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THE Tories were warned that workers are ready to “embrace collectivism” as part of a new deal for working people at the Morning Star’s TUC fringe meeting today.
The virtual event saw the paper’s editor, Ben Chacko, joined by union leaders, activists and parliamentarians to discuss the future of work after the Covid-19 pandemic.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said he was excited by the growing confidence in the union movement as workers reject a return to the status quo following the crisis.
“I think this is a good moment for us to build collectivism,” he argued. “Ordinary working people want to see an authentic change in the direction of this country, and I think people are ready to move away from individualism.”
He warned Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer that his take on the new deal — unveiled during Sir Keir’s keynote speech to Congress today — needed to be “bolder” as it was too focused on individual rights and did not back a return to sectoral collective bargaining.
Mr Chacko agreed, warning Sir Keir’s strategy would eventually fail as he was “not challenging capitalist power.”
Labour’s Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe decried the national and global retreat of workers’ rights during 40 years of neoliberalism and urged as many workplaces as possible to become unionised.
Bakers’ union general secretary Sarah Woolley stressed only unions could tackle precarious pay and “allow working people to live in dignity.”
And Labour peer John Hendy QC, whose private member’s Bill aims to create a single statutory category of “worker,” said MPs and Lords must campaign for the repeal of laws restricting trade union freedoms and the right to strike, calls missing from Sir Keir’s speech today, he pointed out.
A ministry of labour is also needed to help safeguard future advances in workers’ rights, he added, as is the regulation of supply chains to protect workers across the globe.
Liberation general secretary Roger McKenzie agreed, warning bosses would simply outsource work without “true international solidarity.”
The Morning Star’s management committee chair Bob Oram issued profound thanks to the paper’s readers for keeping the Star — founded as the Daily Worker in 1930 — going through “bombings, being banned, fires [and] numerous cashflow crises” as well as coronavirus.
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