What do unions think of Labour’s manifesto?

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http://www.union-news.co.uk/breaking-unions-welcome-labours-manifesto/

Unions have welcomed Labour’s election manifesto, praising it as “impressive”, a “chance for real change” and “a real opportunity to build a better Britain”.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “This is an exciting and progressive platform on which Labour can fight the next election. It offers people a real opportunity to help build a better Britain.

“Jeremy understands how ordinary hardworking men and women are suffering in the Conservative Age of Austerity. David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May and Philip Hammond have pulled off the trick of redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich – the reverse of Robin Hood! – to bail out the fat cats and bankers who caused the economic crisis of 2008.

“In contrast Jeremy wants to rebuild Britain to create a fairer, more modern society, with a more productive economy, that delivers for all the people, not just the few, and is fit for the 21st century.

“We especially welcome the promise to bring Britain’s railways back into public ownership – a policy on which ASLEF has campaigned passionately ever since John Major’s ill-starred privatisation of British Rail in 1994 – and freeze passenger fares across the network.

“This is an exciting, and sensible, socialist platform on which any of the great Labour Party leaders of the past – Keir Hardie, Clement Attlee, and Harold Wilson – would have been happy to stand. That’s why I urge people to vote Labour on 8 June and help return a Labour government to build a better Britain.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Labour’s pledges to end the public sector pay cap, improve collective bargaining, repeal anti-trade union legislation and strengthen employment rights stand in stark contrast to the Conservatives’ bogus claims on workers’ rights.

“Labour’s manifesto sets out a clear commitment to many long-standing PCS industrial issues and demands, including an end to the privatisation of public services, renationalisation of public utilities and raising the pay of civil and public service workers.

“Tax reforms we have long campaigned for – including the ‘Robin Hood tax’ – offer the opportunity to ensure that those with the greatest wealth contribute more. Coupled with much-needed investment in HMRC to go after those who evade and avoid tax, these reforms will provide essential and much-needed investment in our public services.

“Plans to reform social security, including scrapping the hated Bedroom Tax, ending benefit sanctions and reinstating housing benefit for those under 21, are most welcome and signal a shift away from the policy of demonising claimants doggedly pursued by the Tories.

“Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have always shown great support for PCS campaigns and our members, and their pledges are in stark contrast to what the Tories have to offer. We have been clear that our message to our members is that another Tory government would be the worst possible outcome.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This is an exciting, ambitious vision for a big-hearted, inclusive Britain that will build better lives for the many not the few. What’s not to like? Of course, as the head of transport union which has long campaigned to see rail brought back into public ownership I am delighted on behalf of TSSA members to welcome Labour’s commitment to taking back control of rail from corporate franchise holders who for too long have been able to get away with extracting profit out of our rail system without having to plough back into it in investment.

“Great news that the construction of HS2 is to be extended into Scotland as is that HS3 and Crossrail 2 will also be built. Good quality rail links are at the heart of a modern economy and today we have been not just been given the plan but the commitment to bringing every area of Britain onto 21st century track.

“This manifesto will transform Britain’s rail industry and help underpin the expansion of a high speed, high-tech economy. Our members too will be delighted at the commitment to a £10 living wage which will lift so many of their fellow workers and family members off the bread line. The commitment to house building, an industrial strategy, NHS and public services shows Labour is putting people back at the heart of British economy, committing to giving the many a wage rise. This manifesto show working people are definitely better off with Labour. Bring on June 8.”

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “There are clear dividing lines for who to vote for in this election. Labour will invest in firefighters in order to keep people safe, whereas the Tories will continue to cut and decimate our service, putting public safety at risk.

“Having 3,000 more firefighters on the frontline is a promising start, and we welcome their commitment to review staffing levels across the service as a whole.

“Fire deaths have risen for the first time in 20 years since the Tories came to power, and response times to emergencies are getting slower. The service is in crisis and the Tories don’t have a plan to save it. Labour are the safe pair of hands who will deliver a properly resourced fire service to protect public safety.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “What Labour is doing today is what Labour does best – offering real change for the many in this country. Labour will invest in our people and build a Britain that we can all be proud of.

“For those who want to see our children given a chance, to see that work really pays, that our elderly and vulnerable are no longer degraded by government policy, then the answer is to vote Labour.

“For too long, working people have been at the sharp end of Conservative cuts and disastrous economic mismanagement – and they will be again if that party takes power on 8 June. The reality of Conservative rule is that for those not protected by power and wealth, life gets tougher.

“In every aspect of life – from an affordable home to a safe NHS, from a decent education for all our kids to a living wage and a decent job – the story of the Tory party is that our communities suffer. The Labour party will put a halt to this. Under Labour, working people and their communities will stand tall again.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Labour has produced a manifesto that delivers for public services. Ending the pay cap will make a huge difference for hard-pressed public sector employees. Proper investment in the NHS and social care will have a huge impact on patients and staff too.

“When the other parties unveil their manifestos later this week, they would do well to take a leaf out of Labour’s book – and stand up for public services and those who work in them.”

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “Labour’s manifesto is one that would practically change millions of lives. From social care, to housing, to Sure Start and our NHS – it’s a manifesto that makes sense for working people.

“It’s a manifesto about fairness and about helping real people to get by and get on in life. It’s not paying lip service to the issues people face, it’s taking them head on. The country is crying out for change. This is a manifesto that can deliver it. People need to get out there and vote for it.”

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “Universal Credit will plunge far more working families into poverty, which will be almost impossible to work their way out of. We supported the initial intentions of Universal Credit, to simplify benefits and improve incentives to work.  However, severe cost cutting has turned Universal Credit into a real threat to the incomes of low-paid working families,

“Although we won the argument on the proposed massive cuts to tax credits, forcing a u-turn from the Government; those cuts are still being applied to Universal Credit and will hit millions of working families over the next 3 years. This is a ticking time bomb that will leave many working families thousands of pounds worse-off when they are transferred onto Universal Credit.

“We are looking to a Labour Government to restore the original purpose of Universal Credit, to encourage entry to and progression in work. The low work allowance and high clawback of net earnings are particular disincentives to work. There needs to be a fresh look at what Universal Credit means in practice for low and middle income earners and get this troubled project back on track to support not penalise working families.

“Whilst the Prime Minister has talked about supporting families struggling to make ends meet, only Labour has the policies to provide crucial support to help make working family incomes meet the cost of living.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is an impressive set of pledges from the Labour Party. Their commitments to improve workers’ rights and drive up wages would make a real difference to millions of workers.

“There’s clearly a growing political consensus to address issues affecting working people. Decent jobs and fair pay must top of the list for the new government.

“Nobody voted for Brexit to lose their hard-won protections at work. That is why Labour is right to protect existing rights at work, and pledge to at least match future EU rights. British workers shouldn’t miss out on rights enjoyed by other European workers.

“With one in ten workers now in insecure jobs, it’s good to see a real attempt to improve workplace rights. Banning zero-hours contracts would give nearly a million workers the certainty and security they deserve. And abolishing employment tribunal fees would make it easier for people to defend their rights at work.

“Labour rightly recognises that Britain still needs a pay rise. Wages still haven’t recovered from the financial crash, and far too many working people struggle to pay the bills.

“Increasing the minimum wage, and expanding collective bargaining coverage, are proven and effective ways to drive up stagnating pay.

“And ending artificial pay restrictions in the public sector will stop the real pay cuts for public servants after seven long years. Hard-working nurses shouldn’t be forced to turn to food banks.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Labour’s commitment to British state ownership of our rail,  power and water, ‎as opposed to the foreign state-backed exploitation of our essential services supported by the Tories, shows that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is clearly fighting to protect our national interests.

“Labour’s manifesto recognises the dangers of Driver Only Operation and commits to safe and accessible railways for all.  The manifesto represents a massive boost for public transport after more than two decades of Tory privatisation and RMT welcomes this departure from the failed, profiteering model that has dragged Britain into the slow lane.”

Workers Rights Attacked. “Unity is our Watchword!” : Jeremy Corbyn

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Protecting the Workers

Trade Unions. They are part of the Labour movement, and we have so much to thank them for. They gave us the weekend, the eight-hour day, and the paid holiday. Now they need our help. Yet again, a Tory Government with an overall majority is trying to crush the unions. They want to be able to use people, as a cheap resource to deliver their wealth. They have no concern for safety, health, dignity or human rights.

Think Left’s article ( 114 year workers’ rights scrapped by coalition government) reveals how long-standing workers’ rights are being eroded by the Coalition government. With legal aid cut, high unemployment and rising costs of living, everyone can see people struggling. How many are aware of how poor workers’ rights and protection in the UK really are?

protection for permanant workers

It is no doubt politics which preys on disaster politics and fear. Fear and lies. The graph shows that protection of permanent working staff in the UK is appalling. The effect of Thatcher’s attack on trade the unions leading to decreased union membership can be seen in perspective. The power of money over the individual struggling alone is immense. One can see how struggling to feed one’s family puts worker against worker, and provides an opportunity for right-wing parties such as UKIP to move in on the scene.

The erroneous lines, “we’re all in it together”, and Cameron’s patronising Keep Calm Dear , while criticised and ridiculed are tolerated by those who believe austerity is necessary, and in  the myth of the need to cut structural deficit though several economists argue otherwise.

Unemployment

Recent figures show unemployment is on the rise again. Not only is this costly, it is a waste of human resources, has  an impact on mental health, and divides working people.

Recently, immigration has become an issue, because families are living in poverty, and are unable to get work.  Meanwhile, there are cuts to the social security protection because of government austerity measures which gives people no hope.  A divided working class is a malleable one. The Tories know that. Tony Benn knew. He said, “People who are poor, demoralised and frightened are easy to control.”  This whips up division and hatred like in the thirties. As Jeremy Corbyn said, “They are trying to reconfigure our society in the image of the 30s. I’m not sure if it’s the 1930s or the 1830s but certainly some kind of 30s.” And we know what that led to.

“The psychology of competition and love of Peace are uneasy bedfellows” Aneurin Bevan

Michael Meacher comments on the recent statistics

“UK unemployment, which is still as high as 1,850,000, is now starting to rise again.   Combined with the jobs standstill, the lack of momentum in pay makes this the most worrying set of labour market figures for a long time.   What is equally disturbing is that almost all the increase in employment since the 2008-9 crash has been accounted for by workers from the EU.   Employment among EU citizens born outside the UK has now risen above 2 million for the first time.   The latest figures point to falling demand for jobs, fewer hours being worked, and little or no evidence of a rise in pay.”

“In that first quarter employment among UK nationals fell by 146,000 while over the same period employment among workers from overseas rose by 91,000.   It also emerged that since 1997 the proportion of employment accounted for by non-UK nationals increased from 3.7% to 10.3%.” Michael Meacher MP

The government has just launched its latest salvo attacking our rights at work.

NUAW strikeThe government’s plans to cut rights for working people, are described in detail, in this document for the TUC (pdf link Trade Union Bill – TUC briefing )

The government expects the Second Reading on the Bill will take place in the House-of-Commons either in September of October 2015.

The main themes are listed here

  1. The proposals will lead to a serious imbalance of power within the  workplace, undermining effective negotiation between employers and unions.
  2. The Conservative proposals will undermine constructive employment relations, extending disputes and making it more difficult to achieve amicable settlements.
  3. The government is not interested in encouraging workplace democracy. Instead , they want to prevent midwives, fire-fighters, teachers and cleaners working within the Underground from protesting against cuts in jobs, pay and conditions.
  4. The right to strike and to protest are  fundamental rights which should be protected in a free and democratic society. The government proposals will impose greater restrictions on trade unions than any other voluntary secret membership organisations.
  5. The Conservatives claim to be the party of working people. However their proposals will remove  employees’ ability to achieve better working conditions and living standards.
  6. Employees will be able to bring in agency workers with a view to breaking strikes, regardless of the consequences for health and safety.
  7. Trade union protests and pickets will be subject to levels of public and police scrutiny and controls that go far beyond what is fair and acceptable in a modern democracy. These changes will also be a waste of police time.

These must be opposed, by protest groups, by trade unions, and also by the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn will stand alongside workers and supports Trade Unions. Unity is our watchword, within the Labour Party, and within the Movement. We need a strong opposition in parliament. It is not acceptable that MPs representing the heart of the Labour Movement are not wholly behind the defence of these fundamental rights. Following this leadership campaign, it is imperative that the Labour Party and the whole Labour movement are united in opposition. We need to be ready to oppose, because you can be absolutely certain that the Tories will be and they do not need any further advantage than they already have. Unity is our watchword. There are more of us, but we will only be heard by a cohesive opposition led by a strong leader, such as Jeremy Corbyn.

The government is trying to make it even harder for unions to collect fees from its members by banning public authorities from deducting fees-direct payslips. It’s designed to cut off yet more money from trade unions and hobble their ability to defend ordinary workers from bully boy employers.

It’s vitally important to show we will defend our trade unions from these government attacks. They’ve given us everything from the weekend to paid maternity leave. If they are hobbled by ideologically driven laws then bad employers across the country will be able to chip away at our hard-won rights.

“Sum of Us Campaign” is already nearly 80,000 people strong. Their campaign contact is listed below.

Our trade unions are worth defending. They protect ordinary workers — care workers, teachers, nurses, shop workers, cleaners — from poor conditions, low pay and unfair dismissal. But now they need our help. Share information, protest, and ensure that this time the government are countered by a strong, united opposition.

More information:

Tolpuddle, Thatcher, and the Worst Attack on Trade Unions in Thirty Years

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This weekend in Tolpuddle, trade unions will march  and recognise the sacrifices of the Tolpuddle martyrs who were transported to Australia for standing up for their rights to be in a trade union. As always the Tories try to divide the workers. We must not talk of divisions of North and South, of Scots and English, of public and private. Let us remember that the real divide is rich and poor.

tolpuddle-martyrsGod is our guide! from field, from wave,
From plough, from anvil, and from loom;
We come, our country’s rights to save, And speak a tyrant faction’s doom:
We raise the watch-word liberty;
We will, we will, we will be free!

George Loveless

Margaret Thatcher attacked the working class, closed down mines, factories, and ultimately British Industry. Nearly everything these days is imported, having been produced by cheap labour in appalling working conditions. The globalisation started thus. She left behind a wasteland, destroying hope for ordinary people. She could only do this by silencing opposition, and that is why she launched an attack on trade unionists. (See TUC History on Anti Union Legislation)

Cult of Greed

Today, the Conservative Government’s war on trade unionists continues, with the greatest attack on trade union rights in 30 years. When the only means of food and shelter is through working for an employer, everyone hopes for work. It has now been announced that unemployment is rising, now the highest level for two years.

Ultimately, the only tool workers have is the right to choose conditions by which their labour is sold. Without the right to withdraw our labour, we have lost any self-respect and there is little difference to slavery. “They are an attack on our fundamental rights.”

Today’s proposals , The scale of the reforms goes far wider than the previously trailed plan for strikes to be made unlawful unless 50% of those being asked to strike vote in the ballot.

  • At least 40% of those asked to vote support the strike in most key public service. In the case of 100 teachers asked to strike, the action would only be lawful if at least 50 teachers voted and 40 of them backed the strike.
  • The double threshold would have to be met in any strike called in health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy sectors – including the Border Force and nuclear decommissioning.
  • Propose that unlawful or intimidatory picketing should become a criminal as opposed to civil offence and new protections should be available for those workers unwilling to strike. A named official will be required to be available at all times to the police to oversee the picket including the numbers on the line, currently set at six, in an existing code of conduct.
  • Compel unions to renew any strike mandate with a fresh ballot within four months of the first ballot and give employers the right to hire strike-breaking agency staff as well require a union to give the employer at least a fortnights’ notice before the industrial action starts.
  • Empower the government to set a limit on the proportion of working time any public sector worker can spend on trade union duties.
  • Give the government certification officer powers to fine trade unions as much as £20,000 for breaches of reporting rules including an annual audit on its protests and pickets. The certification officer will also have power to initiate investigations and will in future be funded by a joint levy of unions and employers
  • Require a clear description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for.
  • Require all unions, not just those affiliated to Labour, to ask each existing union member whether they wish to pay the political levy and then repeat the question every five years. The £25m annual political fund income from 4.5 million political levy payers funds a wide range of political campaigning including being a chief source of funding for Labour.

Aslef boss Mile Whelan said: ” 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.  ‘It is ironic that this Government, in the year we celebrate the civil rights brought in by the sealing of the Magna Carta 900 years ago, is determined to bring in a law which strikes at the democratic heart of this country.’

 “Unite is not going to see itself rendered toothless by passively submitting to unjust laws. If the Tories wish to put trade unionism beyond the law, then they must take the consequences.”Len McCluskey Unite general secretary

UNion Attack
 From BHeard Media

Under these rules 270  Conservatives would not have been elected, so it is one rule for the workers and another for the Tories. This must be opposed. The Labour Party must lead that opposition to these proposals loudly and convincingly. They must stand beside activists and trade unionists, and I hope all of the leadership candidates will stand with the workers. Let us see who does. Let us unite against this draconian government.

Marching for the NHS in Manchester #saveourNHS

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Thousands are taking part in a union protest against austerity cuts and NHS changes ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

UNISON NHS

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said:

“The march and rally will allow thousands of ordinary people to show the government exactly what they think of their policies. 

“Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services, with 21,000 NHS jobs lost over the last three months alone. 

 

 

“The NHS is one of Britain’s finest achievements and we will not allow ministers to destroy, through cuts and privatisation, what has taken generations to build.” 

The Unacceptable Human Cost of Fashion – Take Action Now

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The Human Cost of Fashion 

In April over 1200 people died in Bangladesh when the Rana Plaza building collapsed. There has never been a clearer sign that all retailers need to dramatically raise their efforts to ensure that those making their clothes are doing so in safety and with dignity. (Going to Work – from the TUC)

 Meanwhile, at home the Coalition government’s stated  aim is a return to Victorian times – in their eyes a “golden age”, workers live in fear and gloom. Presumably History lessons at Eton did not include the realities of Victorian deprivation, and disease, and English lessons ignored Dickens.

“I don’t think there has been a better time in our history.” said Michael Gove Guardian Clearly Mr Gove’s history is quite different to mine, and to the vast majority of people living in the UK today. The Guardian article adds:  Cameron had stated that his goal is to defund and deconstruct the welfare state, to “dismantle big government and build the big society in its place”. His ambition is radical in the purest sense of the word, for it is a conscious attempt to turn the clock back to the historical period for which he feels the greatest affinity: the 19th century.

Victorian Britain was a land of laissez-faire capitalism and self-reliance. Government regulation was minimal and welfare was left to charity. With little tax burden and low labour costs, industrialisation turned Britain into the workshop of the world and created a thriving middle class. The state helped promote and safeguard trade through a bullish foreign policy that created a consumer’s empire. In 1839, we even went to war with China to force the Middle Kingdom to lift its ban on imported British opium.

The Coalition has already removed workers’ rights to health safety in the UK workplaces, and abolished the agricultural workers wages board. (See 114 year workers’ rights scrapped by Coalition government) Then UKIP, clearly trading on fear of unemployment and poverty, do not speak for working people. They are no party, but a bundle of individuals with extreme, bizarre attitudes, for example, Geoffrey Bloom, who advocates that employers should not employ women of childbearing age. As so many industries have been shutdown since the Thatcher years, we can no longer make garments at home, we buy-in fashion produced cheaply and unethically, thousands of miles away.

In Bangladesh, cheap clothes come at human cost as health and safety of workers has no importance resulting in the deadly fire where hundreds died.

After huge public pressure over 80 clothing brands – including H+M, Zara, Next, Primark, New Look and Debenhams – have now signed up to a union-backed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. It represents a big deal for Bangladeshi workers.

But whilst most UK retailers have stepped up to their responsibilities, there are a few major brands with factories in Bangladesh but who still refuse to sign. Prominent amongst these are 8 names you’ll probably know from your high street: River IslandMatalanBenchBank FashionPeacocksJane NormanRepublic and Mexx.

We need to send a clear message to these 8 companies, telling them there are no excuses left for ignoring safety standards and workers rights in Bangladesh. We don’t want any more workers to risk death or injury in making our clothes.

Please take a few moments to send an email to these companies, urging them to sign up to the Accord today.

Take Action !

Write to the 8 brands here now!

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.

tolpuddle-martyrs

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.

UNIONS TOGETHER051_n

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/

Robert Reich on the UK Economy

The debt and the deficit are reflections of the failing economy.  They are not the cause of the jobs and living standards crisis. We need to stop self-harming with ‘austerity’.

tradesunioncongress 

Published on May 17, 2013

Professor Robert Reich talks about what’s wrong with austerity and the current direction for the UK economy. Part of the After Austerity series from the TUC: http://www.afterausterity.org.uk