Dan Smart, South Gloucestershire Unison branch secretary (personal capacity)
Crumbling public services and over a decade of decimated wages are just part of the Tories’ disgraceful legacy.
For much of the last two years, workers have been taking to picket lines and striking back – against the cost-of-living crisis and to defend our services from attack. The Tories are hated, face electoral disaster and are lashing out with increasingly cruel and draconian methods.
The new Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act (MSL) is an authoritarian attempt to restrict the right of over five million workers to go on strike.
This is a class war being waged on workers. And the first shots were fired when government-run train operator LNER threatened to impose a 40% minimum level of service on striking train drivers. They were quickly forced to U-turn, however, when the Aslef union threatened an extra five days of strike action!
This shows how the Tories can be beaten back, and how united trade union action could smash the anti-union laws. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has agreed that unions will refuse to tell their members to cross picket lines, and to come to the support of any worker or union punished using the laws.
The national TUC demo on Saturday 27 January in Cheltenham is also a step in the right direction. Trade union leaders must not simply wait for a Labour government to repeal the MSL laws.
While Keir Starmer has said he would do so, he has broken almost every promise made prior to being elected Labour leader and cannot be trusted. Demands must be put on him to immediately repeal all anti-union laws, at the same time as preparing trade union action to defy them where necessary.
Workers should be confident of the power we have when we get organised and fight back together. It’s clear that our Tory enemies are weak and divided – shown by the splits over the Rwanda Bill. They are arguing over how best to scapegoat those most in need, while thousands queue for food banks and can’t afford to heat their homes.
Together we can smash these anti-union laws, and with it bring down the despised Tories and the bosses’ system of greed and profit whose interests they represent.
National Shop Stewards Network online public meeting against Tory anti-union laws
Tuesday 30 January 6:30pm
Zoom meeting ID 850 1058 8852