UNISON led calls to “build a fairer Britain and a more just society” as the TUC Congress opened in Bournemouth today.
The union’s Scottish convenor Lilian Macer noted that TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady point that “the so-called recovery is passing most parts of the country by, as regional inequalities grow and living standards shrink”.
Describing it as “part of George Osborne’s plan”, she said that “the Enterprise Act this year cut workers’ rights,” so the chancellor’s “so-called growth plan is, at its heart, not about job creation: it is a job insecurity plan”.
It is “summed up in three words: Fear at work – or zero hours contracts,” she said.
While the UK already has some of the weakest employment laws in the world – and some of the weakest financial regulation too – Ms Macer told delegates that all unions’ “members are telling us they want wages that allow them to put food on the table” and “enough money to buy that school uniform for the start of term”.
Or put another way: “a living wage for all”. She said that this was why UNISON wants the TUC to lead the employment rights fight back.
And she noted that the TUC anti-poverty fight back starts by placing union “stewards and reps centre stage” and recognising the importance of the role that they play.