We need to fight the Thatcher revolution with progressive ideas of our own

A ministry of labour would be the ultimate resistance to the Thatcher revolution and begin reversing decades of anti-union legislation

Commentary icon30 May 2019|Comment

Keith Ewing

Professor of Public Law, King’s College London

Adrian Weir Author Photo
Adrian Weir

Assistant Secretary of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) president stressed the importance of bringing back the successful department that was established in 1916 before being axed in the 1980s.

Speaking at a PCS fringe, he said: “We need to fight the Thatcher revolution with progressive ideas of our own.

“Progressive style Corbynism would have a big impact on workers’ rights in this country.

“A ministry of labour is about empowering equality in terms of income and opportunity as well as enhancing the dignity of workers.

“We create rights in this country but not the means to enforce them. Tribunals are not the answer.”

Labour has vowed to reintroduce the specific government department that would be responsible for employment issues and shift the law towards collectively bargained terms and conditions.

Shadow Minister for Labour, Laura Pidcock, said: “The last three Labour governments had a golden opportunity to challenge anti-trade union laws, but they didn’t.

“This is not about tinkering around the edges — only radical change will restore workers’ rights.

“If we get this right it will see an absolute transformation of working rights.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it is of “incredible importance” that a ministry of labour is set up.

He said PCS has been at the receiving end of anti-union laws and welcomed Labour’s commitment to scrap the Trade Union Act within 100 days of government.

“We want to give rights back to the workers,” Mr Serwotka said.

“Only a root-and-branch removal and replacement of anti-union laws will restore the rights of people in the workplace.”

This article was originally published by the Morning Star

Keith Ewing

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King's College London. He has written extensively on labour law including recognition procedures and international standards. He is also the President of the Institute of Employment Rights

Adrian Weir

Adrian Weir Author Photo

Adrian Weir has a background in the engineering industry in Southampton where he was an AUEW lay representative (shop steward/safety... Read more »