Defending the right to take action

Defending the right to take action

27 February 2014

by Glenis Willmott MEP,  Labour's leader in Europe

This week in the European Parliament, Labour's MEPs defeated the latest attacks on the right to strike.

We have voted against plans to undermine strike action on Europe's railways. Right wing parties had sought to set a requirement for train companies to provide a minimum service during transport strikes.

Labour's MEPs had already challenged these proposals in the committee stages, however one form of the proposals was put to a vote of MEPs on Tuesday, where they were finally defeated. We asked for a separate vote on that particular issue and built alliances to ensure this time we were successful in eradicating it entirely from the text. The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, however, voted for the anti-strike clause to remain.

Labour's MEPs also tried to strengthen the legislation to ensure terms and conditions would be protected for staff when a service is switched over to a new operator. Unfortunately we did not get this through as once again the Lib Dems and Tories would not support us.

This latest attempt by right-wingers to undermine the right to strike follows London mayor Boris Johnson's desire to ban tube strikes, and the Tory party's wish to set minimum (very high) turnout levels for strike ballots.

Though we have got rid of the minimum service requirements from this legislation, we must remain ever vigilant to the increasingly vicious attacks on our fundamental working rights, including the right to strike. These actions show just how laughable it is that the Tories are seeking to rebrand themselves as 'the Workers' Party',


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