TORY PM Cameron and ex-TUC leader Brendan Barber have ‘put their differences aside’ and joined forces to write a joint article published in The Guardian yesterday calling for the UK to ‘REMAIN’ in the EU.
Barber led the TUC from June 2003 until his retirement at the end of 2012. This has prompted Brexit campaigners to claim that there is a Barber/Cameron unholy alliance – part of a ‘dirty deal’ with the TUC in return for concessions in the Trade Union Bill.
Tory MP Bernard Jenkin said he had been told No 10 had offered concessions ‘after discussions with trade union representatives’, adding that, if this is true, it would amount to the ‘sale of government policy’ and show that ‘this government really is at the rotten heart of the European Union’.
In their article, Cameron and Barber argued that leaving the EU would risk jobs, hold down wages and lead to higher prices. On the issue of workers’ rights, they say: ”While the two of us may disagree about quite how far this process should go, being in Europe has helped to deliver many of the crucial rights that underpin fairness at work.’
They say ‘very special circumstances’ have brought them together, adding that they are ‘united in our conviction that Britain – and Britain’s workers – will be better off in a reformed Europe than out on our own’.
TUC leader O’Grady has welcomed the concessions made in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon when the government announced that it is to hold an independent review within six months which will report to parliament about whether to allow electronic voting on strike ballots.
She said: ‘We are pleased that ministers have listened to reason.’ As well, O’Grady spoke about another concession that will delay imposing a cap on facilities time in the public sector. She said: ‘We are also pleased that ministers have backed away from imposing a cap on union facility time having originally planned to introduce this within six months of the Trade Union Bill becoming law.’
In fact, the TUC General Council met on Tuesday, where it discussed a letter from the PCS and the FBU urging the TUC to call a Day of Action including industrial action in support of the junior doctors. The TUC refused to act on the letter and call a Day of Action.
With the Tories about to discuss and take decisions on the anti-union laws in the afternoon, the TUC General Council decided that it would look the other way as far as the junior doctors were concerned and instead cultivate its developing alliance with the Tory government.
Large numbers of trade unionists will be disgusted by this conduct and demand a recall of the TUC Congress to sack O’Grady and ally the unions with the junior doctors.