NSSN lobby of TUC. Photo: Louie Fulton
NSSN lobby of TUC. Photo: Louie Fulton
  • Name the date for a national demonstration
  • Demand employers refuse to issue work notices – including Labour authorities
  • Prepare to strike to defend victimised unions and members

Adam Harmsworth, Napo delegate to special congress (personal capacity)

On 9 December the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will have one of its most significant meetings in decades. A Special Congress has been called to debate how unions should fight the draconian minimum service level (MSL) legislation. This is a welcome step in the fight to defeat the law which, if implemented, will rob millions of workers of their full democratic right to strike.

At the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) ‘council of war’ conference in June, hundreds of trade unionists backed a model motion to take back to their unions urging coordinated resistance to the law. In the summer many unions debated exactly that, and several unions passed motions styled off this.

At Congress in September a composite motion was passed which backed building a campaign of resistance and non-compliance. That included “an appropriate industrial response” and to call on employers, including local authorities and mayors, to refuse to implement the law, particularly Labour-run authorities. It also ordered the calling of the upcoming Special Congress “to explore options for non-compliance and resistance”.

Strike wave

The fact this Congress has been called is a demonstration of trade unionists’ anger at the attacks on their rights and more, which have been carried out by successive Tory governments. The recent strike wave showed that many workers are no longer prepared to accept bearing the burden of the economic crisis. Unions have been revitalised, and class struggle has begun to return from a decades-long lull.

This Special Congress could take the decisive action needed to rout the MSL law, bowl over this unstable Tory government, and put an incoming Starmer government on notice that workers will not tolerate any further punishment from the bosses.

Lay reps, other union activists and supporters can play a role in pressuring this Congress, by attending the NSSN lobby from 9am outside Congress House, in London. The lobby will encourage the Special Congress to enact the motion already passed in June including:

  • 100% solidarity with any trade unions attacked
  • Support demonstrations and hold a national march opposing the legislation
  • Explore options for non-compliance and resistance
  • Call for a repeal of the anti-unions laws