Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

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Ayrshire weekly press column: Joe backing "Fight for 5" as Tories attack trade union rights again

Decent_Work_For_All_web_graphic11-22743.jpgJoe backs "Fight for 5" campaign in his Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald/irvine Times column.


There are few things less surprising than a Tory majority Government attacking the rights of workers - and their proposed new trade union legislation is clearly aimed at undermining the fundamental right of workers to remove their labour.

Only 56 out of 330 Tory MP’s received over 40% of the vote, on a turnout exceeding 50%, in their constituency at May’s General Election and yet they now want to make such thresholds mandatory for industrial action ballots. I won’t hold my breath for the resignations of the 274 hypocrite Tory MP’s who seem determined to push this legislation through.

Other measures in the Bill, such as reforming how trade union members opt-in to political funds, threaten the ability of trade unions to campaign on behalf of their members. Such proposals have rightly seen the proposed bill labelled the “Gagging Bill 2”.

This is a continuation of the anti-trade union onslaught that workers faced under the last Tory majority government of the 80’s and 90’s and it must be opposed at every turn. I am pleased that all Labour’s leadership candidates have opposed the plans and have pledged to repeal the act - but we all should unite to fight this attack on working people. As all trade unionists know, unity is strength and if enough people join the 6 million trade union members in this country in opposing this legislation then we can put Cameron’s Eton bully boys under pressure. Already in this Parliament they have backed down on fox hunting and repealing the Human Rights Act, let’s make this their next climb down.

Workers’ rights are worth fighting for. That’s what I have done as a Councillor with some success. In recent weeks North Ayrshire Council have agreed to take action to increase the payment of the Living Wage in the private sector and signed a new protocol on casual contracts with local trade unions, both have happened largely because of my perseverance in campaigning for two years on these issues.

Now with the new anti-trade union legislation being proposed I am backing a new campaign – Unite’s“Fight for 5”, a campaign for decent work for all.

The campaign, led in Scotland by Unite Scotland’s youth committee and the union's Community Organiser is calling for a living wage, safe and secure work, guaranteed hours each week, training and career development – and access to union representation.

These are principles that North Ayrshire Council should readily support and I will be writing to our Council leader asking him to sign us up to the campaign. On an issue like this Labour and the SNP really should be able to work atogether for the betterment of local people. Watch this space.


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