One step to justice
(Tuesday 02 May 2006)
IF, as trade union leaders suggest, Labour receives a good kicking in Thursday’s local elections in England, the reasons will not be hard to work out.
Entire wards are devoid of Labour stickers, which may not mean a complete collapse of the Labour vote, but it does imply that Labour voters who go to the polls will not do so with enthusiasm.
And how could it be otherwise, given the current state of the government and its relations with working people and their trade unions?
Three senior Cabinet ministers are facing concerted calls for their head, while the government is utterly weak-kneed in the face of transnational corporations from Peugeot to the Prudential dumping thousands of skilled workers on the dole.
New Labour appears to reserve its self-proclaimed reputation for “toughness” for its dealings with trade unionists, refusing to countenance any relaxation of what Tony Blair has boasted of as the most restrictive in the Western world.
The national May Day march in London, which highlighted the need for a trade union freedom Bill, cannot be allowed to be a one-off expression of trade unionists’ anger and concern.
It must simply be one step in a long struggle to win back the human rights stolen from workers, first by Tory governments and then by new Labour.
When unions are strong, all sections of working people, including retired workers, are stronger.
Winning legislation that would enable unions to take action without sequestration of their assets would be a step towards greater social justice in Britain.
If the current Labour Party leadership will not listen, then it must be changed for a more principled alternative.