14 March 2014
The Institute pays tribute to Tony Benn.
We are saddened to hear of the death of Tony Benn. Tony was the President of the United Campaign for the Repeal of Anti Trade Union Laws, a sister organisation to the IER. The United Campaign merged in 2012 to form the Campaign for Trade Union freedom.Tony was the Vice President of the new organisation and Bob Crow its President. The loss of two such great men in one week is difficult to comprehend.
Tony Benn played a valiant role in Parliament in attempting to replace Thatcher’s anti trade union laws with a framework of rights that would support working people and their representatives in the workplace.
In his contribution to the IER’s 20th Anniversary publication Tony Benn wrote:
It is an amazing fact that the legal rights of trade unions today are less than they were in 1906 when the Liberal Government introduced the Trades Disputes Act.
The IER has maintained a consistent policy of securing for working people through their unions the rights needed for the betterment of the nation as a whole.
Denied the bargaining power that would have allowed better wages and conditions, trade unionists were encouraged to meet their needs by borrowing. As a result, personal debt has weakened them further, since those in debt are less likely to risk industrial actions if it could lead to the repossession of their own homes.
When the whole free market philosophy has been exposed for the fraud it was, this is the time to intensify the campaign by forcing the government to introduce the necessary legislation. This is not only politically right but also electorally necessary.
Wise words from a great man.