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Cable launches new attack on workers' rights
The attack on workers' rights outlined by Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable is one more confirmation of the government's absolute determination to drag us back to the pre-World War Two years.
In what the trade union Unison has rightly described as "Beecroft-lite", Cable has adopted close to 80% of the Tory financier's recommendations published in October 2011. The most prominent of these is the plan to limit unfair dismissal claims to one year of salary alongside plans to restrict Tupe (employment transfer procedures) rights even further.
In responding to the announcement Unite general secretary Len McCluskey rightly stated that "UK workers already have the worst protections in Europe. This government is utterly misguided in its belief that making workers more vulnerable will power our economy to recovery."
It must be pointed out though that Labour had 13 years to strengthen workers' rights but we were still left with the weakest employment rights in Europe.
Cable's latest assault needs to be seen alongside his plans to abolish health and safety inspections in thousands of firms.
As the victimisation of a Unite health and safety rep on the Crossrail project shows, employers are already riding roughshod over trade union rights.
While there has been plenty of condemnation from union leaders they must follow this up with real action. The attack on workers' rights affects both public and private sector workers equally, therefore the union leaders should use this to mobilise their members in support of the POA motion passed by the TUC conference last week calling for a general strike.
As Steve Gillan of the POA said when moving the motion "they will only stop chasing us when we stop running".
In The Socialist 19 September 2012:
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