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Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) condemns government reforms to trade unions

Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) condemns government reforms to trade unions


For further information and media requests:

Contact: Ellie O’Hagan E: T: 0207 611 2571


Responding to the Queen’s Speech, a spokesperson from Class said:

The government’s insistence upon a 40% voter turnout in trade union strike ballots is hypocritical, given its own elections for police and crime commissioner elections averaged at just 15%. The proposals do not come with accompanying legislation to allow phone or email ballots, exposing the government’s lack of flexibility when it comes to working with trade unions and the workers they represent. It is disingenuous to pretend these plans are anything other than an attempt to restrict workers in their right to withhold their labour and prevent people from challenging pay freezes, cuts and privatisation, and the consequences of this will be disastrous for workers and for democracy.

“It is important to be clear about the fact that an “opt-in” system for trade union political funds would affect all political activities of trade unions, not just donations to the Labour Party. These include campaigns such as opposing NHS privatisation and the closure of SureStart centres, and the ability to campaign for better working conditions at a political level, such as implementation of the Living Wage. The proposals are as much an attempt to de-politicise the trade union movement as they are to de-fund the Labour Party.

“The speech gave no indication of how the government intends to tackle stagnating wages, insecure work and falling living standards. To truly tackle this problem, the government must raise the national minimum wage to the level of the Living Wage, take action to end the public sector wage freeze, enforce pay ratios and reverse its plans to further limit the power of trade unions.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions  including ASLEF, BFAWU, CWU, GFTU, GMB, FEU, Musicians' Union, NUM, NUT, PCS, PFA, TSSA, UCATT, UCU and Unite the Union. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.

2. Statistics on police and crime commissioner elections can be found here:

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For further information, articles, interviews or media requests please contact Ellie O’Hagan on or 0207 611 2571.