People Before Profit Trade Union Week – Time To Undo Thatcher Era Anti-Workers Rights Legislation

Cllr Shaun Harkin
 
People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin:
 
“Billionaires Richard Branson and Mike Ashley increased their wealth during the pandemic. The rich and powerful have used their wealth to protect themselves from the impact of the pandemic while ordinary people have struggled with health and safety, slashed wages, unemployment, childcare and mental health. 
 
The Law Centre and Ulster University Law Clinic have made clear the extent to which workers have been manipulated and intimidated during the pandemic. Workers have the right to a strong voice on the job and in their communities. This is why we’ve encouraged workers to join a trade union. 
 
People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll’s private member’s bill – the Trade Union Freedom Bill – will strengthen workers rights by stripping out Thatcher-era legislation. The power to change these laws has been devolved to the Stormont Assembly for more than 20 years but none of the Executive parties have sought to undo them. Getting rid of Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws is key to protecting workers rights today. 
 
Whether you’re in Derry, Dublin or Belfast, ordinary people are facing the same challenges. Debenhams workers are facing the same unscrupulous treatment from their employer North and South. Nurses and health care workers have been forced to strike in the North and the South for pay increases and higher staffing levels. Meat plant workers across all 32 counties are underpaid and toil in unsafe workplaces. On either side of the border teachers and workers in education have been forced to strike to challenge the same deteriorating pay and conditions. 
 
The number of people not working in the North and South has increased dramatically and many more have been forced into a situation where the benefits available are completely inadequate. All this contrasts immensely with the experience of elites. Fighting trade unions with the spirit of James Connolly and Jim Larkin are an antidote to the spread of the virus of poverty and inequality in all working class communities across the island.”
 

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