ETF Opposed To TTIP

header-etf3The European Transport Federation Executive Committee has adopted a position paper calling for the suspension of the current negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA and a reformulation of the EU mandate.

 As more information is leaked on the content of these secretive negotiations, more reasons we have to oppose them.

In line with the content of its statement from last November, the ETF is supporting the “Statement by civil society on regulatory cooperation in TTIP”.

The ETF is calling on unions to strongly encourage your union to also support it.

Watch YouTube clip on TTIP.

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, New Generation Of Trade Agreements | Leave a comment

Government is using the state as a union buster


Mark SerwotkaBy Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS.

This government has launched an ideological attack on a TUC-affiliated union. This union busting has so far gone unnoticed by much of the media, after all it’s not happening during a long national dispute or general strike. It’s behind the scenes, but its aim is to silence a prominent critic of austerity: PCS.

For decades the way in which civil service workers paid their union subs has been through automatic deduction from their pay packet. This scheme, known as check-off, survived unscathed from 18 years of Thatcher and Major, and 13 years of Blair and Brown.

But now, directed by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, government departments and agencies have given us minimal notice that they will redraw the scheme. They say this is to save money – and why should the government subsidize a trade union’s membership collection? Many large businesses operate a similar scheme too, it costs little to administer and we offered to pay it. They refused.

They refused because this seemingly small technical change is an ideological attack, an attempt to break our union financially and weaken us industrially.

It means that we have to re-sign up three-quarters of our membership – over 150,000 people. They clearly thought this would break us – as it might a lesser union – but our reps and members have risen to the challenge. In just a few months we have signed up 73% of our membership in the Home Office – one of the first departments to announce it would end the scheme. But even that remarkable sign-up rate – one that no union has ever been asked to or managed to deliver – means we will lose thousands of members and thousands of pounds in revenue.

Over the coming months, more and more departments – from the DWP to HMRC – will withdraw check-off in an attempt to break our union. This has been accompanied by a document leaked to us from one department which showed senior management planning to “marginalise PCS”, slash the facility time of key reps, and support the setting up of a compliant staff association.

This is union-busting pure and simple, and fits with a pattern we have encountered in other civil service departments. And of course it fits with the Tories’ recent announcements about new balloting rules to limit democratic strike action. Being targeted is in some ways a badge of honour; we have been one of the leading voices communicating an alternative to austerity, and played a major role within the TUC in building co-ordinated action across the public sector – unafraid to take on Tory leaders in the media.

Their attack won’t silence or beat us. We have had to take some tough decisions, and have re-structured our union to respond to the immediate mammoth organising task and to cope with the financial fall-out.

PCS will survive, but we are asking for your help. We want everyone to email their MP to tell them to support our campaign and to urge Cameron and Maude to retain check-off. In your trades council, let local PCS colleagues know you are ready to help them in whatever way they need. If you have contacts with the Labour front bench, contact them to pledge to restore check-off if they win in May.

We are under attack for standing up to this government and its austerity programme, but with your support and solidarity we can come through this period stronger. A weaker PCS means a weaker trade union movement – so I hope together we can resist this attack, resist austerity and kick out this union-busting government.

For more on how you can help the PCS campaign against union-busting click here.

This blog first appeared on Class Online

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, UK Employment Rights | Leave a comment

France & Germany Want Changes To CETA

canada_ceta_ottawa_creditvince_alongi_flickrTrade negotiations between the EU and Canada concluded in October 2014, but France and Germany now want to make changes to the CETA agreement’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause. EurActiv France reports. 

While the free trade agreement between the EU and the US (TTIP) is still under negotiation, the deal between the EU and Canada is, at least in theory, all but wrapped up.

But French and German ministers now want to review the content of the Canadian agreement, in order to remove any potential difficulties from its dispute settlement mechanism, the ISDS clause. The clause is designed to protect investments by allowing recourse to arbitration tribunals in the case of conflicts between private companies and states.

The French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl, travelled to Berlin on 21 January to discuss the issue with the German Minister for the Economy Sigmar Gabriel, and the State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs Matthias Machnig.

Joint declaration

In a joint declaration, the ministers of the EU’s two largest economies asked the European Commission, which steers trade negotiations on behalf of the 28 EU member states, to examine “all the options for modifying” the ISDS clause in the agreement with Canada.

This request from Paris and Berlin comes after the Commission published the results of a public consultation over the inclusion of the ISDS in the EU-US trade deal currently under negotiation, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). An overwhelming majority of the 150,000 responses opposed the mechanism.

If French and German opposition to the arbitration clause is nothing new, France and Germany are breaking new ground in asking for the negotiations with Canada to be reopened.

A source in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the development. He said, “What is important is that the Germans are for the first time accepting the link between the arbitration clauses in CETA and TTIP”.

Negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada began in May 2009. They were concluded in October 2013. The ratification will begin in the first semester of 2015.

Though it comes at a later stage in the process, the debate over arbitration in CETA is closely linked to that of TTIP. If the principle of arbitration tribunals is accepted in one agreement, it sets a precedent.<

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in European Employment Rights, New Generation Of Trade Agreements, UK Employment Rights, Uncategorized | Comments Off

McCluskey Tells Malmström “Stop misleading the British public over trade deal”

Unite's Len McCluskey issues warning on TTIP

Unite’s Len McCluskey issues warning on TTIP

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has written to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to warn her that the Commission is misleading the British public over the EU-US trade deal called TTIP.

Unite is campaigning to ensure David Cameron uses his veto in Europe to get the NHS out of the trade deal. But the union believes that Commission officials have been giving “off-the record briefings” to the UK media, giving the impression that the NHS is exempt from TTIP, when it is clearly not.

 Unite’s legal advice is clear that the NHS is included in the trade deal and in September the UK government’s minister for trade, Lord Livingston confirmed at a press conference that the NHS was part of the deal (Lord Livingston gave evidence to the BIS select committee today on TTIP).

 Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Tens of thousands of people from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been calling on David Cameron to use his veto in Europe to remove the NHS from TTIP. However this has not actually happened.

“I don’t know whether the Commission is trying to mislead the British public on this issue, but that certainly seems to be what is happening.

 “My legal advice is clear, the NHS is included within the material scope of TTIP.

“Every effort must be made to ensure that spokespeople for the European Commission are clear, honest and straightforward about this matter.”

The trade deal is being negotiated behind closed doors, is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make the ongoing privatisation of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers.

 TTIP could grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.

An exclusive poll conducted by Survation for Unite, in Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency Witney and health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s South West Surrey constituency, revealed massive opposition to the EU-US trade deal. A significant majority of voters in Witney and South West Surrey, 82 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, oppose the inclusion of the NHS.

An earlier extensive telephone poll, carried out by Survation in August 2014, questioned over 2,600 voters across 13 marginal Conservative-held seats. Respondents were asked if the NHS should be excluded from the deal and if David Cameron should use Britain’s veto. Across all constituencies, of those that stated a view – 68 per cent said they opposed the inclusion of the NHS as part of the deal. Opposition was highest from those planning on voting for Labour or UKIP, 78 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. Just 23 per cent of Conservative voters supported inclusion.

 Unite also polled voters in Stockton South and Rochester & Strood in both cases voter opposed the NHS in TTIP and expected Cameron to be prepared to use his veto.

 Text of Len McCluskey’s letter to Commissioner Cecilia Malmström

“I have recently read reports in the British press stating that the European Commission ‘insists the NHS would be exempt’ from TTIP. This is clearly not the case.

 I don’t know whether the Commission is trying to mislead the British public on this issue but that certainly seems to be what is happening.

My legal advice is clear that the NHS is included within the material scope of TTIP. Furthermore, your Chief Negotiator’s letter of 8 July 2014 to Rt Hon John Healey MP confirmed that the NHS will be subject to substantial aspects of investment protection.

 In other words, US investors in the private companies now taking over NHS services will get new rights to sue the Government, as we have been saying. Of course, this would even remain the case if ISDS was removed from TTIP, as such a case could still be taken via the US Government using a State-State procedure.

 I also understand that since Mr Garcia Bercero’s letter was sent, you have stated that the UK Government can, if it wishes, comprehensively remove the NHS from all aspects of TTIP. Thousands of people from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been calling on David Cameron to remove the NHS from TTIP for some months now. However, I have not seen any evidence to suggest that this has actually happened. It is certainly clear that it did not happen in the text of the Canadian deal, CETA.

 So, if there is new information and the NHS is no longer going to be subject to TTIP, please let me know.  If not, can you please clarify this matter on the record?

 Furthermore, I would ask you to make every effort to ensure that spokespeople for the European Commission are clear, honest and straightforward about this matter when briefing the media in future.

 Yours

 Len McCluskey”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, European Employment Rights, New Generation Of Trade Agreements, UK Employment Rights | Leave a comment

New Study On TTIP And TPP

th_8b8404c5292eba1ffc29fac909b4a9ff_12305950405_d1bc84c2da_obannerBy Claudia Horn
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office 

I would like to inform your affiliates about our newest study, (in English and German) written by Mike Dolan, on U.S. based campaigns against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

There is soon to be an important debate in the U.S. Congress about international commerce and democratic values. Administration free traders and big business lobbyists are pushing for Fast Track legislation in order to conclude negotiations and ratify both of these “partnerships.”

In his study, TPP and TTIP: Partners in Crime. Fighting the Corporate “Trade” Agenda in the United States, Mike Dolan, vice-president of the Citizens’ Trade Campaign, takes stock of rising U.S. opposition, which brings together labor, environmental activists, consumers, faith-based groups, and family farmers.

He identifies key players, interests, and lines of defense, and outlines a strategy to prevent the passage of “trade” agreements that in practice threaten to kill jobs, undermine labor standards and environmental regulations, limit access to generic drugs, and even exempt corporations from the judicial process.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, International Employment Rights, New Generation Of Trade Agreements | Leave a comment

European Committee Of Social Rights Report – Summary

imagesBy Mick Carty
National Policy Officer – RMT

Here is a summary of trade union rights related conclusions from the European Committee of Social Rights report on the UK in 2014. Full document available here: 

Article 5 – Right to organise

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 5 of the 1961 Charter, on the ground that legislation which makes it unlawful for a trade union to indemnify an individual union member for a penalty imposed for an offence or contempt of court, and which severely restricts the grounds on which a trade union may lawfully discipline members, represent unjustified incursions into the autonomy of trade unions.

Article 6 – Right to bargain collectively

Paragraph 1 – Joint consultation

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is in conformity with Article

6§1 of the 1961 Charter.

Article 6 – Right to bargain collectively

Paragraph 2 – Negotiation procedures

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 6§2 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that workers and trade unions do not have the right to bring legal proceedings in the event that employers offer financial incentives to induce workers to exclude themselves from collective bargaining.

Article 6 – Right to bargain collectively

Paragraph 3 – Conciliation and arbitration

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is in conformity with Article 6§3 of the 1961 Charter.

Article 6 – Right to bargain collectively

Paragraph 4 – Collective action

Conclusion 24: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 6§4 of the 1961 Charter on the grounds that:

  • the possibilities for workers to defend their interests through lawful collective action are excessively limited;
  • the requirement to give notice to an employer of a ballot on industrial action is excessive;
  • the protection of workers against dismissal when taking industrial action is insufficient.

Article 2 – Right to just conditions of work

Paragraph 2 – Public holidays with pay

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§2 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that the right of all workers to public holidays with pay is not guaranteed.

Article 2 – Right to just conditions of work

Paragraph 3 – Annual holiday with pay

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is in conformity with Article 2§3 of the 1961 Charter.

Article 2 – Right to just conditions of work

Paragraph 4 – Elimination of risks in dangerous or unhealthy occupations

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§4 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that it has not been established that workers exposed to occupational health risks, despite the existing risk elimination policy, are entitled to appropriate compensation measures.

Article 2 – Right to just conditions of work

Paragraph 5 – Weekly rest period

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 2§5 of the 1961 Charter, on the ground that there are inadequate safeguards to prevent that workers may work for more than twelve consecutive days without a rest period.

Article 4 – Right to a fair remuneration

Paragraph 1 – Decent remuneration

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§1 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that the minimum wage applicable to workers in the private sector does not secure a decent standard of living.

Article 4 – Right to a fair remuneration

Paragraph 2 – Increased remuneration for overtime work

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§2 of the Charter on the ground that workers do have no adequate legal guarantees to ensure them increased remuneration for overtime.

Article 4 – Right to a fair remuneration

Paragraph 4 – Reasonable notice of termination of employment

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§4 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that notice periods are inadequate below three years of service.

Article 4 – Right to a fair remuneration

Paragraph 5 – Limits to wage deductions

Conclusion: The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 4§5 of the 1961 Charter, on the grounds that:

  • it has not been established that the limits on deductions from wages equivalent to the National Minimum Wage are reasonable;
Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tories 40% Threshold For Industrial Action Ballots Breaches ILO Principles

ballot-boxBy Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC

Tory plans for further restrictions on the right to strike have been roundly condemned from several quarters. Proposed new rules will apply to industrial action in the health and fire services, as well as education and transport.

Under the proposed changes, industrial action will be lawful only if it has the support of at least 40% of those balloted, in addition to the existing requirement that the action should have the support of a majority of those voting.

There are lots of reasons why this proposal is wrong, not least because it represents an effective ban on the right to strike in the public services, without making alternative arrangements for dispute resolution. The effective ban would be built on a ‘democratic outrage’ according to the TUC, by imposing demands on trade unions that appear to make even Vince Cable blush.

The business secretary is reported as having criticized a voting threshold (40% of eligible voters) that most MPs would fail to meet.

This condemnation is no doubt fuelled by the fact very few other countries have strike ballot requirements of the kind now being proposed.

That said, Britain would not be unique, though predictably the Tory proposals are at the high end of what operates elsewhere. Notably, in Australia the ballot threshold is effectively 25% plus 1, in the sense that at least 50% of those eligible to vote must do so before a strike ballot can lawfully authorize protected industrial action.

The position is different in the Czech Republic and again in Denmark, two of the few EU member states to have thresholds. According to the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), strikes in the Czech Republic require the consent of at least one third of those eligible to vote, while in Denmark the action must be supported by at least 75% of those taking part in the vote. In the Danish case, these requirements arise from collective agreements rather than legislation.

So far as we are aware, unequivocally higher thresholds than those proposed by the Tories are to be found only in Bulgaria and Romania, where it is understood that the law permits industrial action only if it has the support of a majority of those eligible to vote (that it is to say 50% plus 1).

In the case of Bulgaria, however, the law has been criticized by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as being inconsistent with Bulgaria’s legal obligations under international law.

Trade unions in Bulgaria complained that the statutorily imposed ballot thresholds violate the right to strike as protected by ILO Convention 87 (on freedom of association and the right to organize). The ILO’s Committee of Experts (an independent body of jurists which supervises the operation of ILO Conventions) agreed, and has reminded the government of Bulgaria of its legal obligations under ILO Convention 87, on a number of occasions since.

Thus, the Committee has rejected the Bulgarian government’s claim that its strike ballot threshold was ‘liberal in character’, and that ‘any attempt to amend it may infringe its democratic approach’. Under international law, in strike ballots ‘account should only be taken of the votes cast’, while any ‘required quorum and majority should be fixed at a reasonable level’. Consequently, the Bulgarian government was urged to change the law ‘in order to bring it into closer conformity with the principles of freedom of association’.

It seems, however, that the Tories are not alone in promoting ballot thresholds. The Bulgarian solution appears to have won support in Athens as well as in London, the Greek press reporting that restrictions actively proposed by conservative politicians would see Greece follow Romania, with Bulgarian-style thresholds. 

It is unclear to what extent, if any, the Troika is driving this initiative, though the latter continues to be deeply involved in directing internal Greek politics.

A Syriza victory would of course put an end to this nonsense. But should it emerge that the measures are Troika inspired, it will provide further deeply damaging evidence of the drift in European Labour Law away from legality, as the neo-liberals tighten their grip on the EU. Indeed, if the Troika’s fingerprints are to be found on the Greek proposals, British Tories will be able to claim (albeit implausibly) that their initiative is much more measured – the threshold is ‘only’ 40%, and applies to strikes in ‘only’ four sectors.

The Tories will no doubt also claim (on this occasion not altogether implausibly) that the Blair and Brown governments sold the pass of principle, in the not unrelated field of trade union recognition ballots. There it will be recalled, a simple majority PLUS 40% of those eligible to vote is necessary in ballots under the statutory recognition procedure.

Silence please, as New Labour explains why 40% can be justified in the case of trade union recognition, but not in the case of trade union industrial action.

And of course New Labour made resistance to the current proposals even more difficult to challenge politically by cementing the currency of 40% in the Information and Consultation Regulations, as the going rate in British labour law for contentious ballots.

Here it will be recalled that it is necessary to secure 40% support to remove what the regulations refer to as ‘pre-existing agreements’. As might have been predicted, a few chickens are now coming home to roost.

One possible response would be to say (at least in the case of trade union recognition) that the balloting takes place at the workplace, in secret and under the supervision of a qualified independent person. A similar procedure in the case of industrial action ballots would at least have the virtue of addressing the problem of low voter turnout under a statutory procedure that currently permits postal voting only. As they stand, the latter procedures are guaranteed to ensure that thresholds are not met.

But whatever fun the Tories enjoy at New Labour’s expense, the fact remains that what they are proposing is not consistent with international legal standards. A threshold of 40% almost certainly breaches the principles set out by the ILO Committee of Experts in the Bulgaria case. In addition, the effect of the proposals will be to ban strikes that do not meet the threshold in the four sectors concerned, as an indirect way of imposing a ban on public sector strikes.

The only action that may be banned under international law is that which relates to workers in essential services, a term that is not synonymous with working in the public services. And while it may well be possible as a matter of international law to impose restrictions on such workers because of the nature of the work they do, it is possible to do so only if the government puts in place independent, binding arbitration to compensate workers for the right they have lost. That does not appear to be on the Tory agenda.

These proposals should be resisted. They have nothing to do with democracy. Quite the opposite. They are designed to remove a democratic right from millions of workers. For the sake of doubt, while we accept that the balloting procedures should be reformed (indeed in the interests of freedom of association they should not have been imposed by the State in the first place), we also believe that the promise of balloting reform should not lead trade unions to accept ballot thresholds of any kind.

21st January 2015

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, European Employment Rights, International Employment Rights, UK Employment Rights | Leave a comment

US Think Tank Positive On Union Rights And Collective Bargaining For US Workers – But Where Was Ed Balls?

Larry Summers.

By Tony Burke

Much has been written last week on the “Report Of The Commission On Inclusive Prosperity” which was co-chaired by Lawrence H. Summers and our own shadow chancellor Ed Balls, which was convened by the Center for American Progress.

The Center for American Progress is a think tank which has a relationship with potential presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

US commentators are already referring to the think tank’s “white paper” as “Hilarynomics” suggesting it set out what a Clinton presidency might do economically and politically on the domestic front.

The think tank’s founder is John Podesta who is expected to act as the chair of Ms. Clinton’s presidential campaign. Its president, Neera Tanden, was policy director of Ms. Clinton’s previous unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Larry Summers ran the Treasury Department at the end of the Bill Clinton administration, and ran the National Economic Council at the beginning of the Obama administration – only liberal opposition stopped him from chairing the Federal Reserve. He is described as “the Democrats’ go-to guy for economic policy”

The other co-chair is Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor (and as the report notes a member of Unite and Unison). US pundits are saying that his involvement gives the document some real weight.

The report offers in two sections covering USA and UK policy recommendations.

It is over 160 pages long makes interesting reading.

In the USA section not only does it argue for more infrastructure spending, closing corporate tax and inheritance tax loopholes, curbing the deductability on executive pay, it argues for a tax cut for middle class workers and very importantly supports labour market reform, extending collective bargaining and support for trade unions.

The report supports changes that would make union organising easier, suggests the establishment of German style works councils and endorses more favorable tax treatment for worker-owned firms.

Some of the telling paragraphs in the US section are music to the ears of British trade unionists. They include: “In the United States, we need to support the growth of unions and collective bargaining so workers can capture their share of productivity increases”.

“Expanding the benefits of collective bargaining in the United States would help reverse the trend toward wage inequality for U.S. middle-and lower-income workers; even modest institutional changes would help empower workers to do so.

 “For example, meaningful labor law reform and the promotion of multiemployer or industry-wide bargaining would be an important breakthrough because individual employers paying good wages would no longer be disadvantaged by competing with low-wage employers”.

Turning to the UK policy section it is interesting to note that whilst there are the positive references to “a race to the top”; ending zero hours contracts; supporting innovation, raising productivity, expanding skills and apprenticeships and encouraging long termism but on the key question of the extension of collective bargaining and trade union rights as a way of reducing inequality in the UK (as is being proposed in the US section) there are no such statements or policy options.

It seems that when the opportunity comes their way and presents itself on a platter some senior Labour front benchers are still scared stiff of mentioning the benefits of widespread trade union membership and collective bargaining, especially as a way of reducing the massive inequality now prevalent in the USA and UK.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, International Employment Rights, Publications & Websites, UK Employment Rights | Leave a comment

Unite: Opposition to trade deal TTIP ‘unprecedented’

Unite's Len McCluskey

Unite’s Len McCluskey

A consultation by the European Commission has revealed huge opposition among the public over the controversial trade deal called TTIP.

The Commission received an unprecedented 150,000 responses – over a third from the UK – mainly opposing the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which threatens  the NHS with irreversible privatisation.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “The people of this country do not believe it is right for the NHS to be part of a US trade deal. Britain expects David Cameron to stand up for the NHS and use his veto in Europe to get the NHS out of TTIP.

 “Unite has polled 17 Tory seats including David Cameron’s and Jeremy Hunt’s seats. In every case voters oppose the NHS being part of TTIP.

 “The NHS unites this country, it is the single most important local issue for voters. The Prime Minister has cut himself adrift from public opinion by refusing to listen. Britain is demanding that he uses his veto.”

The trade deal is being negotiated behind closed doors, between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States. It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make the ongoing privatisation of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers. TTIP could grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, European Employment Rights, New Generation Of Trade Agreements, UK Employment Rights | Leave a comment

UPDATED: Unions Condem Tory Attack On Strike Ballots In Public Sector

Frances O'Grady statement on Tory Plans On Strike Ballots

Frances O’Grady statement on Tory plans on strike ballots

Responding to manifesto proposals announced tonight (Friday) by the Conservative Party on thresholds for public sector strike ballots, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Conservatives know that this threshold will effectively end the right to strike in the public sector.

No democracy elsewhere in the world has this kind of restriction on industrial action. It is a democratic outrage, especially as the Conservatives have opposed allowing secure and secret online balloting – the one measure guaranteed to increase turnouts.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the proposed measures would make it “virtually impossible for anyone in the public sector to go on strike”.

This, he added, would “shift the balance completely in favour of the government and employers, and away from dedicated public servants.

“The UK already has tough laws on strikes – there is no need to make them stricter still.”

And GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Only 16 out of 650 elected Members of Parliament secured the support of 40% of those entitled to vote in their parliamentary constituency area election in 2010.

“Only 15 Tory MPs out of 303 secured that level of support. They had no hesitation in forming a government in 2010 without securing 40% support from the electorate.”

Unite’s Len McCluskey issued the following statement:

“Yet again, the Conservatives line themselves up behind big business and against working people.  This latest threat will hit workers enacting their fundamental right to stand up for fair wages, to save our public services and defend their jobs and pensions. 

“The way to resolve such disputes is through negotiations – not to intimidate and silence by legislation. The way to improve turnouts is to modernise balloting, something trade unions have repeatedly called for but been ignored by the Conservatives who are determined roll back the rights of working people.

“This speaks volumes about the sort of government we could expect from the Tories.  We already have the most backwards trade union laws in Europe yet they want to bounce us further to the dark ages.  In the year we commemorate the birth of our freedoms with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the Tories want to place the UK in the same league as some of the most anti-democratic regimes on the planet.

“These moves are chilling, and will ring alarm bells in workplaces right across the land.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This morning the transport secretary and his Tory Party colleagues have outlined plans that would rig strike ballots in favour of the same gang of dodgy bosses that bankroll the Conservatives up to the hilt.

“Let’s not forget that the Tories took a huge wedge of cash from Jon Moulton, the guy who folded City Link on Christmas Day leaving thousands of workers facing ruin. It’s no surprise that they are demanding new legislation which will tighten the noose of the anti union laws around worker’s throats. 

 “These same old Tories are elected on pathetic turnouts with minority support but they want one form of democracy for a corrupt political class and another for the organised working class. They will be fought tooth and nail. “

 

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
Posted in UK Employment Rights, Uncategorized | Leave a comment