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Trade Union Freedom Bill - May Day march and rally
01/05/2006

Addressing the May Day march and rally later today in London, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will say:

'May Day is the day when the labour movement across the world celebrates the core values that we stand for and the dignity and justice at work to which all workers should be entitled.

'We also celebrate the British trade union movement's many achievements - and there are plenty. Millions of workers lives are made better, day-in day-out, because of the work our unions do in workplaces across the land. Millions are benefiting too from the victories from union campaigning in new holiday rights, rights to union recognition, the minimum wage.

'But we know too that there are still huge injustices and inequalities to be eradicated. Too many people stuck on poverty pay, too many women denied equal pay, too many people in our ethnic minority communities whose lives are blighted by discrimination and disadvantage.

'We need stronger laws to right these wrongs. Above all we need stronger unions, allowed by law to give workers a powerful voice at work, supporting each other in solidarity. And that's why we call for a Trade Union Freedom Bill to allow unions to properly protect their members.

'Over 100 years ago unions won the right to take industrial action without employers suing them when we defeated the Taff Vale judgement. Yet - 100 years on - unions now face more legal restrictions. Our campaign is for simple fairness.

'No longer should British workers, like the Peugeot workers in Coventry, find that they are the cheapest and easiest in Europe to get rid of when the going gets tough - and we send them a message of solidarity today. No longer should workers face the sack by megaphone like the Gate Gourmet workers whose brave battle for justice was so inspiring. No longer should workers coming to Britain from other parts of the world for a better life, face the exploitation that so many suffer today.

'Only unions can right those wrongs, and only free, strong independent unions. So support our call for a Trade Union Freedom Bill - the campaign goes on.'



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