National Education Union annual conference 2019: Free Our Unions!

The following motion was passed at the 2019 National Education Union annual conference:

Motion to NEU conference: Abolish the anti-union laws
Submitted by Leeds

Conference notes
1. The large raft of legislation passed by Tory governments between 1980 and 2016 aimed at restricting legitimate trade union action.
2. The Tory laws have made solidarity strikes illegal and prevent unions taking political strike action. These laws prevent us striking to defend the NHS and prevent stronger groups of workers helping less well-organised workers.
3. The anti-union laws prevent effective picketing.
4. The Tory laws prevent unions taking prompt action involving us in long-drawn out, cumbersome balloting procedures.
5. The 2016 Trade Union Act stipulates high thresholds for turn-outs and ‘Yes’ votes in strike ballots and gives the state new powers to interfere in internal union affairs.
6. Unions which breach these laws can be liable to massive fines.

Conference further notes
1. Tony Blair’s New Labour government was proud to retain the anti-union laws.
2. Labour’s 2018 conference once again passed policy to abolish the anti-union laws: “Labour will form a radical government; taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.”
3. The Union membership has an immediate, pressing interest in seeing all the Tory anti-union laws abolished and replaced with a positive set of rights for workers: the righ to join an effective trade union, the rights to picket and strike.

Conference instructs the National Executive to
a. Work closely with the Labour leadership to see that Labour abolishes all the Tory anti-union laws.
b. Organise and lead vocal and active campaigning on this issue, explaining to our members, the wider movement and all workers why this is such a crucial demand; and encouraging our local organisations to campaign with other unions and local Labour Parties.

Amendment submitted by Southwark
Add new point at end of motion
c. Campaign for the labour movement to organise support for trade unionists taking action in defiance of the anti-union laws.

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