Unions Call On Government Not To Scrap RPI

The general secretaries of Britain’s largest unions have today (Wednesday) issued a joint statement calling on the government not to scrap the RPI measure of inflation. 

A decision on the future of RPI is expected to be announced alongside the Spending Review on 25 November.

The statement reads:

As representatives of workers and pensioners, we are deeply concerned by the imminent threat to scrap the RPI measure of inflation.‚ÄĮ¬†

This is not a technical issue. Getting rid of RPI would affect millions of working people ‚Äď both in terms of pay and pensions.¬†

Two-thirds of private sector schemes are still uprated by RPI. ‚ÄĮShifting to the proposed CPIH measure would leave the average male worker with a private sector pension ¬£11,000 worse-off in retirement. And it would leave the average woman worker on a private sector scheme ¬£14,000 poorer. That is not right.¬†

And if future pay bargaining moves from RPI to CPIH this could reduce pay rises by more than £350 for the average full-time UK worker. 

Nobody is claiming the RPI is perfect. But it remains the best measure for living costs and would be straight forward to modernise. 

As has been shown across Europe it would be perfectly possible to have RPI existing in parallel to CPIH (‚Äčor CPI) and have the latter measure focus on guiding monetary policy.¬†

We are disappointed that expert calls to retain the RPI have been repeatedly ignored. The Royal Statistical Society and House of Lords Economic Affairs ‚ÄčCommittee have both presented compelling evidence for keeping it.‚ÄĮ ‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ¬†

We urge the government to listen to these bodies and to unions. Scrapping RPI will hit workers in the pay packet and make it harder for them to have dignity in retirement. 

And it will damage the reputation of inflation measurement in the UK.‚ÄĮ¬†

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite

Warren Kenny, Acting General Secretary, GMB

Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

Dave Penman, General Secretary, FDA

Steve Gillan, General Secretary, POA

Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA

Ged Nichols, General Secretary, Accord

Steve Jamieson, General Secretary, College of Podiatry

Dr Paul Donaldson, General Secretary, HCSA

Dilwyn Roberts-Young, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers Wales

Brian Strutton, General Secretary, BALPA

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TUC – Norwegian Unions – Free Trade Deal

The TUC has joined¬†Norwegian unions in calling for any trade deal between UK-Norway to enforce protections for workers’ rights, public services and migrant workers’ rights.

Click here to read the full statement: LO Norway TUC joint statement on trade talks

 

 

Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, International Employment Rights, New Generation Of Trade Agreements, UK Employment Rights, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Right to picket during lockdown secured following Unite legal challenge

Unite pickets at Optare factory, Sherburn-in-Elmet. Photo: Iain Dalton

The government has been forced to confirm that workers taking lawful industrial action have a right to picket their workplace during the Covid-19 lockdown.

In doing so they have vetoed the actions of North Yorkshire police who last week told Unite workers taking lawful industrial action to desist from picketing on the morning after new coronavirus regulations were introduced.

A judicial review was due to be heard at the high court today (Friday 13 November) against the chief constable of North Yorkshire and the secretary of state for  health and social care, but at the last minute the government conceded that the right to picket should be upheld.

The case emerged as a result of Unite members who were on strike at Optare bus factory in Sherburn in Elmet last Friday (6 November) and who were undertaking socially distanced picketing, being moved on by the police and warned that if they returned they would be issued with penalty notices for breaking lockdown rules.

Unite’s legal case was based on the right to picket being a fundamental right protected by the Human Rights Act.

The government finally accepted this argument and has issued guidance to all police forces which makes it clear that workers can undertake socially distanced picketing, as it is covered by the exception on the right to go to work during the lockdown.

Unite is now awaiting the court formally confirming the right to picket by way of a court order.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This is a vital victory for the entire labour movement.

“The right to picket is fundamental and is one of the few actions that workers are legally entitled to use following a lawful ballot for strike action. Without the right to picket the very essence of the right to withdraw their labour is undermined.

“Unite’s members at Optare were holding a legal picket and abiding by strict social distancing rules. They had been told their workplace was safe for them to continue working, yet the police claimed that a picket outside the workplace contravened the lockdown rules. The decision by the police to break up that picket was wrong and the government has now conceded it was wrong.

‚ÄúWe have seen opportunistic employers take advantage of this crisis with ‚Äėfire and rehire‚Äô, seeking to have workers pay for this crisis with their terms and conditions. For however long this crisis lasts this victory on picketing means that we retain the ability to hold bad bosses to account‚ÄĚ

ENDS

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US unions ‘Defending Democracy’

In a web based briefing for unions from around the world, officials from the AFL-CIO (the US trade union umbrella organisation) outlined why they were confident that Joe Biden was destined to become the next president of the US and how unions had been instrumental in getting the vote out to defeat Trump.

There was also big thanks too for the British TUC for the statement of support sent to the AFL-CIO by General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

Despite Trumps unending and unfounded legal threats and tweets of the election being stolen by the Democrats Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO said that the union movement was defending democracy.

She said it it would have been easy to quit – with their heads in their hands or listen to the polls and get complacent ‚Äď instead unions organised for a Biden win, working relentlessly – giving an example in Wisconsin where over 100 labour organisers worked day and night to ‚Äôflip’ the vote from Trump to back to Biden.

They had also ‘flipped back’ Michigan and Pennsylvania into the ‚ÄėBiden column‚Äô (previously Democrat states which went for Trump in 2016) and new ground was broken in Arizona and Georgia.

In Detroit, Michigan Trump supporters tried to storm one of the counts at 3am on Wednesday morning. Unions organised members to come down to the count to ‚Äėdefend democracy‚Äô.

 Ms. Shuler outlined some of the top line survey voting figures as of 3:00pm on Friday.

Union members went 58% for Biden ‚Äď Harris – the public at large went for Biden by just 3%

Women union members voted 61% for Biden – Harris;

Latino union members went 71% for Biden – Harris;

And among African American and young people the union margin out performed expectations

 Her message was to be patient and wait the outcome and make sure every vote is counted.

¬†But there was also a big dose of realism with AFL-CIO officials saying they needed to ‚Äėdive deeper‚Äô and to ‚Äėbetter understand‚Äô why after everything Trump has done so many people stayed with him. “We need to understand why there is such polarisation in the USA‚ÄĚ

Nonetheless, they were confident that Joe Biden will restore America‚Äôs place in the world and “will be pro-worker” – but the key had to be getting the economy running again and get the virus under control.

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