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31 October 2019updated 24 Jul 2021 5:47am

At this election, voters can reclaim their workplace rights

A Labour government would enhance the power of the unions and transform the British economy.

By Dave Ward

The fight of our lives is upon us. In the coming general election campaign, we will see two competing visions fighting it out. One is a defence of the stale status-quo and out-of-control capitalism. The other is an offer of hope, that things do not have to be the way that they are right now. This campaign offers us a once in a lifetime opportunity to elect the most radical and transformative government that this country has probably ever seen. It’s not just about kicking out the Tories – it is about resetting our country so that it works for working class people.

I will be doing all I can to support Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party because I believe that their offer to rebalance our economy in favour of working people is one that cannot be turned down. Over the last few years I have been passionately arguing for a new deal for workers that will transform the lives of working people across the country. Our campaign has seen tens of thousands of people get behind our pledges to end exploitation and offer more power to those who feel completely powerless. 

There is no doubt in my mind that Labour is promising the single most ambitious programme to shift the balance of forces in the world of work, to grow trade unions, to enhance collective and individual employment rights, and to end the race to the bottom. The pledge to put power in the hands of workers and not the born-to-rule establishment is not just a slogan, it is backed up with real policy that will deliver real change It was only last month that Labour announced its incredible plan for a Ministry for Employment Rights and a Workers’ Protection Agency. The Ministry will be responsible for delivering the biggest extension of rights that our country has ever seen, rolling out individual and collective rights at work that will be enforced by the new Agency to ensure that these rights are meaningful. 

Labour’s bold offer to introduce sectoral collective bargaining will tip the balance of power away from bosses, and in favour of workers. Offering workers and unions the opportunity to negotiate collective agreements across a whole sector is a massive move that would guarantee a legal minimum for every employer in the sector to adhere to on a core set of issues, including pay, working hours and recruitment and grievance processes. And, importantly, this will unleash the power of the trade union movement to operate as the representatives of working people in Britain. 

When it comes to unleashing the power of the trade union movement and the members that we represent, nothing can be more important than freeing us from the shackles of the 2016 Trade Union Act. Labour’s pledge to repeal this Tory attack on the trade union movement is one thing, but they will go much further. Whether it be allowing electronic and workplace ballots, giving trade unions the right of entry to workplaces so that we can organise and meet with members and potential members, or strengthening the protection of union representatives against unfair dismissal, Labour has a thought out plan that goes beyond simply repealing the Act. 

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It is clear that Labour are ready to put power back into the hands of working people in a way that we have never seen before. I have outlined just some of the policies that the party is proposing in order to completely overhaul the world of work in modern Britain. For our union, Labour’s plan to renationalise Royal Mail could not be more relevant given our current dispute with the employer. Whether it be the pledges to enhance rights at work, or to completely alter our economy, it is this radical Labour agenda that is the antidote to our current woes.

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