Wednesday 19 December 2007

Highs & Lows - Pensions & Agency Working

It's fantastic news that the government has finally agreed to compensate the 120,000+ workers who lost out in their pensions when their firms went bust. There is absolutely no doubt that this wouldn't have happened without persistent campaigning.

It's always infuriating to hear people say "there's no point of being in a union". I've lost count of the number of individual cases I've dealt with where members have gained more from their membership over one issue than a lifetime of subs. It's always good to be able to point to collective issues in the workplace where the union delivers gains on a similar scale. This is such a big union win that it even made the national headlines. We can never be good enough at trumpeting our successes.

Meanwhile, when it comes to agency and temporary workers, the UK government is still putting its commitment to free market dogma and sucking up to big business ahead of justice and the needs of working people. The UK government continues to block the proposed EU Agency Workers Directive which would give agency workers rights as employees. I find it particularly sick that agency workers are left open to exploitation with fewer legal rights and often lower pay, while the government still refuses to repeal the Tory anti-union laws that outlaw solidarity action between direct employees and their agency colleagues.

Andrew Miller MP has put forward a private member's bill on the subject, which should at least make sure it gets debated in parliament.

We must keep the pressure up!

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