Steve Gillan, chair of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, tells UnionNews why a trade union presence is needed now more than ever before
This week all eyes were on Manchester for the Tory Party conference, but it was the march of more than 80,000 people against austerity and government reforms of strike laws which was the real talking point.
Since 2010 the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, alongside other unions and campaigning organisations, has fought the onslaught of the Tories’ ideological attacks on hard-working families, pensioners, refugees and disabled people and now our presence is needed more than ever.
The TUCG comprises of nine trade unions: BFAWU, FBU, NAPO, NUJ, NUT, PCS, POA, RMT and URTU and represents almost one million trade unionists across the UK.
In recent years our campaigns have focused on pay, privatisation, pensions and employment rights, as well as hosting events across the UK promoting our member unions unified ‘anti-austerity’ campaigning.
With the Tories elected for another term in May, the TUCG knew our movement was top of their hit list with BIS minister Sajid Javid confirming that ‘militant unions’ would no longer be able to call a strike based on a ‘tiny minority’ of membership support. The Tories were elected based on securing 24% of those eligible to vote; hypocrisy at its best.
The Tories now plan on ripping up the already alarmingly restrictive trade union rulebook, replacing it with legislation that is a blatant attack on the ability of the working individual to remove their labour and question authority.
The TUCG believes the Tories’ extreme plans will crush the ability of working people to defend their rights at work as well as their living standards, which have already been ravaged by the ConDem government of 2010-2015 who slashed benefits, pensions and pay.
With confirmed cuts to the benefit system, a further freeze of public sector pay as well as huge departmental cuts predicted in the Chancellor’s comprehensive spending review, the TUCG believes an organised trade union presence is needed now more than ever.
The TUCG hopes to bring together unions, community groups and campaigning organisations at our event in Parliament on Tuesday to first and foremost fight for our fundamental human right to strike.
The TUCG hopes this event will galvanise those in society who feel that they have no voice to join in the debate, join a union and become active in the fight against the Tories who want to smash the working class, the vulnerable and poor into submission.
The TUCG believes we all have a voice and that united, we can fight back!
- The TUCG will hold a demo on Old Palace Yard, Westminster at 5pm on Tuesday 13th October followed by a rally in Parliament at 6pm with contributions from member unions, supportive organisations, employment law experts and MPs from Labour, SNP and the Green Party. All welcome.
Steve Gillan is general secretary of the POA and chair of the TUCG
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