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Labour Conference: Collective bargaining without right to strike 'collective begging'

John Hendy QC slams politicians' moves towards crackdown on strikes and other workers' rights, writes CALVIN TUCKER

Hundreds of delegates packed into a lunchtime fringe meeting yesterday to hear John Hendy QC declare that collective bargaining without the right to strike is no more than collective begging.

“How are we going to restore the purchasing power of working people?” Mr Hendy asked. “The only answer is the restoration of collective bargaining.”

Professor Keith Ewing, president of joint fringe organisers the Institute of Employment Rights and the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, added: “You cannot have a strong, free and vibrant trade union movement without the right to strike.

“We need collective bargaining structures which are binding on all employers.”

Mr Ewing posed three vital questions to an incoming Labour government: “What are you going to do about collective bargaining, the right to strike and consultation rights under Tupe?” — referring to the regulations protecting the pay and conditions of workers whose employer changes through takeover or outsourcing

Warning about the looming dangers of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “The TTIP negotiations, secretly negotiated between the EU and the US, are being lined up to introduce turbo-charged capitalism across Europe.”

And in a passionate contribution, MP Katy Clark roundly condemned anti-trade union legislation which shackled workers.

“It is now almost impossible to hold a lawful strike,” she said.

She called for the abolition of employment tribunal fees, which have rocketed under the coalition government.


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