A Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn will “end the culture of hostility to trade unions in the civil service”, he promised delegates at PCS’s annual conference.
If elected, within 100 days of taking office Labour will repeal the Tory’s “legally shackling” Trade Union Act, he said, in a half-hour speech on the final morning of conference today (23).
His pledges included introducing online balloting in union votes for industrial action, which are currently restricted to postal voting.
“We need to strengthen our unions, not weaken them. There is nothing scary about that,” he told our members.
The leader of the opposition said the government should be a “model employer”, not under-valuing and denigrating its employees.
He congratulated PCS on its victory over the government in the legal fight over withdrawal of check-off, adding: “You achieved the rarest of things: a massive payout from the DWP.”
Change the system
On the government’s shameful Universal Credit propaganda campaign in the Metro newspaper – the subject of an earlier conference motion – the Labour leader said it should be properly paying its staff instead of “glossing over its failures” and paid tribute to PCS members fighting to change the system.
Making reference to the need for foodbanks for cash-strapped outsourced workers at BEIS’s London HQ, Jeremy said this was “Tory Britain laid bare”. He said the workers should not only be paid a living wage but that under a Labour government they would also be brought back in-house.
“This Labour leadership has always stood on the side of workers. We have been on the picket lines and that’s where you will always find us,” he said.
He said Theresa May’s time was up, and called for a general election.
“The prime minister’s authority is shredded – quite simply, it’s time to go,” he said.
His pledges for a Labour government included:
• A return to collective bargaining, to be rolled out by sector.
• Introduction of a £10p/h Real Living Wage, including for young workers.
• Giving all workers equal rights and protections from day one in employment.
• Cracking down on tax dodgers and addressing the “false economy” of HMRC cuts.
• Holding an inquiry over union black-listing.
He ended by saying that the success of the Labour party depended on the strength of the labour and trades union movement.
“When Labour comes to power, you come to power too,” he said.