Rights top TUC’s agenda

Unions use first congress after Labour’s election to push for compulsory recognition

Union recognition and workers’ rights will dominate next week’s TUC congress, with the TUC this weekend set to name seven companies which treat staff badly and do not recognise unions.

At the congress the TUC will follow up its pre-election campaign to promote union recognition with motions to support employment rights and attempts to build on the early restoration of union rights at GCHQ.

A motion from the Graphical, Paper and Media Union looks forward to ‘the Government bringing forward an Employment Bill which should include the right to trade union recognition where this has support amongst the workforce and where union membership is at a level of 50% plus one’.

The Iron and Steel Trades Confederation will highlight the actions of Co-Steel, the Sheerness mill criticised by the International Labour Organisation for threatening union members.

The company has been accused of forcing employees who had suffered accidents at the plant prematurely back to work.

‘Congress condemns employers like Co-Steel at Sheerness who deny their employees rights to representation. The law should not permit employers to ignore ballot results showing overwhelming support for union bargaining rights.’

The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union focuses on urging investment in training to ensure survival of the manufacturing industry.

‘Investment must be directed at the creation of real jobs in a high tech, high skill manufacturing industry,’ said the union. ‘The decline in apprenticeships leaves this country behind our competitors world-wide and the skill shortages created will restrict our ability to expand output and achieve economic growth.’

It has called on the Government to implement its skills policies as soon as possible.