2020 was a difficult year for trade unions – from mass redundancies to ‘fire and rehire’ schemes. But there were also seeds of worker militancy, and these provide hope for the struggles ahead in 2021.
Next week will see a Trades Union Congress like no other. Amid a global pandemic and a wave of redundancies, the labour movement must adapt – or risk further historic decline.
With unemployment numbers rising rapidly, and the end of the furlough approaching, trade unions are the last line of defence for thousands of workers trying to save their livelihoods.
Twenty years ago today Tony Blair introduced a reform which promised to lead to widespread union recognition. Two decades on, it’s clear that he led unions up the garden path.
Recent membership figures contain some positive news for Britain’s trade unions, but they are a long way from reversing decades of decline – there remains a monumental fight ahead to save the movement.
Throughout the coronavirus crisis the government has refused to inform workers of their legal right to walk out of unsafe workplaces – once again, it has fallen to trade unions to protect workers when nobody else will.
On May Day, we explore the wave of wildcat strikes across Britain during the coronavirus pandemic – where workers fed up with their bosses’ negligence have downed tools and walked out.
Britain’s trade union laws require designated agencies to process strike ballots in person – but coronavirus means they can’t. Workers’ rights shouldn’t be left up to chance: the laws need to be repealed.
Capital has already exploited the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for layoffs and wage cuts. If workers are to survive, they’ll need to be organised – and ready to brush off criticism to take strike action.
By scrapping the Tory anti-union laws, a Labour government could begin to rebuild the bonds of solidarity between workers in different industries which provided the basis of real class politics.