The TUC has responded to the Tory government’s ‘Minimum Service Levels: issuing work notices’ document outlining how a trade union should operate as a ‘Labour Front’ for the bosses.
Its response is to try and make suggestions how the union busting plan could work! It begins with the fatuous. This is that ‘The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone.’
It adds, still looking for a deal with the bosses, that: ‘We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48-member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.’ It adds: ‘The right to strike is a fundamental British liberty that is a vital part of ensuring a fair balance of power in the workplace.’ It insists that it is definitely not trying to get rid of the employing class!
The TUC aim turns out to be a ‘fair balance of power in the workplace’. It adds that this ‘is protected by the Human Rights Act, Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 87 and Article 6(4) of the European Social Charter and is therefore a core part of the UK’s international commitments.
It adds: ‘While taking industrial action is a last resort for workers seeking to bring an employer to the table for meaningful negotiation, workers’ ability to withdraw their labour underpins the successful resolution of many disputes before strike action has taken place.’ The TUC wants a right to strike, without actually striking!
It adds: ‘Therefore, the TUC strongly opposes the introduction of minimum service levels,’ as ‘draconian, unnecessary and unworkable’.
The TUC’s line is that the measure will cause more strikes and be bad for the bosses. ‘Ministers already know that the introduction of minimum service levels could lead to prolonged and more frequent disputes: a government impact assessment has warned of this risk.’
The whole document is full of pleas to the bosses not to ignite the greatest class war in the history of the UK working class, pleading for the government to act to ensure that the guidance ‘states that work notices should not be issued where an employer can meet a minimum service level without one’ and emphasises the need for ‘employers to seek voluntary agreements ahead of imposing work notices’ and to ‘provide trade unions with sufficient time to respond to consultation and place greater obligation on employers to take account of their views’.
The employing class has declared a vicious and violent war on the working class, and the TUC limits itself to pleas to the bosses not to do it.
It pleads: ‘The TUC has warned repeatedly that the making of minimum service levels by ministers and the issuing of work notices will damage workplace relations in any situation.
‘But by suggesting to employers that work notices can be issued to workers where this is not necessary to meet a minimum service level, the guidelines risk exacerbating the damage to industrial relations.’
However, while the the TUC is fiddling, Rome is definitely burning! ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan was interviewed by Trevor Phillips on Sky TV yesterday. He revealed that the government and rail privateers in England have signed a deal not to settle a pay deal with the railway trade unions.
Whelan said: ‘The people we work for are the Avantis and those privateers that have been in our industry for the past two and a half decades.
‘They are all making hundreds of millions of pounds of profits. They are all making dividend payments to shareholders while underpaying their workers. When you get to the best part of half a decade without a pay rise, I think we’ve got the right to ask for one.’
He added: ‘I don’t have a problem in Scotland, I don’t have a problem in Wales, I don’t have a problem with freight, I don’t have a problem with Eurostar, Elizabeth Line, Open Access. We’ve done 14 pay deals this last 12 months.
‘I have a Westminster problem where the employers signed a rather corrupt deal with the government not to give us a pay rise.’
Phillips said: ‘When you say corrupt. That’s quite a big charge. What is corrupt about the deal?’
Whelan replied: ‘Now we’ve got companies who bear no revenue risk, have no penalties for not running trains or for cancelled trains, who are making more money than they ever made before, they are at the behest of the government not paying the train drivers.’
Whelan revealed that while: ‘We’ve been bargaining with each company separately because of the privatised nature of our industry. What they did was sign up collectively with the government to obviate that process. Now that was deceitful.’
It is clear that the Tories want to destroy the trade unions. This is why the TUC must be forced to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a Workers Government and socialism.