Unite to resist anti-union laws

Free Our Unions activists are looking forward to participating in the conference held on 3 February by the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and Institute for Employment Rights. We encourage all supporters of our campaign to attend the conference if they can.

We’re also reaching out to those campaigns to propose united activity to resist anti-union laws. See below for our open letter, which we’ll be distributing at the conference.

Comrades,

The Tories’ Minimum Service law, already making its way through Parliament, threatens to undermine our already heavily restricted right to strike even further. Senior Tories have promoted plans for even more extensive restrictions to follow.

RMT’s demonstration at Old Palace Yard on 2 November, prior to the TUC’s lobby, was the first piece of union-led, on-the-streets activity against the new laws since the Minimum Service Bill was proposed in Parliament. Prior to this, the 10 October demonstration at BEIS, organised by ourselves along with Earth Strike, was the first demonstration on this issue since then-PM Liz Truss announced the bill.

Much, much more is needed.

Almost every union has policy to oppose not only the proposed new laws, but all existing restrictions on rights to organise and strike. To stand any chance of stopping new laws from being implemented, or even blunting their worst elements, we need those policies to be enacted. And, if new restrictions are implemented, our movement will be in a better position to subvert and defy them if it has spent the previous period organising an assertive, visible fight against the laws. Campaigns like ours can help catalyse the resistance we need, led by unions themselves. We can do this most effectively if we work together.

Our aim should not to be to act as bodies to whom unions can outsource their campaigning on this issue, but to give rank-and-file trade unionists support in mobilising within their unions to ensure unions themselves are using their substantial reach and resources to organise campaigning directly. This could entail producing joint materials, including motions, briefings, and other literature, for activists to use in branches and other union committees. We also propose a joint committee, open to all labour movement activists who want to organise on this issue, to build towards a national, union-led demonstration – something several unions, including RMT and Unite, have policy to organise.

We look forward to participating in the discussions at the CTUF/IER conference, and hope we can work together to build a movement of resistance to all anti-union laws, and for a full right to organise and strike.

In solidarity,
Free Our Unions

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