On 11 February 2016 as part of I Heart Unions week, members of Napo attended the Trade Union Rally at Hamilton House. Listening to a mixture of MPs – mainly Labour and SNP – Trade Union General Secretaries and activists thrashed it out against the Trade Union Bill or as I like to call it “the Anti-Trade Union Bill.”
There was a major sense of collectivism with an activist from Right2Strike stating she didn’t think she would ever be in agreement with Dave Prentis (Unison General Secretary). However, all in attendance at the packed hall agreed that if the Tory Government did give concessions these would not be enough. The overall sentiment being: “We do not want this Bill, not one drop of it.”
Dave Ward of the CWU stated that it is not enough to defeat the Bill but to repeal all anti-Trade Union laws. The consensus was if Labour did get into power again, Trade Unions would not allow what occurred before: Blair acting passive on this front and for the Tory Party to be re-elected and finish us off. We want all anti-Trade Union laws repealed.
A Trade Union Activist from Spain attended and spoke about the Airbus Eight. She informed us all of how Franco’s laws were being used to imprison Spanish Trade Union Activists for striking. Apparently 300 Trade Unionists are under police investigation and facing sentences as high as 8 years. She also reported police brutality towards strikers; surely this would never happen here right? Battle of Orgreave anyone? No of course the British Establishment wouldn’t do that to us? Would they?
Angela Eagle MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Business said the Trade Union Bill was, “Vindictive, petty and based on a hook or by crook mentality”. She even reported that Nick Clegg former Deputy Prime Minister is totally against this draconian Bill. Ms Eagle then reported there are many Labour Lords in the House of Lords so we still have the capacity to destroy this Bill. It’s time we start writing to them. The ethos of the Rally was that the Bill is being used to destroy the Trade Unions, weaken workers and weaken any opposition to the Government. So we need to fight fight fight. Watch this space.
David Masterson London Branch
NAPO Vice Chair London CRC