Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, is today expected to strongly criticise the government’s new measures on strike action in a keynote speech to the TUC Congress 2015 ahead of the second reading of the Trade Union Bill.
The TUC have released a statement in which they state that Ms O’Grady will say that history will remember the Conservative government’s Trade Union Bill as the biggest attack in thirty years, not just against trade unions, but against the country’s best chance of raising productivity, pay and demand.
Whilst acknowledging that nobody would deny that strikes can be inconvenient, O’Grady will claim that when it comes to a threat to the fundamental right to strike, the public are with the unions and the Government is attacking the very principle of the right to strike.
“If David Cameron was really battling for blue collar Britain, he’d be fighting for stronger rights, to stop bosses getting away with pitting worker against worker to undercut pay.
“He’d be fighting for an investment plan so our young people get good job opportunities.
“But the Conservative Party no longer represents the interests of industry in general. Its main purpose is to serve just one. Global finance. It’s become the political wing of the City of London. Money – and only money – talks in today’s Conservative Party. The national interest trumped by vested interests. The common good sold for a quick buck.”
O’Grady believes that unions can play an important role in raising productivity, and insists that productivity also means fair pay and secure contracts, time to spend with your family, a voice at work and respect for a job well done.
“Britain’s unions don’t just want a fair share of the cake for workers. We know we have to grow the cake too. There is a better plan for Britain. And the government should talk to businesses and unions about how to deliver it.”
It is felt that the election of Jeremy Corbin as leader of the Labour party is likely to signal a renewal of the traditional bond with unions, with the Trade Unions Bill high on the agenda this week.