Get Together! – Now we need Trade Unions like never before.

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 Get Together! – Now we need Trade Unions like never before.  

From @Earwiggle

Trade unionists remember the Tolpuddle martyrs of the 19th Century. In 1834 six farm labourers were fighting for the right to be a member of a trade union in order to improve working conditions. They were convicted and transported to Australia. These sentences provoked an angry response and what followed was an uprising which led to mass trade unionism.

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Margaret Thatcher attacked the Trade Union movement, because she knew that the working class and the Labour movement were united in strength. Under Thatcher, membership of trade unions  fell. Ironically, David Cameron’s policies, supported by The Liberal Democrats are breathing new life into trade unions, as working people recognise the need to be  organised and to  unite , as human rights and civil liberties are being crushed. The individual worker is very vulnerable under this government.

Today, trade union membership is growing, up in May for the first time in a decade.

There has been an erosion of workers’ rights, to a level not seen since Victorian times, (114 year workers rights scrapped by Coalition Government)  and wages are cut while the cost of living rises.  Pensions are attacked,  and workers forced to continue working to old age, whether they want to or are able to work.This all amounts to class-warfare, at a time when the rich grow ever rich and governments protect the status quo.

Apathy of workers allows this. There are more of us. Collectively, our voices are deafening. Global corporations can exert and power and lobby parliaments, because they have the power of finance but they represent a tiny minority. Ultimately, money is nothing, and growth and development is only achieved by the labour, knowledge and skills of working people. Without those, society will fail.

There has never been a time when working people need the protection of a trade union more. Today, it has been announced that individuals are to be charged a fee for employment tribunals.

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From Monday, workers in the UK will be charged a fee to bring a claim, a fee if the claim is heard and a further charge if they want to appeal against the decision.

Lawyers are predicting widespread chaos as charges are introduced for those pursuing sexual harassment or race discrimination complaints. Trade unions say the move – which ministers claim will save money for businesses and taxpayers – is the latest attack on workers’ fundamental rights. (Guardian)

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Today is a great day for Britain’s worst bosses. By charging upfront fees for harassment and abuse claims, the government is making it easier for employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.”

  • People bringing employment tribunals must now pay a fee for the first time since they were created in the 1960s.
  • Under the new UK rules, they will have to pay £160 or £250 to lodge a claim, with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead.
  • The higher charges will cover cases like unfair dismissal, the lower ones issues such as unpaid invoices.
  • Employers welcomed the fees as a way of “weeding out” weak claims, but one union said the move was “draconian”.
  • The Unite union said the measures would make British workers “some of the worst protected in the EU”.
  • The FSB hopes the introduction of fees will curb the number of speculative claims and help reduce the perceived risk of taking on staff. ”
  • Another union, the GMB, will stage a protest outside an employment tribunal in central London later.

This is an outrageous announcement on top of the withdrawal of legal aid, the abolition of the agricultural workers’ wages board, the stripping away health and safety equality laws which have taken generations to achieve. This is the last straw. We need to get together and to challenge this government.

Under the Tories, justice now comes with a price tag.
Your rights at work – worth fighting for.
Join the campaign: http://www.yourrightsatwork.org.uk/

Let’s have Tony Benn’s Democratic Revolution. Now.

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Let’s have Tony Benn’s Democratic Revolution. Now.

From @Earwiggle

The  most revolutionary idea is democracy. If you have power, you use it to meet the needs of your community. As Tony Benn explains here  “People who are poor, demoralised and frightened are easy to control.” This is how the very rich exert control – ensuing people are so downtrodden, so much ridden by debt, misery and pessimism, they have no desire to vote. “If the poor were to turn out and vote for people who represented their interests, that would be a real, democratic revolution.

The Capitalist idea of choice is a myth, if you are poor, you have no freedom to choose. A healthy, educated and confident nation is harder to govern. Disaster politics keeps people fearful.

Policies of the  Coalition government are widening the gap between rich and poor. Increasingly, high standards of education, and health provision are becoming  out of reach of ordinary working people.

To lift the spirits of working people, to give hope to those without work, the hungry, the homeless, and helpless, is the challenge to our political representatives. Ordinary working people who understand people’s needs, have empathy and the courage to change the system should be given a voice in parliament. If it is Labour who will be given that voice, they need to convince a demoralised, disillusioned electorate to use their votes and oust this awful government. The People’s party, the Labour party, should be giving a platform to ordinary men and women. Then people will come out and vote in their droves, and learn to believe in a better future, just like they did  in 1945.

Labour must show they have the courage to challenge the establishment, reject neoliberalism, and the system which is corrupt, selfish and greedy. We need to hear convincing policies  from Labour which reject austerity , and the deficit lies . Be brave, Labour. We need that democratic revolution now,  for all our sakes.

References and Further Reading