Thursday, 31 May 2012

Forthcoming Events

Executive Council By-election Hustings Meeting

The hustings to select the United Left candidate for the vacant Regional seat on the executive council will take place on Saturday 2nd June at 11-30am. A room has been booked at Leeds TUC, 88 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN.
Each prospective candidate will be allowed 5 minutes to speak followed by questions from the floor.

Next Regional Meeting

The next United Left regional meeting will be held on Saturday 7th July beginning at 12 noon. The venue is Leeds TUC, 88 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN. This meeting will serve as the AGM for 2012 with elections for:
Chair, Regional Coordinator, Treasurer and a Regional United Left coordinating committee to oversee the work of United Left within North East, Yorkshire & Humberside.
Also on the agenda will be a discussion on the Area Activist Committees with a view to rejuvenating them and promoting activity in the community.
Durham Miners Gala
Durham Miners Gala 2012 is being staged on Saturday 14th July.
Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey will be attending and the region has organised a function at the Three Tuns in Durham for the Friday night.
Several National Industrial Sectors are meeting in Durham so that delegates can take part in the historic march from the town centre to the parade ground.
North, East Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Committee
Motion to Policy Conference

TRADE UNION FREEDOMS

UNITE The Union demands that trade unions must have their freedoms and rights restored in line with ILO Conventions 86 and 97. These are basic human rights in a civilized democratic society.
Workers need the right to organise in the workplace to secure justice and respect, remedy wrongs and hold employers to account. Above all, workers need to have the ability to bargain for better wages and conditions, and have the right to collectively withdraw their labour in protest.
Before trade unions were fettered by Thatcher’s anti-union laws, which were subsequently endorsed by 13 years of New Labour, collective bargaining covered over 80% of the workforce. Free trade union power ensured that wealth was more fairly distributed and working people not only enjoyed a better share of the nation’s wealth, but also enjoyed enhanced political power too. Indeed in 1979 when Thatcher first came to power it is no coincidence that Britain was the most equal society in Europe with some of the most progressive social policies in the developed world.
Central to this is the issue of facilities time, which is crucial in order for trade unionists to effectively carry out their duties: this is being increasingly attacked. Recent Labour Research Department findings have shown that trade union activists make the best employees and add value to the British economy: in general, trade unions are a force for good in society, promoting justice and equality, promoting social progress, redistributing wealth and achieving gains for working people.
However, thirty years of attacks on trade unions have resulted in less than 30% of the workforce covered by collective bargaining. Weaker trade unions, facing massive legal obstacles to stage legal strike action, are much less effective at regulating wages today. Working people’s share of the nation’s wealth has shrunk as a direct result and over the past few years is now actually falling in real terms.
Meanwhile the wealthy are enjoying a bonanza at our expense. Top directors’ pay is increasing at almost 50% per year and top bankers are again enjoying multi-million pound bonuses. In contrast to 1979, Britain is now by far the most unequal society in Europe and the gap between rich and poor is accelerating at an alarming rate. It is also true that as trade union influence has declined, working people have less political power than before and the political consensus has shifted far to the right.Indeed all three political parties swung behind a neo-liberal agenda.
Strong trade unions with a fighting back agenda can make a difference industrially and politically as UNITE is now demonstrating. We are actively organising the unorganised once more, building power in the workplace and supporting our members to fight for better wages and conditions. We are forging ahead with a bold political strategy to reclaim the Labour Party for working class values.
But our task will be made much easier if we have the freedom to withdraw our labour and the right to regulate wages in the economy once more. We therefore resolve to intensify our campaign to create a new legal framework for trade union freedoms in the interests of civilized society, equality and justice and for the promotion of basic human rights and democracy.

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