Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tories to attack the right to strike

The question we really should ask is when wouldn't a Tory party attack the right to collective action?

George Osborne's latest gaffe as some are calling it reveals the true agenda of the Conservatives. They have always fought hard against the right of workers to combine in order to improve and defend their hard earned terms and conditions. After 11 years of a Labour government you would have thought that workers would have cast iron legislation to protect them from the worst excesses of national and international capitalism.

Sadly workers I believe are in a much weaker position economically now then they ever had been in the last 30 odd years.The original laws set in place by the Tories to curb the power of organised labour plus the breakdown of industry and working class communities by their policies, has created this flexible world where workers are at the complete mercy of employers. The Tories know this and with Labour languishing in the polls its time to go for the jugular.

What is to be done?
Calling for the formation of a new workers party, while a bold and noble suggestion, is not going to stop Osborne getting his way at the next general election which will be within the next couple of years. It completely unrealistic and will take valuable activists away from the struggle to keep the Tories out.

Asking for left Labour MPs to break from the Labour Party and to be some kind of 'beacon' to attract votes is unrealistic either. For a start the non labour left themselves struggle to find enough activists as it is and unfortunately are seen as much too divided. The net result of left MPs splitting away would be that we lose these voices in parliament as they are crushed by the main parties.It wont stop Cameron and his clowns.

Currently the only show in town are the Trade Unions themselves and their political voice , the Labour Representation Committee. As as much as it pains me to say it, especially when I hear people like Hutton, Brown, Blears and Miliband etc, Labour has to be kept in if only to play for time while trade unions build up their strength to oppose the Bosses economically and to strengthen their voice politically. Workers must use the power they have through the Unions in their affiliation to the Labour Party, to fight for their policies even if it is through the National Policy Forums.

If that battle ground is what at the moment is what is left of the Labour Party, and yes it is in a sorry state, then so be it.

Just remember if the Tories do get in we could see the wheels taken off the current resurgance of working class militancy. If they do get in it will be if nothing had changed since 1997.

Think Australia, Howard and his Work Choices but without the effective campaigning which eventually kicked him out because the Tories would have pushed through legislation tobreak the link between the TUs and is political wing.


Duncan Hall said...

Apparently all CLPs are going to be getting the chance to submit amendments to policy documents straight after the election. I've blogged about it on Labourhome.

Shall we try and come up with a few things we'd like to see, here on Labour Left Forum? Obviously, following on from what you've said, the Trade Union Freedom Bill would be one such thing, perhaps combined with the Agency Workers Bill to make one big, showpiece 'Workers Rights Bill'?

Robert said...

I think in my area after going to my local Labour party meeting to have a pint, it was a sign of the times the meeting was called off due to lack of people, I still had my pint.

Robert said...

Also when people cannot strike the government then refused to pay then the wages given to them by the wage review group. I think Labour cannot say much about anyone right now, the fire men Labour MP's stated 16% pay rise was wrong, yes about as wrong as them having 60%

Curlew said...

Dunc, we need to get this fixed asap before we lose the next election and suffer years of Tory grinding the workers down. It'll be worse than Thatcher if our own party doesn't support the right to strike.

Duncan Hall said...

I absolutely agree Curlew!

I'll post up the text to the two main bills here in the next few days and invite comments.

(Robert - because Labour have got things wrong, doesn't mean we can't get stuff right; if it does, we might as well all pack up!)