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05.09.2022 / Press releases /

Comment on Liz Truss’ proposals to attack workers’ rights

Petros Elia, general secretary for United Voices of the World, said:

“These plans are a vicious attack on the freedoms and rights of working people in this country like we haven’t seen in a generation. If we allow Liz Truss to shackle us as she plans to, the right of workers to strike and the effectiveness of those strikes will be hugely and unjustifiably diminished. Fighting for rights like a decent pay rise at a time when inflation is rampant and people are struggling to pay for gas, electricity and food for their families will be severely undermined and the only beneficiaries will be fat cat bosses.

“All these measures are designed to make it as hard as possible for workers to strike or to do so shackled, with minimal impact. The Tories have always sought to take away our democratic and human rights to strike, to picket and to protest and unless we resist this with more coordinated action, more strikes, more pickets and more protests, we risk going to back to the time when bosses were called masters and workers were called servants – that was the case until the 1970s . 

“Raising the strike ballot support threshold to 50% of all eligible voters is completely undemocratic. If national elections were run this way, Lizz Truss would not be an MP and prospective Prime Minister today, as she didn’t get 50% percent of all eligible voters in her constituency! Why should striking workers have to do what politicians won’t? It’s a double standard of the worst kind, which is entirely typical of the Tories. 

“Increasing the strike notice from two to four weeks will make it even easier than it is now for employers to replace striking workers with agency workers. And planning to make union members pay tax on strike pay is absurd even for conservative fiscal-hawk standards and is not applied to charitable donations. Tories advocate less corporate tax for multi billion companies while planning to make strikers on poverty wages pay tax through their nose! And they are not doing it to collect more taxes, they’re doing it to break more strikes! 

“Workers like the majority of our members, who are cleaners or security guards in small offices dotted around the country, working alone or with five or six colleagues; those on minimum pay, on zero-hours contracts, who most need to be seen and heard, the ones fighting all alone or with little support against their powerful bosses; those will be the workers most affected by these despicable measures.   

“These measures are designed to try to shut us up and shut us down. But we won’t be intimidated. Britain already has the most stringent anti-union laws in Europe and here workers rights are regularly violated according to The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global ranking. We will resist and defeat these attempts to shackle us and turn this country into a worker’s gulag. We urge every single worker out there who is not yet unionised to join us so we can fight as one and win.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264
Cristina: 07548 759340
Isabel: 07706 987443

E-mail: comms@uvwunion.org.uk

Notes for editors

United Voices of the World is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly BAME and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

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