Trade Unions Have Your Back

Early Monday morning Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, sent out an email to Party members urging workers to join a trade union. In the wake of the corona crisis it will be imperative for workers to have representation in order to avoid being exploited.

Many people have significant concerns about the easing of the Lockdown measures. Workers are concerned about their safety and well-being.  The briefing from Boris Johnson was confusing and misleading. Covid 19 is the worst crisis to hit our country since WW2 and it is vital that we have a good clear decisive leadership. Workers need clear instructions that are not contradictory. They need the Unions to fight for them.

Trades Unions have a long and splendid history of fighting for the rights of working people. Not just to gain fair and just remuneration for their labours but in setting good working practices and health and safety conditions. Unfortunately, successive Tory governments have maligned the Unions and taken away a lot of their power.

Now is the time to get that power back. The aftermath of this crisis is going to be severe and it will be the vulnerable low paid workers who will pay the price, beginning with the unsatisfactory way that the Government is easing the Lockdown. Working people are caught between fear for their health and that of their families, or fear for their livelihood. These workers have already suffered badly at the hands of the virus and they will suffer badly in the aftermath. They need protection ,and we on the left must encourage the rise and growth of the unions once more.

Right wing propaganda has taken its toll on the unions so much so that even some working class people are sceptical. We need to build up confidence once more in the unions and promote them. The last few weeks has shown how much we need a Labour Government and left slant on life. We need to look back at the long history of the unions throughout the nineteenth century when the industrial revolution was taking off. We need to remind ourselves again of their successes in making life better and easier for working class people.

One Union worthy of special mention is UVW –Union of Voices of the World. This is a Union for vulnerable workers and heaven knows we have been able to identify them throughout this pandemic. Its members run UVW so that it can more readily represent them. We need unions now both to get us through the pandemic and help us in the aftermath, which is going to be hard.

By Jacqueline Griffiths
Labour Party Town & District Councillor for St Mary’s Ward, Swanley

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