Formed in December 2012 by a merger between Liasion Commmittee for the Defence of Trade Union and the Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti Trade Union Laws, the rally takes place atÂ Friends House, London at 1:30 pm.
Speakers will include Uniteâs Len McCluskey, Bob Crow of the RMT, (who is president of CTUF), the TUCâs Sarah Veale, the CWUâs Billy Hayes, TSSAâs Manuel Cortes and many others.
Supported by twenty five unions, the launch of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom hascome at an opportune time. The Tory-led coalition is preparing to launch even more attacks on workers rights, using the smokescreen of the economic crisis to further hit already weak employment rights in the UK.
We have already seen the proposals fromÂ Wonga.comÂ boss Adrian Beacroft, (initially dismissed by Vince Cable as being âbonkersâ) beingÂ dusted down and pushed through parliamentÂ by willing accomplices such as Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson MP.
These include making it harder for workers to seek workplace justice at Employment Tribunals;Â extending the qualifying periodÂ to gain employment rights to two years along with proposals to repatriate European gained rights such as protection for agency and temporary workers and the scrapping of the Working Time Directive.
This week there has beenÂ a further attackÂ on workers rights with the coalition taking forward Tory unfinished business cutting the consultation period on redundancies from 90 days to 45 days whereÂ employers are planning to make 100 or more redundancies.
AsÂ Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:
âAt a time when Britainâs economy has flatlined and jobs are in short supply, the Tory-led government isÂ trying to sneak through legislation to make it easier to sack workers.Â The government is giving bad bosses the green light to sack workers, then ask questions later.Â Â It is telling companies that they do not have to commit to Britainâs workers â in fact,Â Â the governmentÂ is offering a fast-track ticket to exitâ.
The Campaign intends toÂ fight to defend and enhance trade unionism,Â oppose all anti-union laws, as well as promote and defend collective bargaining across the UK, Europe and the World.
Trade unions worldwide are under attack by governments driving throughÂ the neo-liberal agenda to crush unions. In the EU, long held rights to national collective bargaining are being dismantled. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are using the crisis make it easier to sack workers.
In Mexico employers and the government are using legislation to break independent unions in multinational companies such as PKC and Honda; and in the US âright to work legislationâ is now being used in some states by right-wing governors to hit back at unions who delivered union votes for Obama.
The case for free trade unions isÂ unanswerableÂ â and the campaign intends to make the case for a new legal framework of trade union freedoms. We also will be campaigning for a return forÂ strong collective bargaining as good economicsÂ â a point that is has now become a part of mainstream thinking.
During the rest of the year the campaign will be holding meetings at the Durham Miners Gala, Tolpuddle, and fringe meetings union conferences and at the GFTU, TUC and Labour Party.
First published on Left Foot Forward, March 18th.