Join the HeartUnions campaign

Thursday 11 February 2016

By Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary

This Monday, our comrades in The Trade Union Congress (TUC) launched a campaign to protest the Trade Union Bill which is being discussed by the UK Parliament this week – the HeartUnions campaign. We, UNI Europa and our affiliates, wholeheartedly support this campaign. Here is why:

The TU bill is an attack on the British trade union movement. It fundamentally undermines the trade unions’ rights and includes massive limitations on the right to strike and the stigmatisation of workers engaging in their fundamental right to protest on picket lines. The bill threatens the right to organise, giving the government immense regulating power over the activities of unions. It requires unions to provide 14 days’ notice of all activities – everything from a single tweet, to a rally – to employers, police and government or be faced with large fines.

Worrying as this bill is, what’s even more worrying is that this piece of legislation is part of an anti-trade union trend in Europe. Some years ago we saw attacks on labour rights in Ireland, Spain, Greece and Portugal, and recently we’ve seen the continuance of such attacks in Romania, Lithuania, Finland, Belgium and Italy.

And the EU isn’t helping – far from it.

The European Commission is moving in an increasingly neoliberal direction. It prioritises “competitiveness” and big business over the labour market and European social standards. The so-called “Better Regulation Agenda” is a good example of this. Much needed social legislation that would help millions of European workers is stalled, or taken off the agenda. Sound working conditions and quality jobs are more and more seen as a burden to companies rather than a benefit.

Europe has a duty to set an example, by respecting collective rights and upholding high social standards. UNI Europa is working tirelessly to make sure they do.

Join the campaign #heartunions and join us in Rome to fight against the wave of anti-trade unionism with us.