A jobs guarantee for young people, spreading the living wage across the public and private sectors, putting communities not profits at the heart of public services, and creating a stronger voice for workers in the management of companies are among the TUC’s five key campaign priorities in the run up to the general election.
The TUC campaign plan will be launched in the Midlands as part of the Chesterfield May Day celebrations with a question and answer session commencing at 1.45pm at the Winding Wheel, 13 Holywell St, Chesterfield.
Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: “’A Future That Works’ sets out five key priorities that will drive the work of the TUC over the next two years. The plan has been agreed by the General Council, which represents the TUC’s 53 affiliated unions who between them have almost six million members – nearly 700,000 of whom live and work in the Midlands.”
The campaign for jobs, growth and a new economy will mobilise resistance to austerity, with a series of events across the Midlands this summer, and will also provide a platform for advocates of pro-growth policies and new economic ideas. This will include an event with former US labour secretary and fierce critic of UK austerity, Robert Reich, who will deliver a lecture at the TUC on 21 May.
The TUC will work with and champion public and private sector employers who reach living wage agreements, as part of its campaign for fair pay and a living wage. The TUC itself became a living wage employer earlier this year.
Opposing the outsourcing and privatisation of public services will be the focus of good services and decent welfare. As well as the Save Our NHS campaign and the Action for Rail campaign to put the rail system back into public ownership, the TUC also plans to support parents and education unions against future attempts to allow state schools to be run for profit.
Having helped see off some of the government’s attacks on employment rights in the Beecroft report, the TUC will continue to press for respect and a voice at work for UK employees. The TUC aims to campaign to retain rights to paid holidays, a proper lunch break and reasonable hours at work that are under threat as the government attempts to repatriate powers back from the EU.
Finally, the TUC’s strong unions programme will train a new generation of union reps to take the TUC campaign messages to non-unionised workers and workplaces and give a voice to a new generation of young employees.
Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: “Margaret Thatcher’s legacy of deregulated capitalism and the cult of finance crashed dramatically in 2008. We have seen the results here in Derbyshire with the closure of pits, engineering and manufacturing companies yet the government is still peddling the same old busted model.
“The government’s failed austerity drive means it could take another ten painful years just to get back to where the Midlands economy was before the recession.
“Not only will the TUC and unions continue to be the backbone of Britain’s anti-austerity movement but we will also lead the call for new economic ideas.
“We will champion and work with those who are helping to create a fairer economy – from paying a living wage to giving staff a bigger say in how their company is run. Our challenge to Midlands private and public sector employers is to join the movement to treat employees with respect and to sign up to the living wage.
“As well as a decent wage, people deserve decent public services. Having overseen the fragmentation of the NHS, ministers now want to introduce the profit motive into Britain’s schools. The TUC will fight this privatisation drive, which we know the public doesn’t support.
“The TUC is not alone in wanting radical economic and social change. That’s why we’ll be calling on communities and campaign groups nationwide to join our campaign for a new economic settlement that involves and works for the whole country.
“The next election is likely to be fought over the economy and our living standards crisis. We want to see decent jobs, fair pay, good services and a stronger voice at work at the heart of the plan to deal with these big economic challenges.”