Tories' anti-union laws

13 July 2015

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’union, has roundly condemned the Conservative government’s plans, leaked over the weekend, to bring in new laws on Wednesday to make it harder for trade unions lawfully to take industrial action.

Mick said: “As a trade union representing ordinary, decent,hard-working men and women doing a safety-critical job to ensure passengers get the first class public transport they deserve, we have serious fears over what this government is proposing.

“Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground;LU chief operating officer Steve Griffiths; London Mayor Boris Johnson; and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have all lied by claiming the current dispute with ASLEF over the Night Tube is political. It’s not political, it’s industrial. And started, as an industrial dispute, over terms and conditions,which LU are trying to change, long before the general election.

“I think it’s shameful that this Tory government is coming after the one group of people – the trade unions – who are able to standup for ordinary working people as well as the poor and the weak, the oppressed and the dispossessed. They talk about essential services. But all services are essential.

“It smacks of Germany in the 1930s when trade union leaders, and activists, were rounded up, and imprisoned, and, in some cases,executed. The Nazis banned unions, and strikes, in 1933 and that is what the Tories are trying to do now. They want to effectively neuter the unions – the only part of civil society now able to fight back – in Britain.

“The Tories are trying to smash the trade unions because they know we are the only thing that stands between them, and the class they represent, and a return to Victorian values – tax cuts for the bankers and the brokers who brought Britain to the brink, for a very few at the top of the pile, and a life on zero hours contracts and the minimum wage for the rest of us. There is you notice, no new law to deal with rogue employers who break agreements.

“It is ironic that this government, in the year we celebrate the civil rights brought in by the sealing of Magna Carta 900 years ago, is determined to bring in a law which strikes at the democratic heart of this country.

“Because it is the right of every worker to withdraw his or her labour. We are not slaves and this is not a slave state. No man or woman should be forced to work by the threats of a bad employer or a bad government.”

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