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Tuesday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Features

Why is it as soon as PM got a chance he went for the trade unions? By NUM national secretary Chris Kitchen

Before the dust has settled after all the name-calling and ridiculing between opposing political parties, who do they go after first?

They are straight in with the boot to kick trade unions. They don’t shy away from it either.

There is no sense that they ought not to rock the boat. In fact they want to permanently sink the boat.

I sometimes look at trade unions as lifeboats. When workers join one they have at least the protection of having somewhere to go when the going gets rough.

The Tories don’t hide what they think of trade unions.

They make no secret about using legislation to nullify them.

It seems that they are not the slightest bit concerned about breaking United Nations conventions the British government is already signed up to.

The Tories stick to those who support them, and if trade unions are a thorn in the side of the owners and controllers, then the thorn has to be removed.

Why, when Labour was in power, did it not remove legislation introduced by Tories that was contrary to international law and conventions?

If laws make unions ineffectual they will cease to help defend and advance workers’ terms and conditions and hence cease to exist.

Trade unions are needed more than ever and their history of struggle demands that we make a stand and fight back.

That may sound rich coming from a trade union that has a diminishing number of working members, but the alternative of not fighting back will lead inevitably to our extinction.

Over the years there have been many examples of “company unions” and “yellow unions,” even in coalmining.

History tells us that these so-called unions worsen terms and conditions for workers and benefit the owners and controllers.

Trade unions will have to take up the fight, not least because their members demand it.

Laws designed to nullify us are introduced in advance and will be implemented when the owners and controllers feel strong enough.

We have a duty to defend those who are attacked for being union members, so why should it be any different when we are attacked through rotten politically motivated legislation?

If the Tory legislation is used to attack trade unions, then it is up to the unions to show that unity is strength by standing together — and that means all those that stand up for trade unions, including politicians.

Politicians are not exempt from supporting unions and they are certainly not exempt from supporting the owners and controllers.

Smashing unions will not stop workers from organising and standing up against exploitative employers.

History also tells us how workers dared to organise in the most adverse conditions, but all those battles and struggles of the past should not be given up.

Unions free from politically motivated fetters are a necessary part of a healthy democratic society and it is up to all who hold these values to say so and be prepared to stand together.

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