Stop British anti-trade union law plans, says Tolpuddle martyrs’ festival

This 19 July 2015 video from England is called Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 2015 – Great atmosphere for the Procession of Trade Union Banners.

By Luke James in Britain:

Anti-Union Bill will Create a New Era of Tolpuddle Martyrs

Monday 20th July 32015

Thousands swear oath: ‘We will, we will, we will be free’

THOUSANDS of trade unionists took the Tolpuddle martyrs’ oath yesterday after TUC leader Frances O’Grady damned the Tory trade union Bill as the same persecution that the martyrs faced in 1834.

The six farm labourers were infamously transported to Australia in 1834 after forming a trade union and taking the oath: “We will, we will, we will be free.”

Speaking at the annual Tolpuddle martyr’s festival, Ms O’Grady drew comparisons between their persecution and the government’s new anti-union legislation.

Tolpuddle villain squire James Frampton “was a landowner who feared that organised labour threatened the power base of the wealthy classes and called on the full might of the law to quash it,” she said.

“Fast forward 180 years and ministers are looking to do the same.

“The Bill is a modern-day master class in punishing people for daring to stand up for their rights.”

In a rousing speech, Ms O’Grady paid tribute to all workers taking strike action and issued a direct message to Tory ministers, saying: “You can attack our rights, you can attack our unions, but you can never, ever crush our spirits.”

And she finished her address by calling on today’s trade unionists to swear the same oath made by the six martyrs in Tolpuddle 181 years ago.

Leading a chorus that rebounded across Dorset, she said: “You heard the oath and I wondered once again whether you would join in with me — we will, we will, we will be free.”

Strike ballot thresholds which experts say breach international labour laws are at the heart of the trade union Bill.

Even when workers overcome those barriers, the Tory plans encourage bosses to break strikes with agency labour.

In an Orwellian twist, the government is now considering plans to fine trade unions unless they give 14 days’ notice that they plan to use social media during strike action.

It has been suggested that ministers are planning to stage the second reading of the Bill during TUC Congress in a political stunt.

Anger over the Bill was behind the biggest turnout for the celebration of working-class history and culture in recent years, according to Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival organisers.

They reported that attendance on the march and rally was up a quarter on last year.

South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley told the Star: “It shows the spirit of Tolpuddle is alive and kicking.

“We’re not downhearted, we’re organised for the fight.”

The seven-year transportation sentences handed down to the original Tolpuddle martyrs sparked unprecedented protests across Britain that led to their pardon and the release of five — one stayed for other crimes.

MP Karen Smith, who represents Tony Benn’s old constituency of Bristol South, spoke on behalf of the Labour Party.

“It’s 181 years since events here at Tolpuddle became an icon of the trade union movement,” she said.

“Today we recognise the collective need for the rights of working people to be cherished and protected and how that is as relevant now as it has ever been.

“We will need every ounce of that spirit shining through at Tolpuddle in the months and weeks ahead.”

This video frpom England says about itself:

22 July 2013

TOLPUDDLE 2013: TONY BENN SPEECH. Procession front, Frances O’ Grady TUC General Manager, Actress Maxine Peake, Tony Benn, Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party.

A NEW union was formed this weekend when the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival witnessed its first ever wedding. Liverpudlian Gary Kilroy and his wife Lynn Barter, from Yorkshire, held their show of spousal solidarity at the Martyrs’ Museum, which applied for a wedding licence especially to stage the special ceremony. Family and union comrades witnessed the couple’s exchange of vows on Friday exactly a year after Gary proposed to Lynn at last year’s festival: here.

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