With the election of a hard-right Tory government promising new restrictions on the right to strike, it is more urgent than ever that the entire labour movement unites to resist anti-union laws.
Free Our Unions was initiated by The Clarion magazine and Lambeth Unison. It is now backed by dozens of unions branches, committees, and local Labour Parties. Four national trade unions – IWGB, FBU, RMT, and PCS – have supported the campaign via their Annual General Meetings and/or National Executive Committees. It was initially established to promote and amplify policies passed at Labour Party conferences calling for the abolition of all anti-union laws, not only the most recent, and to demand Labour fight for this policy in opposition and commit to enacting it in government. (For more background to the campaign, click here.)
Free Our Unions now plans renewed campaigning against the Tories’ proposed new laws, and is calling for united and coordinated activity between existing campaign groups currently active on these issues.
With the RMT’s strikes on the national rail and London Underground leading the way for what will hopefully become a summer of strikes, the labour movement must build solidarity for all workers’ struggles – and mobilise to resist the threat of new anti-union laws. The Tories have already responded to the RMT strikes by rushingContinue reading “As Tories threaten new anti-union laws, build solidarity for a summer of strikes!”
Momentum, the left-wing network in the Labour Party, is about to hold elections for its National Coordinating Group (NCG). Free Our Unions has worked with Momentum before, collaborating with the Fire Brigades Union in 2021 to submit a motion to Momentum’s Policy Primary. This year, we’re asking NCG candidates to commit to promoting strikes, andContinue reading “Momentum NCG candidates pledge”
We’ve produced a new leaflet to promote our campaign, which will be available on the TUC demo on Saturday 18 June and beyond. Download copies below for your workplace below!
The congress of the GMB union, Britain’s third largest, has resolved to renew the union’s campaigning against legal restrictions on workers’ right to organise and strike, after congress passed a composite motion from branches in Glasgow and Southampton. The motion noted the policy passed in 2021 on the same issue, and called for further actionContinue reading “GMB to renew campaigning against anti-union laws”
The recent congress of the University and College Union, held online from 1-3 June, passed a resolution committing the union to a strong stance, and campaigning, against anti-union laws. The motion was proposed by the UCU branch at Birkbeck, which recently voted to support Free Our Unions, as well as UCU University of Brighton (Moulsecoomb),Continue reading “UCU Congress takes strong stance against anti-union laws”
Hastings and District TUC has called a protest at Hastings Magistrates Court (Bohemia Road, Hastings TN34 1ND) for 9:30 on 29 June, when three GMB officials arrested on a Wealden council refuse workers’ picket line will appear in court. The organisers write: “Three GMB officials were arrested on the picket line at Amberstone Depot inContinue reading “Defend the right to picket: protest at Hastings Magistrates Court, 9:30, 29 June”
In response to the RMT’s national ballot of workers in Network Rail and 15 mainline Train Operating Companies, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the government will accelerate plans for new laws to restrict transport workers’ strikes. The plan is not new: the Tories’ 2019 manifesto included a commitment to implement the laws, which wouldContinue reading “As Tories reassert anti-strike law threat, unions must resist”
By a Free Our Unions supporter On 10 May, refuse workers in the Hertfordshire town of Welwyn Hatfield launched an unofficial strike to deal with a manager they said was sexist, racist, and bullying. A hundred refuse, recycling, and maintenance workers employed by commercial waste contractor Urbaser, members of Unite, refused to work and madeContinue reading “Welwyn walkout shows how workers can win”
In October 2021, Free Our Unions collaborated with Earth Strike’s “Empower the Unions” initiative to launch a statement calling for joint struggle between the labour and climate movements against anti-strike laws which constrain workers’ ability to fight for radical action on the environment. This online meeting, co-sponsored by Free Our Unions, Earth Strike: Empower theContinue reading “Online meeting, Tuesday 17 May, 7pm: Why the fight against climate change needs free trade unions”
Momentum, the left-wing organisation in the Labour Party, is conducting its second annual policy primary, to determine which motions Momentum will encourage members to submit to CLPs for submission to Labour conference. The Fire Brigades Union and North Essex Momentum have submitted the motion below, reaffirming previous conference policy calling for the repeal of allContinue reading “Momentum Policy Primary motion calls for repeal of all anti-union laws”
By a Free Our Unions supporterThe disgraceful sacking of 800 P&O ferries workers, and the subsequent union campaign to reverse it, show the abject inadequacy and weakness of existing employment legislation. P&O took their action in the full knowledge that it broke employment law. In the face of recent government threats to legislate to forceContinue reading “Solidarity with P&O workers! Defy the anti-union laws, and fight for their abolition!”
TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference fringe meeting, 22 March, 11:30: Disabled People for Free Trade Unions!
Free Our Unions is co-sponsoring a fringe meeting, along with the RMT’s Disabled Members Advisory Committee, at the forthcoming TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference. The meeting will take place on Tuesday 22 March, at 11:30, via Zoom. Speakers include: • Janine Booth, RMT Disabled Members Advisory Committee and Free Our Unions• Sarah Woolley, General Secretary, BakersContinue reading “TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference fringe meeting, 22 March, 11:30: Disabled People for Free Trade Unions!”
The University and College Union (UCU) branch at Birkbeck, University of London, has become the latest trade union branch to support the Free Our Unions campaign. Birkbeck UCU will also be sending a motion to UCU’s Congress which aims to commit the union to active campaigning on the issue of anti-union and anti-strike laws. FreeContinue reading “Birkbeck UCU says: free our unions!”
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps about the inspiring action of dockers who’ve blocked Russian oil and gas coming into the UK. Haigh says: “There is a real risk under existing laws that for taking a brave moral stand, trade unionists could risk litigation or other action for refusing to handle Russian cargo.Continue reading “Give workers who refuse to unload Russian fuel legal back-up: repeal the anti-union laws!”
By a Free Our Unions supporter Actions by UK dockers in Cheshire, Kent and Scotland’s northern isles to stop Russian fossil fuels from coming to the UK, in protest at the invasion of Ukraine, are part of a proud tradition of workers’ action here for political goals. The ILWU union in the US’s West Coast ports hasContinue reading “Political strikes, the war in Ukraine, and the anti-union laws”