Letters: Steve Lund-Beck, February 21, 2017

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I would respectfully suggest to the president of the district Trades Union Council that she presented a rather rose-tinted view of the conduct of the trades union since the time of Mrs Thatcher.

Prior to this Prime Minister, the trades unions had been extremely powerful and controlled the work force. This power, and how it was abused, was shown in the infamous “Winter of Discontent” when even the dead were not buried. This turned public opinion against the unions and made it easy for Mrs Thatcher to destroy them. The miners’ strike was a clear example of union leadership mismanagement. Scargill was not liked by other union leaders and so they worked against him and the miners by not supporting the strike. Along with the miners, all union members should have been called out on strike, but the miners were left in isolation. This played into the hands of the Government who turned on the miners and used the police with a ferocity that had never been seen against a British worker. The defeat of the mineworkers spelt the end for British trade unions.

The zero hours contract is an insult to the British worker and the trades unions should not be allowing them to exist. This zero hours contract, along with the declaring that everyone is self employed, such as Pimlico Plumbers have done in London, takes away the rights of workers and prevents workers being able to plan for the future.

Much hot air is expended by those who keep saying any Brexit agreement must protect workers’ rights, when in reality these rights have been steadily removed by EU legislation and the trade unions have just stood and watched. With the approach of robot automation, as a society we are looking at a social system where there will be no employment for thousands of people. This will lead to social unrest ,yet the unions are not showing that they are even aware of the problem.

This country is almost bankrupt, we owe trillions of pounds in national debt, the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider, the poor and destitute of Europe, Africa and Asia are flooding in unchallenged and destroying our society and culture. The years of austerity have achieved nothing. The trades unions should now be ashamed to admit that the country is now dependent on cheap EU labour.

The purpose of a union is to encourage better pay and conditions in all jobs and they should fight to ensure this happens.

They should have insisted that all emigrant workers can only work here using a conditional work permit for a limited period and should only be allowed in the country if there were no English people for the job.

The unions will continue to decline and ultimately vanish. At least the workers will not see any more union leaders accepting knighthoods and other honours from a grateful Government for their acquiescence in destroying workers’ rights.

Steve Lund-Beck, West Walton