Collective Bargaining

11 October 2013

Mick Whelan has endorsed the Institute of Employment Rights' new Manifesto for Collective Bargaining. The IER website today announces:

Railway union ASLEF has announced its official support for the Institute of Employment Rights' latest package of policy proposals Reconstruction After Crisis: A Manifesto for Collective Bargaining.

In its report, the IER puts forth a detailed guide to the implementation of wider collective bargaining in the UK in a flexible and gradual manner. The aim is to reduce income inequality – and thus strengthen the economy – in way that can only improve wages and conditions and create new jobs.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: 'Since ASLEF was founded in 1880, we have always sought, and fought for, the right to collective bargaining in the railway industry, and we believe the Institute of Employment Rights' proposals in the Manifesto for Collective Bargaining are a realistic and promising method of implementing this.

'Employers, and right-wing governments that represent their interests, hate, and try to undermine, collective bargaining agreements because, at heart, they want to hire and fire at will and pay as little for our labour as they can. The attack on collective bargaining in this country by big business and the Conservative Party has resulted in the deterioration of the terms and conditions of employment of many working men and women.

'That’s why, after the privatisation and fragmentation of our industry, we want full sectoral bargaining for the railway.'

John Hendy QC, a barrister at Old Square Chambers who practises in the field of industrial relations, and co-author of the manifesto, said: 'A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining - that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis.'

Keith Ewing, Professor of Public Law at King's College, London, and the other co-author, said: 'There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State.'

John and Keith have written an article about collective bargaining, based on their manifesto, for the next edition of ASLEF Journal.

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