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

Monday, 22 October 2012

Trade Unions are Capitalists? Pull the other one!

These days the notion of a Tory trade unionist is as contradictory as a meat eating vegetarian. Yet it wasn't always the case, as UNISONActive recalled in a 2011 blog post http://unisonactive.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/lost-world-of-tory-trade-unionism.html

Robert Halfon Tory MP for Harlow (author of a Demos pamphlet 'Stop the Union Bashing' http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/stoptheunionbashing ) has entered the debate and claims in a Spectator article that 'trade unions are capitalist, community-minded, and Conservative'

Halfon welcomes union membership services such as education and legal advice and swims against the Tory tide in pointing out the mutual benefits of union facility time (although he refers to unstated 'abuses'). His assertion that unions are capitalistic simply for ensuring workers are not overpaying tax (by helping members receive the appropriate work related tax allowances) is absurd and, of course, in supporting an opt in to the political levy, Halfon shows that he is no less reactionary than other Tories who want to silence the political voice of trade unions.

In fact Halfon is a wolf in sheep's clothing and few trade unionists will be seduced by his blandishments as he clings on to his marginal seat in Essex.