Forty years ago, GCHQ workers were banned from joining a trade union. Twenty-seven years ago they won back that right. Today, the Conservative government is attempting to restrict the right to strike for over five million workers.
Last year, it introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act, which stipulates that when workers in certain sectors vote to take legal strike action, they could be forced back to work and sacked if they do not comply.
The TUC is organising a march and rally to celebrate union history, protest against this government and stand up for the right to strike.
UNISON is supporting the rally, which will take place in Cheltenham – the home of GCHQ – on Saturday 27 January and is urging members and branches to attend.
The march will gather from noon and set off at 12:30pm and will be finished by 4pm.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea will be among the speakers. Last year, giving her opinion on the when the bill was announced, she said: “Draconian and undemocratic measures are about to be imposed by a government that has spent over a decade creating the situation we’re in now.
“High inflation, a pay crisis in our public sector, the NHS on its knees, and an economic outlook as grim as the constant sleaze that flows out of Whitehall. This bill will do nothing to change any of that, and we must be part of the campaign to defeat it.”
Organisers welcome trade union banners, but are asking that no inflatables are taken to the event.