A new deal for working people and new freedoms for trade unions were called for today (Sunday 8 September) by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
He accused the Tory party of duping the public by blaming all the country’s economic and social ills on the trade unions.
Len McCluskey told the TUC at Bournemouth: “It seems that the Tories only know one answer to every problem – attack trade unions and workers’ rights
“The greedy bankers crash the economy – blame the unions.
“Rich men’s money corrupts our politics – attack the unions.
“Living standards are sliding – let’s have a go at the unions.
“I am sure if we have more floods in the winter, or England don’t qualify for the World Cup, then a Tory minister will be coming to the dispatch box proposing new measures to tie up trade unions as the answer.”
Len McCluskey was speaking on the Unite motion: Trade unions, new freedoms which calls for a new legal settlement to provide new rights and freedoms for trade unions and people at work, and the restoration of wages to proper and decent levels.
He said: “It was Tony Blair who boasted that Britain had the most restrictive anti-union laws in Europe, but there is no situation so bad that the Tories can’t make it worse. The laws drawn up by Thatcher and left in place by New Labour have been made still more onerous by this government.”
However, he said, that there is ‘a method in the Tory madness’.
He said: “They know that their system is in trouble. They know that their divine right to rule is being questioned across society. And they know that trade unions are at the heart of any alternative.”
Len McCluskey outlined the thrust of the new deal for working people:
- to challenge the establishment as to why British workers are treated so much worse than those elsewhere in Europe
- to expose the fact that the flexible labour market only brings benefits to bad employers
- to trumpet the benefits of collective bargaining and work to extend its reach
- to develop a real package of reforms that will liberate unions from the worst of the laws, and restore justice in the workplace.
For further information: please contact Unite senior communications officer, Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.