NUJ backs collective bargaining manifesto
30 October 2013
The NUJ has joined an alliance of unions supporting the Institute of Employment Rights' (IER) Collective Bargaining Manifesto, which calls on the government to encourage negotiation on wages and conditions between employers and workers' representatives.
The 10-point manifesto was written by legal and public policy experts Professor Keith Ewing, IER president, and John Hendy QC, IER chair. It is part of larger publication, Reconstruction after the Crisis: A Manifesto for Collective Bargaining, which lays out the economic and social benefits of collective bargaining, including job creation, reduced income inequality and the abandonment of exploitative conditions such as zero-hours contracts.
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, said:
"Employees should always have the right to join an independent and democratic organisation representing their interests at work. Employers should be compelled to accept and promote the benefits of a constructive dialogue with workers' representatives aimed at reaching agreements to improve working conditions. The availability of collective bargaining is essential for all industries and unites the trade union movement as a whole."
The manifesto includes:
- establishing a Ministry of Labour to ensure workers have a voice in parliament separate from that of corporations;
- the reintroduction of sectoral bargaining, that is the negotiation on pay and conditions between trade unions and employers at a sectoral level;
- incentives for employers to engage with collective bargaining, such as barring companies which refuse to negotiate with their employees from public sector contracts;
- an overhaul of trade union recognition legislation to ensure that workers always have the right to be represented by their trade union in work-related matters and that unions are recognised by employers if at least 10 per ent of the workforce are members.
Other unions supporters of the manifesto include Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, BECTU, AEP, ATL, RMT, UCU and POA.
Keith Ewing, said:
"There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State."
John Hendy QC, said:
"A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining - that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis."
See the IER's infographic for a brief illustration of the economic impact of collective.
The Institute of Employment Rights was established in February 1989. It is a network of academics and lawyers acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. For more information: IER website