The following motions were passed at the 2023 meeting of Solidarity union.
Motion for Union Meeting in Support of Strikers
The following motion is being presented in support of the strikers who have taken action to defend their rights and livelihoods:
WHEREAS, workers across the country are facing real-terms pay cuts, with inflation
outstripping wage increases; and
WHEREAS, the recent government decision to freeze public sector pay, and the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that many workers are struggling to maintain their existing living standards; and
WHEREAS, strikes are a legitimate form of industrial action that allow workers to defend their rights and working conditions; and
WHEREAS, the recent strike action taken by many unions is an example of workers exercising their right to strike in order to defend their pay and conditions;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this union meeting expresses its full support for the striking workers and their right to take industrial action in order to defend their rights and livelihoods; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this union will take all necessary steps to support the striking workers, including providing practical and financial assistance where possible; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this union calls on the government and employers to negotiate in good faith with the striking workers, and to work towards a resolution of the current dispute that recognizes the legitimate concerns and interests of all parties.
We urge all members to support this motion and to stand in solidarity with the striking workers as they fight for fair pay and conditions.
Proposed: Patrick Harrington. Seconded: Dave Andrews
Motion: Building Union Counter-Media to Combat Mainstream Media’s Reactionary Narrative
This meeting recognises the vital importance of the media in shaping public opinion, and the significant influence of mainstream media, particularly print media, in promoting a reactionary narrative that undermines the interests of working people.
We believe that it is necessary for unions to build their own counter-media in order to challenge this narrative and promote a more positive view of unions and the work they do. We welcome the opportunities offered by new technology, which make it easier to create and distribute pro-union content to a wider audience.
We acknowledge the importance of Union News, which is supported by non-financial voluntary contributions from Solidarity union members, as an example of a successful pro-union media outlet. We believe that it is crucial for unions to support such initiatives and work to expand their reach using new technology.
Therefore, we resolve to continue to find ways to expand pro-union media, using new technology to reach a wider audience and challenge the reactionary narrative promoted by mainstream media. We urge all unions to support this effort and work together to build a media landscape that accurately reflects the interests of working people.
Proposed: John Field. Seconded: David Kerr
Motion: Opposing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill
The proposed Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is a draconian piece of legislation that will severely limit the right of workers to take strike action. This motion condemns the bill and commits the Solidarity Union to oppose it through all available means.
The bill will allow ministers to impose regulations that will force workers to work during strikes in six sectors, including health, education, fire and rescue, border force, nuclear decommissioning, and transport. Employers will be able to issue work notices that name who must work and what they must do. Workers who refuse to comply could face dismissal and unions could be hit with huge damages.
The bill is undemocratic as it forces workers to cross picket lines even if they have voted to strike in a legal ballot. It is also counter-productive as the government’s own analysis warns that it could lead to more strikes. Moreover, it ignores the steps that workers already take to ensure that life-and-limb cover is in place during industrial action.
The proposed legislation will infringe on individuals’ freedom by allowing employers to dismiss workers who take part in a strike that has been agreed in a democratic ballot. Workers who continue to take strike action despite being required to work during the strike will lose their protection from automatic unfair dismissal.
The bill also places an unreasonable burden on unions to ensure that all their members identified in the work notice do not take part in the strike action. Failure to do so could result in the union facing an injunction or having to pay huge damages, costs that come out of members’ subscriptions.
This proposed legislation is probably against international law as it goes against normal democratic practice across Europe. The Solidarity Union, therefore, resolves to oppose the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill and urges all members to stand in solidarity with workers who will be affected by this legislation.
We believe that the government cannot legislate away workers’ dissatisfaction, and this bill will do nothing to resolve the current industrial disputes or support those using public services. The Solidarity Union will continue to work towards the protection of workers’ rights and against any measures that limit their right to strike.
Proposed: David Kerr. Seconded: Patrick Harrington