THE REPORT outlining government proposals to smash up any rights workers have to secure employment and legal protection from unfair dismissal finally saw the light of day on Monday.
Commissioned by Tory Chancellor George Osborne last year, the report into employment legislation was written by Adrian Beecroft, a major donor to the Tory Party and a multi-millionaire venture capitalist, and it reflects very directly the intentions of the bankers and financiers towards the working class and its unions
Beecroft is proposing to completely smash up every right to job protection that the working class and the trade union movement have won since their creation in the nineteenth century.
Out goes the right to unfair dismissal claims, claims against discrimination on the grounds of sex and the right to transfer terms and conditions when a worker is forced to move to another employer (TUPE regulations). There are also restrictions on the amount of compensation a worker can claim in the unlikely event that they are permitted to go to an Employment Tribunal.
Out will also go the current law requiring employers to notify trade unions ninety days in advance of their intentions to introduce redundancies – this would be replaced by a mere thirty days.
What comes in is nothing less than a hire and fire regime in the workplace where workers can be sacked at will. This is quite clearly an attempt to turn the clock back to the days before trade unionism.
The only way that capitalism can hope to survive in the world crisis is by dumping the full effects of it on the backs of the working class and driving them back to conditions not seen in over a hundred years, this can only be done by taking on and smashing the trade union movement.
This report sets out the legal framework required for the class war being prepared by the government. However, if the Tories and their LibDem partners are preparing for war the same cannot be said of the leadership of the trade unions who are clearly not prepared for any kind of real fight.
Responding to this report Len McCluskey, leader of the powerful Unite union issued a press release, that, while correctly describing it as ‘the worst attack on our employment rights in a generation,’ went on to ignore its real content.
McCluskey said: ‘Beecroft’s proposals would be disastrous for the economy, they will not create a single job.’ He went on: ‘Beecroft is a venture capitalist who profits from sub-prime loans to needy people, he hasn’t got a single idea how to create jobs.’
This spectacularly misses the point. These proposals are not designed to create jobs, capitalism in crisis is destroying jobs not creating them.
McCluskey, along with the TUC leadership, has declared that the unions will fight these proposals, but what kind of fight they are prepared to lead is made clear in this press release when he says: ‘We welcome Vincent Cable’s opposition and we urge him to do everything in his power to kill off this report’.
The press release ends with the announcement that Unite will be mobilising its membership for a TUC demonstration on the 20th of October against government cuts.
The struggle, as far as the trade union leadership is concerned, against the ‘worst attack on our employment rights in a generation’ is to rely on appeals to Cable (the government’s Business Secretary) and a demonstration in London on a Saturday in five months time.
There can be only one answer to this report and that is for the trade unions to immediately mobilise their entire strength in a general strike that will kick out the government and their venture capitalist friends and go forward to a workers government and socialism.