Pete Radcliff , Broxtowe CLP speaking in favour of Composite 3 into which the motion of my constituency was incorporated
Our trade union movement faces a battle for its life over the next few years. It is likely that we will again see trade unionists facing criminal charges and imprisonment for trying to defend their members.
But the problems of our trade union movement don’t only lie in the future they also lie in the past.
For years they have been trying to defend their members with their hands tied behind their back.
We have had to keep our union databases up to date with our members addresses and exact location of work – the smallest discrepancies have been used to discount the results of our costly postal ballots.
We have had to dodge any categorization of our strikes as political even though our members needed to defend themselves from the political actions of the government and their employers.
We are denied taking action in support of other workers, even though they may work alongside us and we share their problems.
Sympathy action, solidarity action, political action should be the democratic right of our trade unionists. Instead they are all currently illegal.
It is our duty to support workers who have difficulties defending themselves because of their responsibilities.
One of the proudest actions I ever took as a trade unionist was to have taken strike action – in the steel industry before Thatcher as near as damn destroyed it – in support of nurses and hospital workers in 1981.
The right to take such action was taken away from us during Thatcher’s onslaught on our rights.
We should celebrate the desire of workers to demonstrate solidarity in our movement.
We should not allow it to be remain illegal.
Our trade union movement should have had – and should have again – the right to question and take action against the political actions of their bosses.
Whether it be the privatisation of our services or the provision of arms and support to the prisons of the fascist, flogging and beheading Saudi Arabia -our trade unionists – our trade unions should have the right to take action.
And on that matter, can I applaud the actions of Jetemy Corbyn for speaking out against the Ministry of Justice’s contract to supply the Saudi prison system. For ISIS are not the only ones beheading and crucifying in the Middle East. Today, tomorrow or soon we may see yet another such atrocity on another young opponent of the Saudi regime.
Our trade unionists have the right, if they choose, to take solidarity action.
Democracy is not just votes in parliament – democratic rights, trade union rights should be the right of every worker.
Our trade unions as they move forward against this insidious Trade Union Bill need to know that this Party is behind them – and that we will restore the rights taken away from them in the days of Thatcher as well.
Let’s be clear in our support for them today. Please unanimously pass the motion.