From the TUC

How unions help … two great cases in this week’s news

15 Oct 2010, By

If confronted by some cliched ridden dinosaur telling you that unions have no place in the modern world of work and achieve nothing, helpfully point them in the way of two news stories that broke this week.

On Monday, we learned about the RMT’s deal with Network Rail protecting their members from compulsory redundancies while delivering a very satisfactory pay rise.  All this in the face of a hostile employer, who let’s not forget attempted to use legal action to cow the union, and a transport industry threatened by cuts and job losses all round. 

Then today, we learned that Unite had reached a deal with Jaguar Land Rover keeping car production going at three major UK plants, protecting thousands of jobs at the plants and JLR’s supply chains and, again, delivering a decent pay rise.

In their separate ways, both deals show the lasting strength and relevance of trade unions and the massive role they have to play not only in supporting working people but also boosting jobs and growth.

4 Responses to How unions help … two great cases in this week’s news

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    Oct 15th 2010, 7:18 pm

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  2. steve higginson
    Oct 16th 2010, 5:26 am

    A few words to support Matt’s points.Reading a very interesting book by Ragharam Rajan, ex IMF chief economist .In 2005, he predicted the looming financial disaster.His theory is that the major reason for the instability of the world’s banking system is due to the worldwide de-unionisation of the global workforce and the resultant depression of wage rates,which then leads people into taking on more and more debt as a way of supplementing a living wage. He believes the world economy will continue to be unstable because of low wage rates.
    Needless to say,his ideas have gone down like a lead balloon at the IMF

  3. Matt Dykes

    Matt
    Oct 16th 2010, 9:03 am

    Very good points, Steve.

    And, of course, the other side of the coin is that the massive decrease in the share of income going to labour has also contributed to the growing excess of capital which helped fuel the destablising speculation.

    Both of these related issues have been largely absent from most mainstream narratives about the crisis, with a few notable exceptions like Paul Krugman, the BBC’s Paul Mason and Neil Harvey among others. I will look out for Rajan’s book as well now.

  4. Matt Dykes

    Matt
    Oct 16th 2010, 9:08 am

    The relevant point to this blog being that strong unions are a stabilising force in the economy, contrary to neoliberal dogma.