Labour’s conference policy is to scrap the anti-union laws

Lambeth UNISON welcomed the policy passed at the 2017 Labour Party conference to scrap the anti-union laws from the 1980s up to the recent Trade Union Act and to introduced a bill of workers’ rights instead.

Below is the text of the motion

Composite 4: Workers’ Rights

Conference notes
• The 715,000 increase in people employed on zero-hours contracts between 2010 and 2017 based on Office of National Statistics figures published on 16 August 2017.
• The publication by the Government on 16 August of the list of 233 employers who have underpaid the National Minimum or Living Wage
• On 4th September, the first ever McDonalds strike in Britain, in Cambridge and Crayford: previously un-unionised workers organising into a union demanding £10ph, with guaranteed secure hours and union recognition.
• The ongoing, year-long struggle by Picturehouse cinema workers (part of Cineworld) to win the Living Wage, decent maternity and sick pay, and union recognition.
• The Welsh Assembly voted to exempt devolved public services from the Trade Union Act.
• Unison’s successful Supreme Court challenge on Employment Tribunal fees.

Conference is concerned that more than 13,000 workers have been underpaid by around £2 million, which the Government acknowledges as a record high, that the Conservative Government’s attitude to so-called ‘red tape’, employment rights and enforcements has led to unethical working practices rising.

The Supreme Court Employment Tribunal fees decision fails to address the prevention of access to justice for individuals who lodged mandatory pre claim conciliation through ACAS but were denied access to justice because they were unable to pay the employment tribunal fees. We call on Conference to support a campaign to remedy this injustice.

Conference believes uncertainty from zero and short-hours contracts and the excessive use of agency and temporary contracts has a corrosive impact on the lives of working people. People working regular hours should have a right to be automatically offered a contract reflecting their normal hours. A victory at McDonalds for BFAWU members would be a victory for the whole trade union movement; and that swift and urgent action is needed to tackle underpayment.

Conference opposes the cynical practice of bogus self-employment which denies workers employment rights including the minimum wage, holidays and sick pay and enables companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Proper, proactive enforcement of all employment rights, through higher prioritisation and increased Government funding, is needed to stop companies ignoring their statutory obligations and protect workers from exploitation. Conference supports the Ethical Employment in Supply Chains Code of Practice developed by the Labour-led Welsh Government which requires employers to commit to decent employment standards in order to bid for public contracts. Conference recognises the world of work is a key political issue and calls on Labour and affiliated unions to develop a joint campaign against insecure work, promoting trade unions and the action Labour will take, and encourage CLPs and MPs to support local action by workers.

Our manifesto rightly said: the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is collectively through a union. Strong unions, freed from legal shackles and bolstered by positive legal rights, will be key to tackling poverty, insecurity and inequality, transforming society and creating an economy that works for the many, not the few. For unions to be effective, workers need an effective right to strike. Conference welcomes the vision Labour offered to workers in the General Election and will build on this including commitments to:

• improve enforcement of the National Minimum Wage
• support workers’ struggles for workplace rights to a safe, secure, intimidation free working environment
• pursue policies for £10ph living wage and scrapping zero hours contracts
• limit the excessive use of agency workers
• tackle the overuse of short hours contracts
• introduce a statutory right to contracts that reflect the hours a person normally works
• support trade unions taking action against insecure work
• repeal the TU Act and anti-union laws introduced in the 1980s and 90s
• introduce a strong legal charter of workers’ rights to unionise, win recognition and collective bargaining
• use devolution and local government to demonstrate Labour’s commitment and determination to improving job security
• promote trade union rights, access to workplaces and collective bargaining

Mover: USDAW
Seconder: GMB

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