Published 3rd April 2019.
The following motion was proposed by the Fire Brigades Union to the Labour Representation Committee conference on 9 February 2019, and passed unanimously.
FREE OUR TRADE UNIONS
Repealing the anti-trade union laws and replacing them with strong legal workers’ rights is a decisive matter for our movement and a decisive test for a Corbyn government.
Many struggles are hindered by the anti-union laws. They make workplace-level struggle difficult. Our movement’s de facto acceptance of such rules has helped corrode its wider culture of self-activity, militancy and solidarity.
It would be extremely dangerous for a left-wing Labour government if workers’ hands are still tied behind our backs. Workers’ ability to organise and take action will be decisive to the success of Labour in office.
While we welcome the party’s recent commitments on workers’ rights, none are a substitute for further action. Labour Party conference policy passed in 2015, 2017 and 2018 – committing to repeal all anti-union laws introduced by Thatcher and Major as well as Cameron, and replace them with strong legal rights to organise, strike, picket and take solidarity action – must be campaigned for by the party now and implemented in full.
We welcome the establishment of the Free Our Unions initiative by Lambeth Unison and The Clarion – now backed by a wide range of union organisations. We will support and promote it as widely as possible. We will add the LRC’s name to the Free Our Unions statement and call on our affiliates to do likewise.
We will raise this issue with the Labour leadership, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, both of whom have a long record of campaigning on this.