Fighting For Freedom

UnknownFrom the RMT Newsletter

Unions launch united campaign to demand the repeal of anti-trade laws

The Campaign for Trade Union Freedom (CTUF), launched last month with the support of 25 national trade unions, began a fight to roll back the anti-union laws that have attempted to shackle working people in Britain since the 1980s.

RMT general secretary and CTUF president Bob Crow said that after 30 years of Labour, Tory and Liberal governments taking the axe to trade union rights, and using mass unemployment as a weapon to shackle working people, the CTUF must put the right to take solidarity action back on the agenda.

“The CTUF, already supported by over 200 local trade union organisations, will take our movement onto the front foot against those right-wing politicians agitating for more anti-union laws and will drive the fight to restore the workplace rights already snatched away,” he said.

Actor and jailed Shrewsbury picket Ricky Tomlinson also addressed the launch in London calling on the Labour movement to come together now to campaign for trade union rights.

“We need to protect trade union members when they take industrial action, to prevent them from being criminalised by the state.

“Without rights at work they will continue to imprison trade unionists, just as they did the Shrewsbury Pickets forty years ago,” he said.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warned that for more than three decades trade union rights had been cut away by successive governments determined to silence the voice of ordinary workers.

“The result has been a growing gap between rich and poor and a dramatic decline in the wealth that goes into the pockets of working people.

“The right to organise, strike and take solidarity action are fundamental tools needed for working people to attain a fair portion of the wealth they create.

“Only by winning back our freedoms can we win a fair settlement for working people. We support this important and timely campaign,” he said.

John Hendy QC said that as the government slashed and burned everything that made Britain a civilised country the trade unions had a vital role to play in Britain’s resistance but legislation has tied them in red tape.

“The founding of the CTUF marks the next phase in the struggle to restore trade union rights and their freedom to lead the fight for working class people,” he said.

Institute of Employment Rights director Carolyn Jones said without free trade unions, employment rights were almost useless – difficult to protect and increasingly expensive to enforce.

“Free unions protect and promote fair rights at work,” she said.

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