Date: Sat, 13 Sep 97 23:28:16 CDT
From: rich%pencil@VM.MARIST.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: ICFTU: Non-Union UK Is "Hell On Earth"
/** labr.global: 202.0 **/
** Topic: Non-Union UK Is "Hell On Earth" **
** Written 11:13 AM Sep 12, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
Brussels, September 10, 1997 (ICFTU OnLine):
Focus on Fear is the name
of a new report and video issued today by the Trades Union Congress, at
its annual Conference in Brighton. It shows the hidden world for many
workers in a non-union Britain.
The report gives examples of the hundreds of thousands of people who have their health and lives put at risk daily because their bosses exploit the lack of employee rights in Britain, or deliberately flout laws designed to protect workers' health and safety.
Luke Williams, 17, lost his job as a trainee at a glass factory, when he requested gloves to protect his hands from dangerous chemicals. As a result of his protest, and a video diary he kept at work, the UK Health and Safety Executive have taken action against the factory concerned. The video shows a bakery in north London, where employees work a 72-hour week in 12-hour shifts for less than z30 a day take home pay. Full-time workers get no company sick pay, and are only allowed two weeks holiday after three years.
The film showed the downside of a country of flexible work practices, no job security, and where employers cut corners on safety to save money. Commenting on the film, TUC General Secretary John Monks said that the report showed that unions are needed today as much as ever, it makes a powerful and overwhelming case for union membership as without unions to support them, workers who ask for their rights are arbitrarily fired. The report is being issued as part of the TUC's campaign to bring in legislation for union recognition where the majority of the workforce want it.
The report and video are being released during an already eventful Congress, which has been addressed by leaders of industry, religion and, for the first time in 19 years, by the Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair. The TUC conference is, according to observers, one of the first times that union leaders have disagreed in public with the new Labour government. Delegates attending the Conference are calling for a repeal of some of the anti-trade union legislation brought in during the 18 years of Conservative rule. Earlier during the week there was a unanimous TUC call for the rights to take solidarity action in line with International Labour Organisation Conventions, which some of the current UK legislation still ignores.