Trade Union Rights

Photo: Hickey ScottPhoto: Hickey ScottTrade unions help thousands of people at work every year with a wide range of different problems. Examples of the some common issues in the workplace today include accidents at work, unfair discrimination in the workplace, pension schemes closing and manufacturing / service sector jobs being transferred to overseas locations.

Trade unions are crucial in defending workers' jobs, pay and conditions, acting to improve working conditions. Unionised workplaces are often safer places to be and their employees are often better paid. Workers in unionised workplaces are also more likely to benefit from training and development programmes.

The central function of a trade union is to represent people at work. But they also have a wider role in protecting their interests. They also play an important educational role, organizing courses for their members on a wide range of matters.

However, people in the UK are still not afforded basic trade union rights. Particularly since the anti-trade union laws introduced by the Conservatives between 1979-1995, unions are thwarted by deliberately complicated legislation which places unreasonable obstacles in the way of unions representing their members.

The TUCG believes that anti-trade union legislation must be challenged and replaced with a framework of positive rights.”

Below are some extracts from yesterday's opposition debate in Parliament on blacklisting:

Ian Lavery (Wansbeck) (Lab): "The blacklisting of trade unionists is an unfair and insidious practice that involves the systematic compilation of information about individual trade unionists by their employers and recruiters in order to discriminate against them, although not just because they are members of trade unions. There are people on blacklists who are not members of trade unions, but who have merely been to their employer and exercised their rights under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Mr Anderson) said. If there is something wrong in the workplace, there is a duty under that Act to report it. As far as we are aware, people have suffered the consequences of doing that"

John McDonnell MP (Hayes & Harlington) (Lab): "...I want blacklisting to be a criminal offence. I want people to go down for what they have done to working-class people in this country. I want legislation to be retrospective, and I want the burden of investigation to be placed not on the blacklisted worker but on an independent investigator so that we can make sure that these crimes are exposed. My hon. Friends have mentioned the Shrewsbury pickets, and there was a press conference this morning. Forty years on, they have not had justice. I tell you now, we will not rest on this side until we secure justice and proper legislation and we protect workers once again."

Steve Rotherham (Liverpool, Walton) (Lab): "I know from personal experience that those who found themselves on blacklists were the kind of workers who fought for a safer work environment for themselves and their colleagues. They were the kind of workers who did not turn a blind eye when the company tried to dock apprentices’ wages, or failed to pay the work force on time. What kind of Parliament would we be if we failed to stand up for responsible workers who have been punished by irresponsible companies for many years? We should all remember that blacklisting was not an act of blissful ignorance, but an act of blatant immorality. It should never be allowed to happen again."

The full transcript can be found at


Trade Union rights

Unions from the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) today united in condemning today's Government announcement that they will make it easier to sack workers, by halving the minimum consultation period from the current 90 days down to just 45.

TUCG unions also expressed grave concern over the proposal to exclude employees on fixed-term contracts from collective redundancy agreements when they reach the end of their current contract, further eroding the job security of staff in areas like hospitality or higher education where a high proportion of the workforce are on such contracts.

Michelle Stanistreet, TUCG Chair and General Secretary of NUJ said:

"The government has decided to reduce the consultation period available for redundancies by half - an appalling move that will damage vulnerable people at risk of losing their job.

"The purpose of the existing time limit is to allow for the chance to explore alternatives to redundancy. The move to cut time shows utter contempt both for basic employment rights and for those at risk of being put out of work."

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary PCS said:

"While handing tax breaks to millionaires this Tory-led government has announced policy after policy designed to make it easier and quicker to throw ordinary people out of work, and then ministers seek to blame them for being unemployed”

"The truth behind the government's ideological rhetoric is that undermining people's basic employment rights will not create a single job and will do nothing to improve our economy."

John McDonnell MP, TUCG Parliamentary Convenor commented:

“People were already feeling insecure about their jobs, with unemployment running so high. Making it easier to sack workers will do nothing to get people back into jobs, just the opposite. Coming in the run up to Christmas, this further blow to job security means hard working people have even more to worry about.”

Trade Union rights

Trades Union Rights News




TheCostofLivingCrisis-jpeg 1

By MIchael Calderbank

Foreword by Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary


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Based on research commissioned by the TUCG, the book examines why costs have risen for all items of expenditure, ranging from housing and child care to food and transport. He makes practical proposals on how these costs can be reduced. He also delivers an uncompromising message to the leaders of all mainstream Westminster Parties: it is time to end the politics of austerity, an ideological project to cut the size of the state permanently.

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