|The News Line: Feature
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Trade unions welcome pledges in Labour’s election manifesto!
THE Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) welcomed pledges made in Labour’s election manifesto.
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Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: ‘Labour’s pledges to end the public sector pay cap, improve collective bargaining, repeal anti-trade union legislation and strengthen employment rights stand in stark contrast to the Conservatives’ bogus claims on workers’ rights.
‘Labour’s manifesto sets out a clear commitment to many long-standing PCS industrial issues and demands, including an end to the privatisation of public services, renationalisation of public utilities and raising the pay of civil and public service workers.
‘Tax reforms we have long campaigned for – including the “Robin Hood tax” – offer the opportunity to ensure that those with the greatest wealth contribute more. Coupled with much-needed investment in HMRC to go after those who evade and avoid tax, these reforms will provide essential and much-needed investment in our public services.
‘Plans to reform social security, including scrapping the hated Bedroom Tax, ending benefit sanctions and reinstating housing benefit for those under 21, are most welcome and signal a shift away from the policy of demonising claimants doggedly pursued by the Tories.
‘Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have always shown great support for PCS campaigns and our members, and their pledges are in stark contrast to what the Tories have to offer. We have been clear that our message to our members is that another Tory government would be the worst possible outcome.’
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, welcomed publication of the Labour Party manifesto for the general election on 8 June. Whelan said: ‘This is an exciting and progressive platform on which Labour can fight the next election. It offers people a real opportunity to help build a better Britain.
‘Jeremy understands how ordinary hardworking men and women are suffering in the Conservative Age of Austerity. David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May and Philip Hammond have pulled off the trick of redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich – the reverse of Robin Hood! – to bail out the fat cats and bankers who caused the economic crisis of 2008.
‘In contrast Jeremy wants to rebuild Britain to create a fairer, more modern society, with a more productive economy, that delivers for all the people, not just the few, and is fit for the 21st century.
‘We especially welcome the promise to bring Britain’s railways back into public ownership – a policy on which ASLEF has campaigned passionately ever since John Major’s ill-starred privatisation of British Rail in 1994 – and freeze passenger fares across the network.
‘This is an exciting, and sensible, socialist platform on which any of the great Labour Party leaders of the past – Keir Hardie, Clement Attlee, and Harold Wilson – would have been happy to stand. That’s why I urge people to vote Labour on 8 June and help return a Labour government to build a better Britain.’
‘For the first time in living memory a political party has given a commitment to the taxi and private hire industry drivers and the customer,’ said the GMB union after the Labour Party published its manifesto on Tuesday.
GMB said: ‘The taxi and minicab trades currently employ over 350,000 people in the UK.
‘No other political party has given a commitment to help this valuable industry which has been blighted in recent years by a lack of regulation, a lack of national standards and disastrous decisions by the Conservative Government who created an uneven playing field and a rigged market.’
Mick Rix GMB National Officer for Taxi and Professional Drivers said: ‘The Tories have ignored the fact that regulations covering the taxi and private hire sector are out of date and they have consistently failed to act. Drivers are treated shabbily and are denied employment rights, and passengers are given virtually no guarantee of safety.
‘The Labour Party manifesto commitment aims to change the culture of a “wild west” free for all created under the current Conservative Government, and which aims to give drivers and passengers the respect and national standards they duly deserve. GMB urges all drivers and customers of the trades to vote Labour and help put this manifesto commitment into practice.’
Andy McDonald Labour Shadow Transport Secretary said: ‘The current system is complex, outdated and in need of an upgrade: passengers don’t have a guarantee of safety or quality, drivers are without proper employment rights and operators are competing against one another in a rigged market. The Tories have ignored the fact that taxi and private hire vehicle regulations are out of date and have failed to act.’
Commenting on the launch of the Labour Party manifesto for the 2017 General Election, NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney said: ‘This manifesto puts down a marker on school funding and demonstrates that Labour is listening. The funding crisis affects 99% of schools and has forced head teachers to put banners up in playgrounds to alert parents to the risks of deep cuts and what it means for their child.
‘Labour’s manifesto increases the pressure on the Conservatives to drop their defence of school cuts and acknowledge the lack of public support for sacking teachers and teaching assistants, increasing class sizes and closing art, music, sport and drama facilities. The Labour manifesto widens the debate about how to mitigate the factors outside school that influence children’s lives.
‘Teachers will support measures to address inequality within society and welcome constructive strategies such as scrapping tuition fees and restoring the education maintenance allowance. Labour’s commitment to Sure Start, high quality Early Years education and universal joined-up services is a sign of policy which is grounded in evidence and experience.
‘All candidates must engage with the urgent issue of the number of nursery schools and children’s centres closing up and down the country. If we are serious about giving every child access to an enriching and enabling education, we must guarantee proper investment across all sectors of education. The Labour Party manifesto reminds us that investment decisions are political choices.’
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Labour has produced a manifesto that delivers for public services. Ending the pay cap will make a huge difference for hard-pressed public sector employees. Proper investment in the NHS and social care will have a huge impact on patients and staff too. When the other parties unveil their manifestos later this week, they would do well to take a leaf out of Labour’s book – and stand up for public services and those who work in them.’
Only the Labour Party offers ‘real change’ for the country and the opportunity for working people and their communities to ‘stand tall again’ said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey on Tuesday. Responding to the launch of the Labour Party manifesto, the leader of Britain’s largest union, Unite, went on to warn that working people had been at the sharp end of Conservative cuts for too long and that under the Tories life will only get tougher.
Commenting on Labour’s manifesto launch, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘What Labour is doing today is what Labour does best – offering real change for the many in this country.
‘Labour will invest in our people and build a Britain that we can all be proud of. For those who want to see our children given a chance, to see that work really pays, that our elderly and vulnerable are no longer degraded by government policy, then the answer is to vote Labour.
‘For too long, working people have been at the sharp end of Conservative cuts and disastrous economic mismanagement – and they will be again if that party takes power on 8 June. The reality of Conservative rule is that for those not protected by power and wealth, life gets tougher. In every aspect of life – from an affordable home to a safe NHS, from a decent education for all our kids to a living wage and a decent job – the story of the Tory party is that our communities suffer.
‘The Labour party will put a halt to this. Under Labour, working people and their communities will stand tall again.’
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