Saturday 10 March 2018

ATUC - we must organise to win for our members

Joint-President Tyrinne Rutherford used his speech at the Aberdeen City Civic Reception launching the 150th anniversary celebrations of the ATUC, to highlight the challenges facing trade unions now and to call on us to organise to win for our members.
Tyrinne Rutherford

“BROTHERS SISTERS COMRADES; If you look at the history of employers’ treatment of worker through history their goal hasn’t changed, but their tactics have.

They still want to pay us peanuts to maximise profit and they’ll do that to any that they see fits.

For instance zero hour contracts, and the fact they want contracts to be a bit of paper that say you'll work when we want you to work, go home when we want you to go home and this is your pay.

Remember what you were taught about the Victorian era of men turning up to the factory each morning with no guarantee of work or pay. That’s what the gig economy is like. Ask those workers at Deliveroo racing each other to get people’s order of food.

We have seen so many attacks within the trade union movement. We’ve seen the Trade Union Act come in which stipulates over 50% of members must vote in a ballot for a strike to happen. Implemented by a party that had only 36% of the vote.

Even when these ballot quota has been smashed as it was recently by the members of the CWU the employer tries to get it over turned at the high court.  The amount of people on a picket. Attacks on trade union facility time within the public sector.

Trade unions are more than just the workplace - what’s the point in fighting for good pay and terms and conditions if, when you leave work, your public transport has been cut, your children can't have social housing to go into when they leave home. They can’t afford to attend university.

The jewel of most people’s hearts the NHS. We need to keep it funded and running and free at the point of entry. Whether you’re a prince or a pauper in this country we should have top quality healthcare.

We need to show solidarity to the people who are having to fight to get they’re disability or the brutal sanctions at the jobs centre.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Here in Aberdeen we managed to get one of the first hospitality branches in the country.

UCU are fighting back to fight off the brutal attacks on they’re pensions.

UNISON overturning the tribunal fees at the supreme court.

We as trade unionists need to adapt to the times which we are doing well at but we need to keep going.

We need to reach the youth.

We need to target sectors which aren’t traditional unionised workplaces.

Either we’re more organised than bosses or the bosses are more organised than us!”