'Nasty side of govt'

Queen’s Speech fails workers on fire and rehire – and sounds alarm on rights and freedoms

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Responding to today’s (May 11) Queen’s Speech on behalf of Unite, general secretary Len McCluskey said, “This Queen’s speech reveals the nasty, repressive side of this government.

“The moves on voter ID that could see millions of young and poor people lose their vote alongside the plan to curtail the right to protest – long and dearly held in this country – should be ringing very loud alarm bells.

“We will fight both because they are dangerous, backwards steps, a land-grab by the powerful to deny the people a voice.

Get unions involved

“The government’s promise to build back safer is noted but if it is serious, then it must get trade unions around the table. Our army of health and safety experts have been incredible during this crisis.  They are on the frontline and their knowledge and experience, alongside a reversal in the senseless cuts to funding of our safety regulators, must be put to proper use as we reopen the economy.

“But where this country really needs urgent action – on dignified, decent affordable care for our vulnerable – the prime minister has failed to step up.

“A huge lesson of this pandemic is that our NHS desperately needs a functioning, accessible social care system and the absence of any plan for this in the Queen’s speech is a serious absence of leadership, vision and responsibility,” he concluded.

Today’s Unite boat protest

Commenting on the failure of the government to bring forth its promised employment bill or any provisions to outlaw the pernicious practice of fire and rehire, Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary, “Working people will be bitterly disappointed that the prime minister has failed to use this opportunity to outlaw fire and rehire.

“Instead of desperately needed protection from what the government itself calls a bully boy practice, all workers will get from Boris Johnson’s government are warm words.

“But with one in 10 working people being told take a massive pay cut or take a hike, we will keep hounding the Tories on this until they act to end fire and rehire.”

By Barckley Sumner

Pics by Mark Thomas

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