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Commerce unionists are mobilising to defend the appropriate to strike

Subsequent week, on Saturday 27 January, the entire union motion will come collectively to march in Cheltenham and arise for the appropriate to strike.

Cheltenham holds a particular place in our motion’s historical past. Forty years in the past – on twenty fifth January 1984 – Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative authorities attacked commerce union rights at GCHQ.

Union members at GCHQ – many based mostly in Cheltenham – had been informed to resign their membership or be sacked. However after a protracted and heroic marketing campaign they had been reinstated when an incoming Labour authorities repealed the ban in 1997.  

Over the 13 years, marches and rallies often passed off in Cheltenham commanding big help. The fortitude of the employees and their households was unwavering, and it impressed the solidarity of the entire union motion.

Forty years later, that spirit and battle is required as soon as extra. This time over 5 million employees face dropping their proper to strike because of the Conservative’s draconian Strikes Act.

The Tories’ Strikes Act is poisonous, unworkable, undemocratic and sure unlawful. And it’s a brazen try to attempt cease working folks successful higher pay and circumstances.

The imposition of minimal service ranges implies that when employees lawfully vote to take strike motion they may very well be informed to attend work – and sacked in the event that they don’t comply. That’s why at our particular Congress, we made clear we’d do all the pieces in our energy to defend that proper to strike. It’s a cornerstone of our democracy.

We received’t be intimidated by this authorities, and we received’t be bullied. We are going to defend the appropriate to strike in any respect prices. And we is not going to relaxation this pernicious laws is repealed from the statute books. 

This actually issues. If the Tories get their means – we should always anticipate additional assaults on the rights of employees and commerce unions in different sectors up to now unaffected.   

The federal government needs to make use of this spiteful new invoice as a Computer virus for different anti-union measures, together with an tried clamp down on picketing. 

Our public providers are crying out for funding to deal with the recruitment and retention disaster they face.   However, as a substitute, the Conservatives are in search of to poison industrial relations with the end result that providers deteriorate much more, all pushed by an unelected and out-of-touch prime minister who has misplaced the boldness of the British folks. 

We received’t let this occur. We are going to use each lever at our disposable to defeat these unworkable – and nearly actually unlawful – new legal guidelines. We are going to kick off a nationwide marketing campaign of naming and shaming any employer or public physique that makes use of this laws.  We’re actively exploring authorized challenges to carry the federal government to account.

And the complete power of the entire union motion will stand behind any employee disciplined or sacked for exercising their proper to strike.  

Please be part of me – and commerce union members from throughout the nation – on Saturday the 27th of January 2024 as we march and rally in Cheltenham to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the GCHQ trade union ban

Let’s channel the spirit of these courageous GCHQ employees and present our collective defiance in opposition to the Tories’ assault on the appropriate to strike.   

Paul Nowak is common secretary of the Trades Union Congress

Picture credit score: Garry Knight – Public Domain

The publish Trade unionists are mobilising to defend the right to strike appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK's progressive debate.