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, in the
absence of which the strike would be deemed illegal.
• In the run-up to the 2019 election a planned CWU strike for which the union had an
overwhelming mandate from its members was ruled unlawful, were it to go ahead, on
the basis of an interpretation of anti-union laws dating from the 1980s by the courts.
• Reports that, following Brexit, the Tories are planning major attacks on workers’
rights in the workplace, including the Working Time Directive.
• The widespread use of ‘fire and rehire’ by employers during the Covid-19
pandemic, and the more general attack on workers’ terms and conditions in the
course of the pandemic.
Congress believes:
• Free trade unions, unshackled by restrictions imposed by the state, and not subject
to restrictions on the right to strike, are essential if the labour movement is to be an
effective campaigning force
Congress therefore:
• Welcomes and supports Labour Party policy in favour of scrapping all Tory anti-
trade-union laws.
• Agrees to campaign against the introduction of new anti-union laws and to
campaign for the scrapping of all anti-union laws.
• Agrees that such campaigning should involve, but not be limited to:
– Production of GMB campaigning material explaining the case for opposing new
anti-union laws and for scrapping existing anti-union laws.
– Production of GMB campaigning material specifically for use by GMB delegates to
Constituency Labour Parties, for use in their CLPs.
– Coverage of the campaign in regular GMB publications.
– Lobbying of MPs to demand that they oppose the introduction of new anti-union
– Lobbying of MPs to demand that they support strikes in their constituencies by
turning up to picket lines, in recognition of the democratic right to strike.
– Approaching other unions which have the same or similar policies in order to
pursue joint campaigning.
• Agrees also to campaign for a comprehensive charter of workers’ rights to be put
on the statute book, including the right to strike without legal impediment, and
covering both individual and collective rights

This Congress calls on the GMB to support any Trade Union affected by the Anti-Trade Union Laws.

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