Fighting for fairness
I wholeheartedly agree with correspondent, Mick Mulcahy (WEP May 17), concerning the Tories Trade Union Act 2016. This grossly unjust legislation is yet another decisive boot in the groin of the trade unions, driven by a deep-rooted ideological hatred by the Conservative Party against a movement dedicated to pursuing and upholding the cherished values of fairness, justice and compassion within the workplace.
Since the dark days when the trade unionists were relentlessly persecuted and forced to operate in secrecy 200 years ago, through the evil transportation, incarceration and much, much worse, activists have faced generations of systematic and sustained attacks designed to crush the belief in collective solidarity, of which the current legislation is another disgraceful example. It beggars belief that here we have the most blatant, duplicitous contradiction. It was deemed perfectly acceptable to elect the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, by the use of electronic voting but which now is perceived as illegal in workplace balloting for a strike, simply because a high vote turnout could well reinforce a strike decision. It would appear that the only form of collective solidarity in the workplace acceptable to the Tories is the return to the ‘hire and fire’ and ‘plenty more willing to do your job’ days.
Trade unionists have paid a heavy toll over the years in helping secure conditions all of us, trade union members and non trade union members, take for granted today. The right to belong to a union, the abolition of child labour, the right to vote for all, the right to be paid in coin rather than kind, the right to paid holidays, the right to a safe and healthy workplace, equality for women, the right to not be discriminated due to colour, ethnicity, disability, religion and sexual orientation, and much more. Securing these rights has not come easily. From the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Shrewsbury Pickets, the ‘blacklisting’ of activists, the alleged injustice against the Orgreave miners and many, many more issues, legions of unsung heroes whose stories often remain untold and forgotten, have stepped up to the plate, confronted these travesties and took up the fight. For no matter how many times the Tories kick us down, we get up again, just as our forefathers did. We get off our knees because justice, fairness and equality are worth fighting for and this despicable anti-Trade Union legislation will never quash those ideals.
Jim Leigh via email
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