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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.


Andy McDonald MP says: “Labour is committed to repealing anti-union laws”.

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections, has said “Labour is committed to repealing anti-trade union laws”. This is a welcome commitment; we urge Andy and the Labour Party to go further, and state concretely what this commitment means. Even under Jeremy Corbyn and even at the high point,Continue reading “Andy McDonald MP says: “Labour is committed to repealing anti-union laws”.”

Labour has clear conference policies on repealing ALL the anti-union laws. It should fight for them!

The Labour leadership is making a series of policy announcements about workers’ rights, coming out of the “Workplace Power” review overseen by Deputy Leader Angela Rayner and Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights Andy MacDonald. On Twitter, in response to a question from Momentum, and in an article on LabourList, MacDonald said that “LabourContinue reading “Labour has clear conference policies on repealing ALL the anti-union laws. It should fight for them!”

Support the Bexley refuse workers – rally at Bexley Civic Offices, 21 July, 6pm!

Picture taken from the Justice for Refuse Workers and Cleansers Facebook pageUnite reports “heavy handed policing” of the strike by refuse workers in Bexley, South East London, over the living wage, pay progression and back pay. Unite’s Ruth Hydon says: “We want to be very clear to the police that their heavy-handed approach to aContinue reading “Support the Bexley refuse workers – rally at Bexley Civic Offices, 21 July, 6pm!”

Labour Women’s Conference says: repeal all anti-union laws!

The Labour Party Women’s Conference, held online in late June, passed a motion demanding: “Repeal all anti- trade union laws and create new rights and freedoms for trade unions to help them win a better deal for working people.” This was part of a composite motion on “women and the economy”, which can be viewedContinue reading “Labour Women’s Conference says: repeal all anti-union laws!”

Empower the Unions launch videos now online

Free Our Unions is supporting Empower the Unions, a new initiative from Earth Strike UK, a group of anti-capitalist activists in the climate movement. The campaign aims to unite environmental activists and trade unionists to resist laws that prevent unions from fighting for the climate. Check out the Facebook page here. Videos from the onlineContinue reading “Empower the Unions launch videos now online”

Online meeting – 7pm, Tuesday 20 July (REARRANGED) – 1871 and the fight for free trade unions

Join the Free Our Unions campaign and the Fire Brigades Union for a meeting and discussion marking the 150th anniversary of the 1871 Trade Union Act, to draw lessons from the 19th century struggle for our fight against anti-union laws and for free trade unions for today. This meeting has been rearranged from 29 June.Continue reading “Online meeting – 7pm, Tuesday 20 July (REARRANGED) – 1871 and the fight for free trade unions”

Earth Strike UK: Empower the Unions – online rally, 2pm, Sunday 27 June

Free and active unions have a vital part to play in the just transition to a zero-carbon future. The anti-union and anti-strike legislation designed to suppress union activity is a direct obstacle to a greener world. Earth Strike UK: Empower the Unions is a new initiative by Earth Strike UK, supported by Free Our Unions. Empower theContinue reading “Earth Strike UK: Empower the Unions – online rally, 2pm, Sunday 27 June”

Video: Disabled people for free trade unions

The speeches from our May public meeting are now online. The meeting was co-organised with RMT Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee and Neurodivergent Labour, and featured contributions from: Mario Kyriacou, Tower Hamlets UnisonElane Heffernan, Disabled Members’ Rep, UCU NECJanine Booth, Secretary, RMT Disabled Members’ Advisory CommitteeDavid King, Chair, RMT Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee

GMB Congress takes strong stand against anti-union laws

The 2021 congress of the GMB, Britain’s third largest trade union, took place on 6-8 June. The congress passed the following resolution on the issue of anti-union legislation. Congress notes: • The Tories’ 2019 election manifesto included further attacks on the right to strike,i.e. the requirement for ‘Minimum Service Agreements’ in any railway strike, inContinue reading “GMB Congress takes strong stand against anti-union laws”

Online meeting, Tuesday 20 July, 7pm: 1871 and the fight for free trade unions

Join the Free Our Unions campaign and the Fire Brigades Union for a meeting and discussion marking the 150th anniversary of the 1871 Trade Union Act, to draw lessons from the 19th century struggle for our fight against anti-union laws and for free trade unions for today. Speaker: Simon Hannah, Lambeth Unison branch secretary, author,Continue reading “Online meeting, Tuesday 20 July, 7pm: 1871 and the fight for free trade unions”

Angela Rayner: “Repeal the anti-union laws of the 1980s”

In September 2014, Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner (then an official of public-sector union Unison, not yet an MP) spoke at a Manchester Trades Council public meeting about the need to repeal the many anti-strike/anti-trade union laws introduced by the Tories in the 1980s and ’90s, right back to Thatcher’s first Employment Act in 1980.  She wrote aContinue reading “Angela Rayner: “Repeal the anti-union laws of the 1980s””

The implications of the Police Bill for workers and unions

By Professor Gregor Gall, Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Leeds Though there are many different aspects to the 2021 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the Government has made it clear that those parts pertaining to public order result from its desire to clamp down on Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Black Lives MatterContinue reading “The implications of the Police Bill for workers and unions”

‘Solidarity at Work: The Case for Free Trade Unions’: a pamphlet from Thames Central CWU branch, 1997

Free Our Unions is proud to recirculate this pamphlet, written by Communication Workers Union (CWU) activists Maria Exall and Paul Moore, and published by the Thames Central branch of the CWU in 1997. The arguments within it still have resonance today, and give historical context for ongoing debates about how the labour movement should approachContinue reading “‘Solidarity at Work: The Case for Free Trade Unions’: a pamphlet from Thames Central CWU branch, 1997”