Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Labour's shame

Monday I attended the TUC Executive Committee which discussed amongst other issues the new Employment Bill which will get its 2nd Reading on January 7th. There are some positive things in it - including tougher enforcement of and penalties for breaching the National Minimum Wage laws. Given our campaign around the abuse of work experience we really welcome the moves.

But this Employment Bill, like others under this Government, is marked out more for what is not in it than what is in it. No one can disagree with measures to enable Tribunals to punish employers more for failing to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice on grievance and disciplinary procedures or measures to reinstate the Polkey principle in unfair dismissal cases but the Bill says nothing about automatic reinstatement in unfair dismissal cases, employment rights from day one, the exclusion of millions from statutory recognition laws or the right to strike. It ignores all the issues raised in the Trade Union Freedom Bill, including simplifying the balloting procedures.

We'll campaign for it to become law but will keep campaigning for the repeal of the anti-union legislation which unfairly shackles unions in effectively representing their members. After all, that was Thatcher's aim when she introduced them. It is to New Labour's shame most of those same laws remain in place.

Rant over. After the TUC Executive it was back to the office to meet with the IT manager and Membership manager to discuss ways to improve the information we hold on the membership database to help with our industrial organising work and then discussions with the pensions actuary to draft a letter to the NUJ Officials' Chapel.

The Independent on Monday carried a small quote from me in a feature on 'unusual' people joining trade unions - it focused on our first member with 'blogger' as their full-time job title. The Guardian's Comment is Free section picked it up and ran a piece from me which was picked up today by Press Gazette.

No comments: