CTUF – IER Fringe at Labour Conference

There has been an error regarding details of the CTUF- IER Fringe on Monday lunchtime (25th September) – the event has been omitted from the official printed fringe guide.

We are trying to make sure the Fringe is included in the Labour Party Conference app.

Go to App Store and search for Labour Conference.

Easy to use and  download to an i-phone – choose a meeting you want to attend and the app will transfer the information to your calendar with alerts, etc.

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CTUF Manchester Rally – Cancelled

This to advise all of our supporters and affiliates that the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom Rally, due to be held in association with the People’s Assembly “Take Back Manchester” initaive on 1st October has been cancelled.

We apologise to listed speakers and others who have been contacted to speak at our rally and those supporters who indicated they would be attending.

The People’s Assembly has kindly offered that speakers from the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom Rally the opportunity to speak from the main People’s Assembly platform on the day.

Please pass on this message if possible. 

 

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John McDonnell statement read at CTUF – IER Fringe at the TUC

Brothers and Sisters, first of all apologies for not being with you tonight. I have had to return to London as I have a constituency engagement that has clashed with this meeting. We also have a heavy Parliamentary week ahead of us.

I want to set out briefly the work we are undertaking to develop our plans for government with respect to securing a renaissance of employment rights in this country when Labour returns to power.

We are now taking the policies outlined in Labour’s Manifesto and for each policy preparing a detailed implementation plan including the design of structures and mechanisms for implementation and the drafting of any legislation to implement the policy agenda.

This also means developing the detailed plans for any structural changes in the machinery of government.

As you know thanks to the tremendous work undertaken by Carolyn Jones, John Hendy and Keith Ewing the IER supplied us with a pretty detailed and comprehensive set of proposals for reform in its booklet whose launch I had the privilege to speak at in the House of Commons.

We are taking that booklet as the basis for our implementation manual in this field.

That includes preparing now the detailed plans for the setting up of a new ministry of labour, its full terms of reference, internal structures and remits and its ministerial and staffing structure.

This ministry will be charged with spearheading the legislative programme to establish firm employment rights once again in this country and the return of effective collective bargaining.

During this preparation for government period we will need to draw throughout on your expertise and experience to ensure that we secure the legislative proposals, structures and mechanisms to be put in place as soon as we return to government.

We envisage working closely as ever with you.

As we do this work we obviously cannot take the election of a Labour government for granted.

That means our campaign to win people to our aims, policies and programme continues apace.

In the past some in the Labour Party have viewed campaigning on employment rights and supporting trade unions as vote losers.

Some have distanced themselves from a close relationship between Labour and the trade union movement.

We think our campaign for decent employment rights, support for trade unionism and the principle of a society based upon solidarity is a key vote winner that lays the foundations of support in our wider society that any Labour government needs if it is to succeed.

If there is one thing that I would like people to take away from this TUC week, it is this.

We are all members of the Labour and Trade Union Movement. It is one movement and never again should we let any one divide us.

I want once again to thank the IER for its sterling work on behalf of our movement and state very clearly that we will continue our close working so that when Labour goes into government, we all go into government.

Solidarity

John McDonnell MP

Shadow Chancellor

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CTUF at Burnston School Strike Rally

Christine Blower and John Hendy QC representing Campaign For Trade Union Freedom at the Burnston School Strike Rally September 3rd.

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Consultation On Certification Officer’s Levy

The Government have opened consultation on a levy to be imposed on trade unions and employers organisations which gives the Certification Officer the power to impose a levy on trade unions and employers’ associations to recover the cost of oversight and regulation.

The Government are consulting on the detail of how the proposed financial regime will operate. Specifically, we are seeking views on: what cost components the Certification Officer should use to calculate the contributions that trade unions and employers’ associations should make how much those organisations should pay towards the levy

Click here to download the cosnsultation document.

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CTUF-IER Labour Party Fringe 2017

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McDonald’s workers could strike for the first time in the UK

McDonald Workers Demonstrating in the USA

Workers at two McDonald’s outlets, in Cambridge and Crayford, London have voted to take industrial action over concerns about working conditions and the use of zero-hour contracts.

They also are seeking a wage increase to at least £10 an hour says their union the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

In a statement the BFAWU said: “Workers have found themselves living on low wages with no guarantee of hours. This has been viewed by some as punishment for joining a union, and has seen employees struggle to meet their rent payments, whilst some have even lost their homes.”

McDonlad’s UK employees have been inspired by similar moves in the USA where fast food workers are campaigning to be paid $15 (£11.65) an hour. At the moment the UK National Living Wage stands at £7.50 for workers aged 25 and over, and £7.05 for those aged 21 to 24.

Ian Hodson, BFAWU national president, added: “McDonald’s has had countless opportunities to resolve grievances by offering workers a fair wage and acceptable working conditions. This is a call for change.”

McDonald’s made a switch to flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, in April this year and claimed it had increased hourly wages by 17% over the past two years.

A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures.”

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Australia: Union Voice & NUW speed up merger talks

Hot on the heels of the proposed merger in Australia of the Construction and Energy Workers union with the Maritime Union and the Textile Workers union which employers, the Australian Government and the right wing media are attempting to stop – via legislation – (which includes a test to see if union mergers are ‘in the public interest’) the Nationa­l Union Of Workers and United Voice are speeding up their merger plans to create a 170,000 strong union.

Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to take action to try to stop the merger of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia into a 120,000 member union, (see our previous story on this here) but now the NUW and United Voice have upped the stakes by speeding up talks to create a “powerful organising and campaigning force”.

The Turnbull government, employers and right wing media are running scared the prospect of union mergers, given the potential to unify unions to speak for workers with one voice, have a powerful voice in the Australian Labor Party and to confront the countries anti-union laws.

The NUW has more than 70,000 members working across warehousing, distribution, food, dairy, cold storage and other food-related and production industries.

United Voice (previously the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union), has more than 100,000 members across hospit­ality, childcare, health, manufacturing and community services.

NUW members attending a meeting in Melbourne were recently advised that merger plans were ‘progressing quickly’.

United Voice’s Victoria branch members received emails confirming the merger talks were picking up speed, describing a “commitment” between the two unions to proceed with amalgamation.

Victoria branch secretary Jess Walsh said : “The talks have been excitin­g and the two unions will have more over the coming months.’’

Along with Turnbull, some media commentators in Australia have gone into overdrive on the prospect of union mergers, (and other unions such as those in transport joining the talks) – describing unions as ‘lawless’ and the mergers themseleves being designed by union officials to damage the Australian economy and supply chain.

 

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Israeli High Court signals end of right to strike at state-owned enterprises

Valter Sanches, General Secretary IndustriALL Global Union

The High Court of Justice in Israel has issued a preliminary ruling that workers at state-owned enterprises can no longer strike against market reforms being undertaken by the government.

The conditional order overturns an earlier judgement in support of the right to strike, and comes in response to industrial action by the Histadrut union federation against the privatization of the publicly owned monopoly, the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).

The IEC employs 12,500 workers. For the past three years, the government has instituted a so-called market reform programme to end the state monopoly on electricity generation. The privatization plan means the company will stop generating electricity and sell its power stations to the private sector.

The so-called reforms have already cost 800 jobs. The Histadrut expects the privatization to result in between 5,000 and 6,000 job losses. Workers at IEC took part in industrial action in June and July, including refusing to issue electric bills.

In May 2017, the High Court upheld early judgements by regional and national labour courts in support of the right to strike. However, the government appealed the ruling, claiming that because the strikers oppose government policy, the strike is political and therefore illegal under Israeli labour law.

The government was supported by private electric corporations, who argued that strikes should not be allowed to influence, harm or cause financial loss.

The Histadrut argued in court that the strike is economic, and therefore legal, and not political. It is a legitimate defense of workers’ terms and conditions, and the right of the union to be consulted before the so-called reforms are implemented.

The ruling is seen as an attempt to fundamentally challenge the position of labour in Israeli society. The court signalled that the right to strike undermined anti-trust and competition law, preventing the government from making pro-market reforms.

The outcome of this case will have ramifications on other essential public services and on the legal status of the right to strike. In previous cases, the right to strike was recognized by Israeli High Court of Justice as a fundamental and constitutional right derived from the right to freedom of association, including in cases when the strike was against the government’s decisions.

Historically, there was a very close relationship between the Histadrut federation of labour and the public sector, with the federation also owning a number of enterprises. This relationship has been successively undermined by economic liberalization and changes to the law since the 1980s.

In a letter of solidarity to the Histadrut, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches wrote:

“The Court’s decision would seriously impinge on fundamental workers’ rights, including the right to employment stability. It is obvious that one of the main tasks of the Israeli High Court is to protect human rights, and the right to strike is one of them.

“IndustriALL Global Union is very concerned about the possibility of imposing serious restrictions on the right to strike. We believe such an outcome would be against the International Covenant on Economic, Social and cultural Rights, as well as against ILO’s Convention 87 concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, and ILO’s Convention 98 concerning the application of the principles of the right to organize and to bargain collectively.”

From IndustriALL Global Union.

 

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FURTHER UPDATE: Aussie Bosses & Prime Minister Try To Block Union Merger

Australian mining, oil and gas employers, backed by the Australian Government are to try to block a union merger which would create a 120,000 strong union.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will try to block the merger between the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) using legislation to be introduced to parliament this week that would force Australia’s Fair Work Commission to apply a ‘public-interest’ test for union mergers. The CFMEU has described the public-interest test as “ridiculous”.

The government is seeking to impose a new test for mergers of unions that requires the Fair Work Commission to consider a union’s record on industrial disputes (the right wing press and Turnbull describe this as ‘lawlessness’) and whether the merger ‘served the public interest’.

The Turnbull government believes that the new laws, if passed by the Senate, would have the effect of blocking a CFMEU-MUA merger, who have been talking about a merger since late 2015.

In truth the government and employers are fearful that a new union would create a much more powerful voice for workers across crucial sectors of the Australian economy as well as having a strong political voice in the Australian Labor Party.

The small Australian Textile, Clothing & Footwear union is also looking to join the new union. However, two small maritime unions have expressed opposition to the merger as they see their existence threatened – they have claimed legally they have an ‘interest’ in the merger.

The CFMEU is not required to ballot its members on the merger – but the MUA and the textile workers would have to ballot.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott said the proposed merger was “alarming”, considering the influence the unions already held over the Labour Party.

Australian unions are looking to mergers and amalgamations in the face of a shrinking economy and globalisation – arguing that the Australian trade union movement is under threat and the merger would help bolster their financial and legal resources.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin has previously described the merger as a need to build a new union to counter “a lot of adversarial stuff out there, a lot of anti-unionism, there is a political ideology in this country that’s pervasive and ­actively offensive against trade union rights”.

A well placed source in the Australian trade union movement told us: “The employers and the government have only just cottoned on to the fact that the merger application was made months ago. Which means that they will have to close the stable door after the horse has well and truly bolted.”

“The unions are in discussions with politicians about the retrospective impact of the legislation – politicians don’t usually retrospective legislation and it is hard to see how Turnbull will stop this process given that it’s well underway.”

Update: August 17th: The Australian sets out why the Australian Government, Employers and media pundits oppose the idea of a merger between CFMEU – MUA – TCFUA. It because they will be powerful stupid!

More info as we get it from our contacts in Australia,

 

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