Solidarity with US workers
We had a great rally in solidarity with US workers and unions tonight, with entertaining and informative speeches by Kate Allen of Amnesty International UK, Tony Burke and Gail Cartmail from Unite and Prof Keith Ewing, as well as thoughtful and heartful questions and contributions from the floor. Earlier in the day, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber handed in a letter from the leaders of Britain’s ten biggest unions to the US Ambassador, who will be passing our comments on to the President.
Speakers and audience at the solidarity rally stressed that collective bargaining is a fundamental human right which is vital to developing more equal and more efficient societies, and we reflected on the way that support for it has waned among politicians over the last seventy-odd years. Keith quoted a passage from the Conservative Minister of Labour in the late 1930s which was more fulsome in its support for collective bargaining – as a way to raise workers’ wages, no less – than we ever got from the Blair and Brown Governments.