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.
In May, Bloomberg journalist Alex Morales asked Business Secretary Alok Sharma at the Downing Street press briefing whether, in light of government rhetoric about “working with unions” and valuing essential workers, the government still planned to bring forward new laws to restrict transport workers’ right to strike. We can only assume Sharma’s non-answer means “yes.”Continue reading “The Tories still plan new anti-strike laws”
TO ADD YOUR NAME, COMPLETE THE GOOGLE FORM HERE. On 3, 6 and 7 July, thousands of Tower Hamlets council workers are striking to stop the council’s “Tower Rewards” plan to sack its entire workforce and re-employ them on worse terms and conditions. This attack on the workers is bad enough. But on 3 JulyContinue reading “Sign the solidarity statement: no to strike-breaking in Tower Hamlets!”
As Tower Hamlets council workers begin a three-day strike to resist mass sackings, reports are coming in suggesting bosses from the Labour-run council have called the police on one of the picket lines. This disgraceful action seems to have been a response to bin workers in Unite refusing to cross the Unison picket line, anContinue reading “Police called on striking Tower Hamlets workers?”
Free Our Unions is encouraging supporters who are members of the Labour Party to vote for this submission to its Policy Forum. Please share the link in your local Labour Party and union networks. https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/commissions/repeal-all-anti-union-laws Although successive Labour Party conferences have passed policy calling for the repeal of all anti-union laws, Labour leadership figures routinelyContinue reading “Labour Party members: vote for this policy submission!”
Council workers in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets will strike on the 3, 6, and 7 July. They are fighting to stop the Labour-run council sacking its workforce and re-engaging them on worse terms and conditions. At an earlier stage of the dispute, the council had sought an injunction against one of theContinue reading “Tower Hamlets council workers to strike against sackings”
Supporters of Free Our Unions active in the Labour Party and in Labour-affiliated unions have been promoting the below text as the basis for a submission to Labour’s ongoing Policy Forum policy submission process. We encourage anyone who wants to see Labour take a strong stand against all anti-union legislation to adapt and use ourContinue reading “Labour Party Policy Forum proposal: repeal all anti-union laws”
Education workers at Goldsmiths university in south London have launched a marking boycott, as part of a fight to resist job cuts. Workers in the Associate Lecturer and Graduate Trainee Tutor roles launched the boycott, and have since been joined by fixed-term teaching staff. Their action has been taken “unofficially”, in confrontation with the anti-unionContinue reading “Support Goldsmiths workers’ action”
As protests continue in the USA and worldwide against racism and police brutality, we are beginning to see organised labour take action as part of the movement. During protests in Minneapolis and New York, members of transport workers’ unions refused to drive buses for arrestee transport. On 9 June, members of the International Longshore andContinue reading “Solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter strikers!”
We’ve uploaded a new version of our recent video, produced by supporter and RMT activist Janine Booth, with a new soundtrack: Billy Bragg’s ‘There Is Power In A Union’, used with permission from the man himself! Thanks for the music, Billy. Please share the video widely!
Workers’ action in the pandemic: organising against and around the anti-union laws An online forum organised by Free Our Unions Wednesday 24 June, 18:30-20:30. Log in via Zoom here. Facebook event here. Britain’s anti-union legislation exists to prevent workers taking swift and effective action. Workers’ action during the pandemic has either simply ignored that legislation, orContinue reading “Free Our Unions online forum, 24 June, 6:30pm”
This is a briefing for workplace activists on the differences between refusing unsafe work, as defined under health and safety legislation, and “industrial action”, under the terms of existing legislation including the anti-union legislation Free Our Unions fights to abolish. In legal terms, “refusing unsafe work” and “industrial action” are not the same thing! TheContinue reading “Refusing unsafe work, industrial action, and the law: a briefing for workplace activists”
Thanks to Janine Booth, railway worker, RMT activist, and supporter of our campaign, for this new video in support of Free Our Unions. Please share widely! Image credits:cromaconceptovisual (coronavirus and health workers), Clker-Free-Vector-Images (shackled hands and la lutta), OpenClipart-Vectors (strike triangle and voting) – all on PixabayRwendland / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) (Labour Party conference)
We’ve seen some articles recently arguing that “unions are back”, pointing to trade unions’ role in speaking up for workers’ rights, and against any reckless back-to-work drive from the government, for examples in schools, during the pandemic. Many trade unionists might respond: “We never went away!” Union reps and activists in workplaces across the countryContinue reading ““Unions are back”? Let’s fight to free them!”
Image: a socially-distanced picket line of postal workers, during a wildcat strike for workplace safety. By Riccardo La Torre and Sacha Ismail Originally posted on the website of the Fire Brigades Union, here. Since the Covid-19 crisis hit, many workers, including those working in hospitals, libraries, construction and in the postal service, have taken unofficialContinue reading “In the coronavirus crisis, do workers have the right to strike?”
For International Workers’ Day (1 May) 2020, Free Our Unions is calling on labour movement activists and supporters to raise their voice – in support of workers taking action in the crisis to stand up for their rights and for safety, and for the abolition of the anti-union laws which constrain such action. We say:“Support workers’ action for rightsContinue reading “This May Day, support workers’ action for rights and safety”