects this analysis and instead recognises the enormous positive contribution generations of migrants have made to the UK economy and society. Indeed, many areas of employment including vital services like the NHS and public transport would suffer greatly were it not for the hard work and commitment of migrant workers.

Congress rejects attempts to pit UK workers against migrant workers or claimants. It rejects the divide and rule rhetoric and notes that migrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. Congress further notes that UK benefits are among the lowest in Europe, making claims of ‘benefit tourism’ ridiculous

Congress is also concerned about the opportunity for unscrupulous employers to exploit migrant workers as a cheap source of labour to undercut people’s pay and pensions and considers this is the real problem that mainstream politicians need to address.

Congress calls on the TUC and its affiliates to challenge the politics of hate by:

  1. developing local community campaigns ahead of the 2015 general election in conjunction with groups such as HOPE not hate and UAF;
  2. counteracting voter disillusionment and UKIP’s policies for workers, highlighting voter registration and engagement through active campaigning and political education
  • tackling the toxic rhetoric around migration and placing a renewed focus on organising and recruiting migrant workers.

Congress calls on the General Council to continue to fight for a more humane immigration policy. This, together with better employment rights for all workers and the reversal of austerity cuts, will help defeat racism, prejudice and discrimination. Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to:

Continue its campaigning work to combat the structural inequalities that lead to poverty, including support for the establishment of the living wage across the economy.

Continue to counter the racist anti immigration propaganda that originates in the overtly racist parties and groups in the UK but which is now being adopted by some of the established mainstream parties.

Now you know why Trade Unions members will not be voting for UKIP but rather remain with Labour for a Labour Government 2015


One response to “My thoughts on TUC letting UKIP know to keep their mitts off our trade unions rights

  1. Reblogged this on Redmanc's Blog and commented:


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