13 February, 2016#heartunions week is a week-long campaign led by the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) to show all the good work done by unions. But it is also a protest against the suggested Trade Union Bill, aimed at effectively weakening unions in the country. Global union leaders meeting in London on 12 February expressed their full support for the campaign.
The #heartunions week of action celebrates all the good work done by unions in workplaces and society in the UK. Union members from IndustriALL affiliates Unite, GMB and Community have testified on social media to what a difference being a member of a union has made to their lives.
The campaign has attracted high attention in social media, including 20,000 tweets on the best day.
But attention has also been about taking a stand against the Trade Union Bill, currently debated in the UK parliament. The TUC calls the Bill the “biggest attack on trade unions in a generation and a threat to the fundamental right to strike.”
The Trade Union Bill aims to impose tougher thresholds on strike ballots, allow the use of agency workers as striker replacements, reduce the facility time for shop stewards to represent the workers, force unions to share more information with authorities and police, as well as to cut off financial support to the Labour Party, founded by trade unions in 1900.
On 11 February, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady handed over a 200,000-signature petition calling on the government to rethink the suggested bill.
“The Trade Union Bill has no place in a modern democracy. Only through coming together and showing our united strength will we be able defend our vital right to strike”, said O’Grady.
The Council of Global Unions (CGU), uniting the leaders of the ITUC, TUAC and nine sectoral global unions, expressed at its London meeting on 11-12 February its full support for the UK union campaign against attacks on fundamental labour rights.
“Trade unions are a crucial part of our societies and anti-union governments cannot be allowed to cut workers’ democratic rights,” says IndustriALL Global Union general secretary and CGU chair Jyrki Raina.
“We stand behind UK workers and our affiliates in the fight for the right to strike, which is essential to ensure collective agreements with decent living wages and adequate conditions of work.”
More information on the campaign: http://heartunions.org