Today’s columnist, Patrick Meleady: Stealing workers’ rights

editorial image
Have your say

The Government say they cannot and will not intervene against the organised hatred of far right organisations that has been causing havoc in South Yorkshire and the rest of the UK, saying that they do not want to restrict these people’s right to freedom of protest or their freedom of speech.

Yet the Government are hellbent on forcing through a Trade Union Bill that Civil Liberties and the British Institute of Human Rights have said in a joint statement that it is “a major attack on civil liberties in the UK” and “would hamper people’s basic human rights to protest and shift even more power from employees to the employers”.

These groups, have also raised concerns over plans to restrict picketing and monitoring the use of social media during strikes.

They are not alone, in raising their concerns – even the middle of the road Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development also described the bill as an “outdated response to the challenges of the modern workplace”.

The Government, in response, say that by their imposing restrictions on picketing and protesting, this will make things fairer for workers!

This smoke and mirrors approach fools no one. It serves to lessen protections for workers.

With the Government seeking to curtail ’protesting’, they want to curtail the freedom of speech of workers because it may affect big business.

However, it seems the Government won’t limit protests that serve to vilify minorities, preferring instead to uphold the rights of bullying gangs to abuse innocent people.

Where is the fairness in this?

As we know, here in South Yorkshire, every right that workers have gained down generations has not been easy to acquire and under certain administrations they have proven just as hard to maintain too.

What we are seeing played out today, is the regurgitation of policies and ideologies from 30 years ago.

Policies from a period in time when working people were being hammered into the ground in orchestrated attempts to steal from them everything Trade Unionists had achieved.

There was no altruism on the part of big business or Government; it was workers’ sacrifices and their blood, sweat and tears that secured these employment gains.

Disgracefully, the Trade Union Bill runs the risk of harming industrial relations as well as eroding these hard-won basic rights.