UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.
Monday, 14 April 2014
In a 'back to basics' speech she called for a new manifesto for negotiating rights.
"These rights must be enforced and enforced together-we should not accept half measures or other attempts to distract us", she said.
She was backing a motion from the General Council backed by Unite, PCS, RMT and the STUC youth conference which called for:-
- legislation that seeks to respect, promote and develop collective bargaining in accordance with international law;
- enforcement powers to ensure employers comply
- a ban on the use of union busting firms;
- law to make collective bargaining is a pre-condition in awarding public contracts;
- a statutory scheme of sectoral bargaining, responsive to the needs of each sector, with Wages Councils instituted in those sectors without the infrastructure to support collective bargaining.
Jane laid out the basic trade union rights we must campaign for. She called for: "The right to collective bargaining to be underpinned by other fundamental labour rights."
Her full speech follows:-
"Jane Carolan UNISON, Supporting Composite B
In particular supporting the need for a new manifesto for collective bargaining
And for the right to collective bargaining to be underpinned by other fundamental labour rights
The right to organise unimpeded by the blacklist organisers or the union busters
And the right to strike, the fundamental right to withdraw labour
These rights must be enforced and enforced together-we should not accept half measures or other attempts to distract us.
Collective bargaining is essential for the regulation of working conditions and for achieving higher wages.
It is no coincidence that the rise of neo liberal ideology has coincided with the fall in collective bargaining coverage from 82% of the workforce to 25%
The share of national income going to wages as opposed to profit has fallen
And within that fall the proceeds of economic growth go to a small percentage of high earners while real income falls for the rest of us with one fifth, twenty per cent of the workforce on less than poverty wages
Thatcher's reform of trade union law must be seen wit h her zeal for privatisation and free markets. Constraints on labour costs and impediments to free labour markets had to be removed.
That started with a disregard for and the dismantling of collective bargaining
It continued with attacks on trade union rights and facility time.
Now it continues with pay restraints and a public sector pay freeze shortly to be challenged by our members in Health and LG.
But it also continues in outsourcing in zero hours contracts and in recent changes to TUPE.
Fragmenting the workforce
Undermining collective strength
Collective bargaining is now essential for our economy
-To raise wages, and thus stimulate demand and increase employment, while also ensuring an increased tax take and a lower benefits bill
Collective Bargaining challenges inequality and is a force for social justice
Collective bargaining provides a collective voice for the workforce and the basis of industrial democracy.
As a movement we must stick to these clear demands as our basis for achieving a better deal for the working class of this country."