Birkbeck UCU says: free our 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.

Free Our Unions recently participated in a teach-out at a Birkbeck UCU picket line, with Birkbeck worker and UCU NEC member-elect Rhian Keyse and RMT activist Daniel Randall leading a discussion.

Birkbeck UCU strikers and supporters, including UCU NEC member-elect Rhian Keyse, with Free Our Unions co-organiser and RMT rep Daniel Randall, following a Free Our Unions teach-out at the Birkbeck picket line on 28 February

The motion the branch passed, and their submission to congress, are below. Why not pass something similar in your union branch?


Campaign to repeal all anti-trade union laws

This branch notes:

1. The impact of anti-union laws inhibiting our and other workers’ recent struggles.
2. The threat of new “minimum service” legislation during transport strikes (which could be extended to other sectors).
3. 2019 Congress policy reiterating opposition to ALL anti-trade union laws.
4. That TUC Congress and Labour conference voted to campaign to repeal all anti-union laws and their replacement with positive workers’ rights, including strong rights to strike and picket. However this has remained on paper.

This branch believes:

1. That workers cannot fight disputes with our hands tied behind our backs.
2. That UCU should campaign strongly on these issues.

This branch resolves:

1. To bring a motion (Appendix 1 below) to Congress 2022 calling on UCU to strengthen its campaigns on anti-union laws.
2. To affiliate to the Free Our Unions campaign.

Appendix 1 – Draft Congress Motion: Campaign to repeal all anti-trade union laws

Congress notes

1. The impact of anti-union laws inhibiting our and other workers’ recent struggles.
2. The threat of new “minimum service” legislation during transport strikes (which could be extended to other sectors).
3. 2019 Congress policy reiterating opposition to ALL anti-trade union laws.
4. That TUC Congress and Labour conference voted to campaign to repeal all anti-union laws and their replacement with positive workers’ rights, including strong rights to strike and picket. However this has remained on paper.

Congress resolves:

1. To start campaigning, actively and vocally, for the repeal of and resistance to ALL anti-union laws and for a strong right to strike, including by: producing a leaflet; organising a week of action; organising an activists’ day school; and a joint union conference
2. To stand in solidarity with RMT, which has pledged to defy any “minimum service requirement”, and to support their campaigns against this legislation.

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