Unite the Union

Unite the Union

September 17, 2007 06:49 ET

Workers march on Labour for better deal

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sep. 17, 2007) -

Sunday September 23rd 2007
1 pm Meyrick Park, Bournemouth

Thousands of workers are to march on the Labour party conference next week to demand better job protection, equal rights for agency workers, more affordable housing and better public services.

Members of Unite, the UK's biggest union with more than two million members from almost every industry and sector, are pressing for a new policy agenda from the government which will win back core Labour support.

Key demands include improved job security, better pensions, an end to privatisation of public services, action on affordable housing and better protections for temporary and agency workers.

Derek Simpson, Joint General Secretary of Unite, said: "Gordon Brown has said he's in listening mode and our two million members represent a complete cross-section of society so by listening and responding to their needs he would also be responding to those of the wider electorate.

"If the 'Brown bounce' is to be sustained we need delivery of a new agenda for working people. By reconnecting again with our members the government will also be able to reconnect with the party's natural core Labour supporters and go on to win a fourth election term."

Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary of Unite, said: "Labour promised a charter for working people before the last election that we were able to campaign on and help re-elect a Labour government. Not everything we were promised has been delivered but it's time for new set of policies that will have universal appeal.

"From legislation to end the scandalous exploitation of temporary and agency workers to the building of more of affordable homes, our two million members and millions more ordinary working people are crying out for change."

Unite is the biggest affiliate and contributor to the Labour Party. More than half of Unite's two million members are affiliated to the Labour Party.

Unite was formed on 1st May 2007 through the merger of Amicus and the T&G. Unite's membership spans the finance, voluntary sector, public and private sectors.

Unite's Manifesto for working people includes:

Equal rights for agency workers
Unite is seriously concerned at the explosion in agency employment. In excess of one million people are now employed on short term contracts with no job security, no holiday entitlement or right to sick pay. Unite want legislation to provide the estimated million plus Temporary and Agency Workers in the UK with the same pay and protections as directly employed workers.

Job protection

Unite believes that the inequality in protection for UK workers vis a vis the majority of Europe is causing more job loses. Unite wants:

- Job protection equal to those enjoyed by workers in Europe;
- Improved information and consultation in restructuring;
- Improved redundancy pay;
- Obligations on employers to provide a social plan as part of major redundancy proposals.

Unite has campaigned successfully for workers' pensions to be protected when companies go bust. This resulted in the Pension Protection Fund and the Financial Assistance Scheme being established. Unite is now pressing for fuller compensation arrangements to achieve the 100% that members deserve.

End to private sector involvement in our public services
The huge expansion of the private sector includes more than 700 PFI schemes - profiting from NHS PFIs alone by GBP 23 billion - in areas of direct delivery of NHS care, running prisons, an increasing role in probation services and involvement in our education system. Taxpayers' money should be used to improve public services, not create private profits

Build affordable housing for working people
Major investment in a new affordable housing agenda is required, with local authorities able to build the homes they need. 1.5 million households are waiting for social housing and spiralling prices are taking housing out of reach of many working people. Key public sector workers can no longer afford a modest home in seven out of ten British towns.

Contact Information

  • Unite Press Office
    Catherine Bithell or Claire Ainsley
    07958 473 224 or 07976 832 169