Today (Wednesday 27 July) in a lengthy interview with the Daily Telegraph - which is where most proposed government legislation seems to be announced these days - transport minister Grant Shapps announced the latest plans in the government’s campaign to outlaw unions.

Shapps said he was looking at banning certain strikes, cutting the right of trade unionists to picket workplaces and “outlawing intimidatory language” used by union leaders.

In a measured response to these draconian proposals Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “If Grant Shapps had his way we would all still be in the workhouse.

 “His intervention is just the latest in a growing list of political attacks on trade unions and the most fundamental rights held by working people.

 “Whilst this outbreak is clearly framed by a fashion parade within the Conservative Party, it is also deeply serious and shows just how out of touch our political class are.

 “The government has miscalculated. People can see behind the usual narrative of “union bad, boss good”. This is not the 1970’s. The cost of living crisis is the latest episode in a long term war on the living standards of workers.

 “For decades wages have been pushed down while profits for bosses and investors have gone up and up. Since 1975, the share of national income that people take home in wages has dropped by 10 per cent of GDP.

 “The economy isn’t working and trade unions are the last line of defence for workers.

 “When P&O sacked 800 workers at a moments notice, the company did not have to ballot anyone or petition the government to see if they could do it. It’s one law for the bosses and another law for the rest for us.

 “I will not apologise for demanding and winning fair pay rises for my members and any action to effectively remove the ability to strike will be met with fierce and prolonged resistance.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.