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Trade Union Laws

The anti-trade union laws retained and introduced by the New Labour government relate directly to unemployment and low pay. The Socialist Labour Party is committed to scrapping these laws altogether. They have been a weapon used to frighten workers and their unions, and are designed to stop them taking action to protect jobs, decent wages and good conditions - including pensions and sick pay.

We believe that trade unions, controlled democratically by their members, are vital for a free and just society. British workers are being denied the human rights set out in the United Nations Charter and in International Labour Organisation conventions. Trade union activity has become in many cases a criminal offence. Workers are denied the right to effectively defend themselves or other workers without facing prosecution, and at the beginning of the 21st century we still have no right to strike in Britain.

Trade unions which seek to defend jobs, services or industries face massive penalties, including the freezing of union funds (sequestration) or even receivership - all designed to stop unions from functioning effectively on behalf of their members, or in support of members of other trade unions.

Tragically, many unions are failing to defend members against exploitation and abuse. The Socialist Labour Party believes that trade unions should refuse to co-operate with unjust laws. Defiance by the trade union movement as a whole would render government anti-trade union legislation totally ineffective - as it did over a quarter of a century ago in 1971 and again in 1984/85 during the great miners' strike.

Had this type of defiance been sustained and supported over the past 34 years, it would not only have saved the jobs of millions, but would have protected vital industries throughout Wales, Scotland and England from butchery. In place of these laws we support a programme of positive trade union rights, in line with the United Nations charter and ILO conventions.