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PCS Conference ’19 ‘We need a Ministry Of Labour,’ says union

by Will Stone
in Brighton

A MINISTRY of labour would be the ultimate resistance to the Thatcher revolution and begin reversing decades of anti-union legislation, Professor Keith Ewing has said.

The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) president stressed the importance of bringing back the successful department that was established in 1916 before being axed by former Tory PM Margaret Thatcher.

Speaking at a PCS fringe on Wednesday night, he said: “We need to fight the Thatcher revolution with progressive ideas of our own.

“Progressive style Corbynism would have a big impact on workers’ rights in this country.

“A ministry of labour is about empowering equality in terms of income and opportunity as well as enhancing the dignity of workers.

“We create rights in this country but not the means to enforce them. Tribunals are not the answer.”

Labour has vowed to reintroduce the specific government department that would be responsible for employment issues and shift the law towards collectively bargained terms and conditions.

Shadow minister for labour Laura Pidcock said: “The last three Labour governments had a golden opportunity to challenge anti-trade union laws, but they didn’t.

“This is not about tinkering around the edges — only radical change will restore workers’ rights.

“If we get this right it will see an absolute transformation of working rights.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it is of “incredible importance” that a ministry of labour is set up.

He said PCS has been at the receiving end of anti-union laws and welcomed Labour’s commitment to scrap the Trade Union Act within 100 days of government.

“We want to give rights back to the workers,” Mr Serwotka said.

“Only a root-and-branch removal and replacement of anti-union laws will restore the rights of people in the workplace.”

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