Friday 2 March 2007

Brown's Attack on Pay and Trade Union Rights

As you may have read on the front page of the Daily Mirror today, I issued a statement yesterday about Brown's pay cut for millions of our public sector workers:

"This pay cut from the Chancellor for public service workers will further alienate millions of Labour's natural supporters.
"If we want good public services, those who work in them must have decent levels of pay which properly reflects their contribution.
"People will fail to understand how we can spend billions of pounds on Trident whilst cutting public sector pay."

Yesterday I was at a packed rally in Parliament marking the publication of the Trade Union Rights and Freedoms Bill which I have been taking through the House of Commons as a Private Members Bill. Those speaking at the rally included Tony Benn, Tony Woodley, Katy Clark MP, Bob Crow, Matt Wrack, Roger Klein and John Hendy QC. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and determination to support a bill which is, after all, supported by Labour Party Conference and the TUC.

The Bill was due to be introduced today, along with Paul Farrelly's superb Bill extending the rights of agency and temporary workers. Like the Trade Union Freedom Bill, this piece of legislation has already received massive support from Labour backbenchers.

You can imagine how angry I was today at the tactics used by the Government to prevent both Bills progressing. Deliberate filibustering has been used in order to ensure that no vote was taken on either Bill. The passage of both Bills would be a major step forwards for millions of workers in this country - and would provide a major boost for the Labour party at a time when there is such massive disillusionment among our supporters.

We'll be taking both Bills back to Parliament in October. Between now and then, we'll continue to mobilise for these campaigns and press the Government to accept these legislative proposals.

UPDATE: We've uploaded a video clip of me setting out my commitment to restoring trade union rights - keep checking back for new clips.