The Green Party, and the Green Party Trade Union Group, made an impact at this year’s Trades Union Congress in Brighton, promoting the Green Party and its policies for workers’ rights and Trade Unions.
GPTU activists promoted the two new GPTU policies passed at the Green Party’s Autumn Conference, as well as its wider efforts to support the Trade Union movement and put workers’ rights at the top of the agenda.
Green Party co-Leader Jonathan Bartley, who spoke at a TUC Congress Fringe meeting, said at the beginning of the Congress:
“Trade unions have a vital role to play in giving people a voice in modern Britain. That’s why we stand with them against attacks from this Government and pledge our continued opposition to the Trade Union Act.
“We are especially keen to involve Trade Unions in discussion and debate about the potential for some kind of one off progressive alliance to secure voting reform, thereby paving the way for government that reflects the value of effective Trade Unions.”
The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) unequivocally supports members of Unite the union in Tower Transit buses, who are staging a 24 hour strike today. They are angry because a lack of consultation over roster changes which are leaving them out of pocket, as well as the non-payment of correct rest day working rates. It is the second stoppage in a dispute involving over 1,000 drivers, engineers and controllers at three depots across the Capital.
A previous 24 hour strike on Friday 26 August led to services operating out of the Atlas Road bus depot in Park Royal, the Westbourne Park bus garage and the Lea interchange bus depot being dramatically reduced with 28 bus routes affected. Talks broke down yesterday at the conciliation service Acas as the management refused to budge on basic things such as a single collective bargaining forum for Unite members and trade union representation for individual members.
Kieron Merrett, the Green Party’s Trade Union Liaison Officer said:
“This strike could have been avoided had the management made genuine but basic changes to unfair practices at Tower Transit. If workers were properly consulted in changes to their pay and conditions, Unite members would not have needed to take industrial action.
“The Green Party fully supports workers in dispute to improve their terms and conditions . We are calling for legislative changes to enable more workers to get organised in Trade Unions like the Unite members in Tower Transit, including opposing the Tories’ Trade Union Act. The best way to improve the position of working people is to enable them to get organised.”
Greens have unanimously backed proposals to stand against the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act and to give Trade Unions new rights to access workplaces, at their Autumn Conference in Birmingham.
The proposals, put forward by the Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU), aim to combat increasing exploitation of workers. They come after efforts by outgoing Leader Natalie Bennett and new co-Leader Jonathan Bartley to draw attention to abuses of workers at firms such as Deliveroo.
The first successful proposal pledges to join in direct action against the Trade Union Act as it comes into force, a move first called for by Green Party MP and co-Leader Caroline Lucas, whilst the second calls for a new statutory right of access for Trade Unions to enter unorganised workplaces and speak to workers.
Kieron Merrett, the Green Party’s Trade Union Liaison Officer, said:
“In the Green Party, we know that the best way to stop abuse and exploitation in the workplace is to enable workers to get organised in Trade Unions, so they can make their own claims and campaign for their own improvements in pay and conditions.
“But legislation in the UK is infamously restrictive, making it harder for Trade Unions to access the most vulnerable workers. That’s why the Green Party has pledged to join in direct action against the Trade Union Act as it comes into force, and to call for new rights for Trade Union representatives to access workplaces and organise the most vulnerable workers.
“The Green Party has confirmed that, to promote equality and protect workers, we need to support the Trade Union Movement and enable it to do what it does best.”
Clare Keogh, Co-Chair of the Green Party Trade Union Group, said:
“Many workers are now employed in new types of workplaces without any history of unionisation – particularly young workers and migrants. It’s no coincidence that these are the workplaces where the worst abuses are taking place.
“To put a stop to this, legislation and government action simply aren’t enough – workers must be organised in Trade Unions. It’s much more difficult to undo unionisation in the workplace than it is to repeal legislation in Parliament.
“I’m delighted that the Green Party has given unanimous support to our proposals. Not only do Greens fully support the Trade Union movement, but there are also many active Trade Unionists in our party. We are the party for working people!”
Autumn Conference is upon us! If you’re going to be in Birmingham this weekend, look out for GPTU and the various activities we’ve got planned.
GPTU motions to Autumn Conference
GPTU has two motions at Green Party Conference. These are on Opposing the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act (numbered C1 in the Final Agenda) and Statutory Access to Workplaces for Trade Unions (numbered C5).
Read more about GPTU’s motions C1 and C5 and why Greens should support them at Autumn Conference:
We need the support of all Green Trade Unionists to get these motions passed! Here’s what you can do to support:
Come to the workshops and bring your comrades! These are on FRIDAY 2nd September, 14:45-16:00, in room WG05. This is your chance to debate the motions in more detail and show your support.
Motion C1 (Trade Union Act) will be debated in plenary on SATURDAY, immediately after Deputy Leader’s speech at 10:30. Come along to voice your support or simply vote in favour of the motion!
The plenary debate on C5 (Access to workplaces) may be on SATURDAY during the 10:30-12:30 session after Deputy Leader’s speech, or on SUNDAY during the 10:30-1200 session. Come along to support the motion!
Competition for GPTU members!
We’ll be running a competition for all GPTU members – including anyone who joins up during Conference. Exclusive prize to be won! To enter the competition, we’ll be asking GPTU members to show their support for the Trade Union Movement and have their picture shared on social media as a Green Trade Unionist. We want the world to see just how many committed Trade Unionists there are at Green Party Conference!
We’ll have brand new GPTU badges on sale – or you can get one free badge for participating in the competition.
Come along and speak to us at the GPTU stall if you’d like to get more information on anything we’re doing or just want to get more involved.
GPTU meeting for all members – FRIDAY 2nd Sep, 18:30, Seminar Room
GPTU’s meeting for all members will be held on Friday 2nd Sep at 18:30 in the Seminar Room. We will be debating GPTU’s campaigning over the next few months and how we can involve local parties across the country.
If you’d like to meet the GPTU committee, get involved, or simply hear about what’s going on, now is your chance! If your Trade Union has an upcoming dispute that you’d like GPTU to support, please come along and let us know. We’ll be bringing along wine and nibbles for those who come along.
You can join the meeting via Google Hangouts if you’re not attending Conference. Get in touch with us to find out the details.