TUC Congress, which was held online again this year from 12-14 September, has passed a composite motion which “resolves to campaign for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws and for the positive legal rights for workers to take action”.
The motion was proposed by Unite and seconded by the Fire Brigades Union. The text quoted was submitted by the FBU (full composited motion below; for links to the motions which were composited together see here).
This reaffirms the more detailed policy proposed by the FBU and adopted by TUC Congress in 2019. In 2019 Unite actually got a few words inserted to water the policy down, so this seems like a step forward.
We are also encouraged to see such a clear stance against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which as our briefing by Gregor Gall explains poses a huge threat to workers and trade unions specifically.
But passing policies at conferences can only be the beginning of a fight. The TUC now needs to organise active campaigning to resist the Police Bill, and push back against restrictive anti-union and anti-strike laws.
• See also: The UnionNews report on the TUC policy.
C11 Tory attacks on our rights: defend democracy, trade unions and the right to protest
Congress notes that the increasingly authoritarian legislation introduced by the Conservative government poses a threat to the UK’s democracy, and our fundamental civil and human rights.
Congress believes that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a huge attack on the right to protest effectively, while the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill licences undercover operatives from state agencies to commit criminal offences in the course of their deployment.
Congress notes that many MPs and civil society groups have raised concerns about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill being rushed through without proper scrutiny, despite being widely seen as harmful to democracy and human rights.
The Tories are centralising wealth and power. They are terrified of the threat of growing discontent and protest against their policies of the vicious cuts that we have seen over the past decade, their cuts to come, and the dangerous ‘divide and rule’ strategy they have embarked on.
There is growing opposition to this draconian agenda throughout the labour movement, civil society and communities, defending the right to resist this government. The trade union movement has a proud history of protesting – and advancing the right to protest – as part of the struggle for worker and democratic rights in this country, from the Suffragettes and Tolpuddle Martyrs to the poll tax revolt, Fridays for Futures and Black Lives Matter.
Congress believes that trade union activity will be targeted by the Tories’ authoritarian measures and that unions must be central to the fight to defend democracy.
Congress resolves to:
i. campaign with civil society groups against specific measures of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, mobilising trade unionists for campaign events, including a joint union rally, and against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill
ii. oppose and actively campaign against any attempts to scrap or curb the Human Rights Act
iii. campaign for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws and for the positive legal rights for workers to take action.
Seconder: Fire Brigades Union
Supporters: UNISON, Public and Commercial Services Union