UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Q: What do unions stand for? A: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity

In recent days conservative commentators have been quick to condemn the British trade union movement. Christopher Caldwell writing in the FT asserts that trade unionism ‘cannot be the force to restore balance to western economies’ and writes off unions as government concessions that marked the Industrial Age, much as mercantilist companies marked the Age of Exploration’: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f47ff54-a42a-11e0-8b4f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1R9W9Wn8r

Therefore it is timely that leading labour movement figures Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC are planning to launch a bold restatement of the core mission of trade unions ‘Liberty, Equality, Solidarity – A Manifesto for Trade Unionists’.

Not yet available on line, the manifesto will assert that ‘a spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of economic stagnation, public spending cuts and unemployment.’ Trade unions and collective bargaining have a key role to play in the process of recovery which must be based on ‘raising wages and equalizing incomes; stimulating demand and creating jobs; enhancing employment security and stability in people’s lives; increasing tax revenue and reducing welfare dependency; and eliminating social distress and avoiding social unrest’.

UNISONActive will report further on this important initiative which will evaluate working life in modern Britain, assess the Con Dem response and make the case for trade unions, trade union rights, collective bargaining – as well as recovering and restoring those rights in Britain.