Not in a “they don’t like it up ‘em!” way, more in a “where the hell has all my money gone?” kind of way. It’s in the nature of economics that price rise, and we call that effect inflation. If it didn’t exist we’d all still be paid a penny a day because-we-can’t-work-any-faster.
It’s one of the key reasons that trade unions are so important – they help ensure that wages rise at about the same rate. Even if you don’t have a union, your employer has to keep up or face losing their workforce to better paid jobs… and that’s where the problem starts, because large swathes of the British workforce are no longer in trade unions. Which means that wages rise more slowly… often beneath the rate of inflation.
Straight and simply put, a basic loaf of bread cost 52p in 2000. Nowadays, the same loaf is £1.26. That’s an inflationary rise of 142%. Over the same period, wages have gone up by an average of 40%.
This is why the national minimum wage is so important. It’s a safety net. It makes sure that no-one is trapped in those awful jobs you used to see advertised in the 1990’s “Security Guard wanted. £1.50 an hour. Bring your own dog.”
It’s also an important way of encouraging economic growth. People on low incomes tend not to buy new cars, fridges or other things that factories produce. If you put more money in their pockets, they are more likely to buy things that keep the rest of us in employment, paying taxes, etc. It also stops them wondering how the hell they are going to replace their children’s shoes when they wear out.
It’s why the announcement by Vince Cable that the National Minimum Wage is going up by 12 pence an hour is both economic nonsense and moral cobblers. A 12 pence rise is worth just 1.9%, when inflation is running at around 3%. I’m sure his audience, the Institute of Directors, were very appreciative of his comments. After all, the net result is that they have to pay low paid workers even less but hey, what’s a 1% cut between friends?
Except it’s worse than that. It’s the fourth cut in four years. Every year since the Coalition were elected, they’ve delivered a real terms cut to the National Minimum Wage. In order to maintain its current spending power, it would have needed to increase to £6.39 an hour this year. It’s now worth the same as it was in 2004. How long before it’s worth less than when it was introduced in 1999?
I’d like to say it’ll never happen, but its happened before. A few years back unionstogether ran a campaign to uprate statutory redundancy pay. When that was introduced back in 1965, it was capped at what was then 203% of a week’s wages, seen as fair reward for many years hard work in the same firm. Inflation pushed wages up, but the cap wasn’t pushed up at the same rate. By 2009, statutory redundancy was worth just 56% of a week’s wages. No-one had made a fuss as its value dwindled away. We can’t let the same thing happen to the National Minimum Wage.
I don’t want to be sat in my retirement home, watching my grand-children look at the job adverts that read “Security Guard wanted. National Minimum Wage. Bring your own (robo)dog”.
Inflation. It’s a funny thing.
Today is a busy, busy, busy day in Parliament. MPs are voting to keep or reject lots of House of Lords amendments to two key Bills – the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.
There are two KEY ISSUES in these Bills that we are campaigning on – two MASSIVE ATTACKS on our rights at work:
Attack on wages for hundreds of thousands of rural workers
ENTERPRISE & REGULATORY REFORM BILL: Abolishing the Agricultural Wages Board – a body that has guaranteed minimum pay and conditions for thousands of farmworkers for almost a Century.
‘Shares for rights’ – selling off our rights at work
GROWTH & INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: Introducing George Osborne’s daft and offensive plan to let employers force new employees to give up their rights at work (quite important rights, like not getting sacked!) in return for potentially worthless shares in the Company (never before has the phrase ‘the value of shares may go down as well as up’ sounded so ominous!).
Unsurprising, but frustrating news: government win vote on shares for rights 277 to 239. House of Lords will vote again on Monday. We'll let you know next steps!
You can still email your MP to save the Agricultural Wages Board tho.
So, because our MPs are going to be busy, busy, busy – we need to be too!
We have FOUR ACTIONS you can do right now to help stop these attacks on our rights at work. It only takes a couple of minutes to do them, and it’s really important.
Let’s be honest – the Tories and Lib Dems have a big majority. We’re extremely unlikely to win these votes. I know many of our campaigners are reluctant to email their MPs, because say they always vote with the Government anyway. But that’s not the point – even if your MP is David Cameron himself, it’s worth sending that email. And here’s why:
1. We have to make a stand. Our rights at work were hard-won over decades, and we can’t let them be undermined without a fight.
2. If our MPs don’t get emails and phone calls, they think that their constituents don’t care about these issues. That makes them think rights at work are an easy target.
3. Sometimes, just sometimes, we can make a difference. We won a vote in the House of Lords on ‘shares for rights’, largely down to the fact that campaigners like you had piled on the pressure. If we don’t campaign, if we treat it like a lost cause, then it will be.
4. We have to get angry, and we have to spread the word - because we want them to lose the General Election. The only way we’re going to stop this Government in the long term is to make sure they lose the next General Election. One way to do that is to make sure all our friends, colleagues, neighbours and family know what they are doing to the rights that all of us rely on. That means tweeting, facebooking and emailing – but it also means we have to start having those conversations face to face, and try to get more of our networks involved in the campaign to win the next election.
Action 3: PICK UP THE PHONE! Call your MP and ask them to vote NO to shares for rights. 020 7219 3000. Click for ideas for what to say.
Tomorrow is the day our MPs get to have their final say on the Government’s ‘shares for rights’ plan.
Thousands of us have emailed our MPs, to ask them to vote NO tomorrow, and to reject this foolish plan to sell off our rights at work.
But if we really want them to get the message, then we need to keep up the pressure.
Even if you've only just emailed your MP, we need you to pick up the phone and ask your MP to vote NO to this scheme. We need to make sure they have heard your views on ‘shares for rights’ before it is too late.
Will you telephone your MP before the vote, and ask them to vote NO?
Here are some of the reasons why ‘shares for rights’ needs to be stopped tomorrow:
We need to make sure that our MPs have heard all of the arguments about ‘shares for rights’ before they vote.
We’ve set up a really simple web page to help you decide what you want to say to your MP, and to make it easy for you to let us know what they said.
Will you call your MP now?
Don't forget, your MP is paid to represent you and everybody else who lives in your constituency. They won't necessarily vote the way you ask them to, but you have a right to let them know your views.
Even if your MP ALWAYS votes with the Tory-led government, please call them anyway. It's really important that they know people oppose this plan, even if there's little chance of you convincing them.
It’s by piling on the pressure that we were able to defeat this in the House of Lords – let’s keep it up now.
In the last few months, we’ve run campaigns on welfare cuts, threats to the minimum wage, and attack after attack on our rights at work.
We’ve delivered massive 6 foot petitions to Downing Street, we’ve emailed and written to our MPs in our thousands, and we’ve facebooked and tweeted again and again.
However, the fact of the matter is that the Conservative-led coalition has a majority in the House of Commons, and that gives them carte blanche to do what they like. The only way we can stop them is to make sure they’re not the Government after the next General Election.
Next Monday we’re co-hosting an event to see what we can learn from the United States about mobilising trade unionists to influence General Elections, and we’d like you to join us:
Last year, the TSSA trade union sent two Organisers to work alongside the US equivalent of the TUC (the AFL-CIO) in the state of Iowa.They found highly-organised trade unionists, campaigning among their membership, and working to a powerful electoral targeting strategy that made use of the latest online campaigning.
Their work was part of a huge national effort by the labour movement to deliver President Obama's return to the White House.
Here in the UK, we have two years until polling day. If we want to beat the Tories and the Lib Dems, and make sure they don’t have another five years to trample on everything we hold dear, then we need to start getting organised now.
Register here to join us at the TSSA on Monday 15th April at 7pm:
Hope to see you there!
In two years time, there will be a General Election - and every day it's clearer that we need to do everything we can to kick the Tories out.
Next Monday, we're co-hosting an event at the TSSA offices in London, called Lessons from the 2012 US Election: How UK unions can influence the 2015 General Election. To register, click here:
In Autumn 2012, TSSA sent two Community Organisers to work alongside the AFL-CIO (US equivalent of the TUC) in the state of Iowa in the American Mid-West.
What they found were highly organised trade unionists using member to member campaigning, coupled with a powerful electoral targeting strategy and online campaigning, which formed an effective national contribution by the labour movement to President Obama's return to the White House.
With the UK General Election anticipated in just two years, what can we learn from America about how trade unions can engage with communities to get the vote out?
It's free, open to all, and refreshments and nibbles will be provided. Register here:
This weekend, we’ve seen the Government hit some of the country’s most vulnerable families with the Bedroom Tax. Cuts for legal aid have kicked in, making it harder for poor people to get justice. And on Saturday, the Government’s tax cut for millionaires begins – with 13,000 millionaires getting a £100,000 tax cut.
But that’s not enough for this Government. This morning, we’ve found out that they’re coming after the Minimum Wage too. They have ordered the Low Pay Commission to consider freezing, or even cutting, the National Minimum Wage, if the economy doesn’t pick up.
Workers earning the lowest legal wage could be paying the price for this Government’s failed economic policies.
Today, we’ve launched an urgent petition calling on the Government to drop this plan, and promise to protect the minimum wage. Add your name now:
Today’s Telegraph has revealed that the Government are changing the terms of reference for the Low Pay Commission, so they have to formally consider the minimum wage’s impact on “employment and the economy” when deciding what level it should be set at each year.
This Government’s austerity measures are damaging the economy, and are stifling jobs and growth. And now it could be people being paid the lowest possible legal wage who pay the price, by having their pay frozen, or even cut, while prices continue to rise. They’ve already done this for young workers aged 18-20, whose minimum wage was frozen last year.
Back when David Cameron was Leader of the Opposition, there were rumours that a Tory Government would quietly do away with the minimum wage. In 2008, a senior Tory source said:
"The minimum wage won't be scrapped but it will be allowed to wither on the vine. A series of smaller, more affordable increases will mean it will just melt away."
Today, that’s one step closer to coming true.
Sign our petition now, and let’s show how many of us back the minimum wage:View Comments
We had a great response last week to our Beecroft is Back email and social media campaign. We were really angry that the Government was trying to slash redundancy protections and wanted to show how the strength of the opposition to these changes. You responded in fine style!
Thousands of you read the email, circulated it to your friends, and plastered it all over facebook and twitter. It shows that we don’t all have to turn up in London to wave banners, but can make our voices heard through social media. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took part.
There was one thing though – Twitter. It’s a great thing. It allows you to contact the politicians who sat on the committee and make those decisions. Hundreds did – nearly 600 tweets were made directly to the Conservative and Lib Dem members of the committee.
In their embarrassment at what they were doing, not one replied to a single tweet. Not one.
We know that many thousands of you follow unionstogether and our campaigns. We work together, that’s how we make things happen. So I was really cross that these elected politicians didn’t even have the common courtesy to respond to you… disrespect for one of us is disrespect for all of us.
So I’ve written them a letter. You’ll find it here, but it will land in the MPs' intrays in the next day or so. Let’s see if any of them have the common courtesy to respond directly. I’ll let you know if they do…. and if not, we’ll be sending my letter off to their local newspapers ;-)
I am writing with a simple question – why didn’t you respond to the members of the public who contacted you?
The matter I’m referring to was a Delegated Legislation Committee that took place on March 18th. I’m sure you remember since the issue discussed affects, according to Government figures, about 100,000 people a year. It’s the issue of the consultation period during a statutory redundancy process.
I am sure you are aware that the basic premise of redundancy law is to avoid redundancies if at all possible. The purpose of the ninety day consultation period is to allow all options to be discussed. It allows staff to come up with their own solutions or alternatives. It allows everyone to consider what possibilities there are for redeployment. In the last instance, it allows employees to prepare for the worst.
There are people in your constituency who will have experienced this process. There will be more for whom redundancy is a real fear.
According to our records, more than 600 contacts were made to committee members directly via Twitter to ask for them to speak up for their concerns. You were one of these, yet you didn’t respond.
We understand that Members of Parliament are busy, but its worse than that. You didn’t even speak. You didn’t raise any of the concerns that members the public raised with you.
I think I know what you are going to say, so I’ll say it first – your duty is to your constituents and not to the wider public. I think it’s a cheap defence, but I’ll offer you a get out clause –did you ask the people who contacted you if they were your constituents?
There’s a lot to answer there, and I’m looking forward to hearing what yourself and the other committee members have to say. As I said, there are people in your own constituency that will be worse off because of your actions. I think they have a right to know.
Do you remember the Beecroft Report?
It was a wishlist of ways to undermine our rights at work, written by Tory donor Adrian Beecroft, at David Cameron’s request.
The Government definitely remember the Beecroft Report, and they’re working their way through much of it, bit by bit.
This afternoon, at 4.30pm, they’re moving on to Beecroft’s plan to reduce redundancy rights. Hidden away in a Committee Room in the House of Commons, a handful of MPs will be debating the Coalition’s plan to halve the time employers have to consult for when making big groups of staff redundant.
At the moment, if an employer is making 100 or more people redundant in one go, they have to consult on those redundancies for at least 90 days before people can actually be made redundant. During this time, they have to consult with trade union reps, provide reasons for the redundancies, and look at whether the job losses can be avoided.
The government are cutting that consultation time in half, to just 45 days.
Often, the 90 day consultation period leads to jobs being saved – as unions and employees have the time to make sure that every single avenue is explored to find ways to save jobs.
Will you help us shine a light on this latest attack on our rights at work? The Coalition are hiding the debate away in a Committee Room, but we want to use social media to help spread the word.
Ian Murray MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Employment Rights, says:
“As has been the case for all the Tory-led government’s proposals on employment rights, they are failing to produce evidence that would merit any change. The Lib Dems are just as culpable. Vince Cable poses as a supporter of employee rights but is leading a sustained attack against rights at work, voting for the introduction of George Osborne’s discredited ‘shares for rights’ scheme and now slashing employee protections in redundancy situations.
“Collective redundancies are, or course, one of the most dramatic forms of job loss. That is why the current legislation on collective redundancy is so vital; it allows for particular care to the process of achieving business restructuring, ensuring that employees are involved as much as possible in the decision-making and if job losses are necessary then all employees and their representatives are closely involved.
“I would urge those opposed to this proposals to join in unionstogether's campaign against the tidal wave which is washing away people’s rights at work.”
Why not nip over to our facebook page, and share our Beecroft is Back campaign graphic. Together we can make sure our friends and contacts find out what the Government are up to now.
Are you on twitter? If so, help us spread the word by tweeting now! You can use our easy-tweet buttons to tweet about the campaign, and also to tweet at MPs on the Committee to ask them to vote NO to attacking redundancy rights today.
Click to tweet about what the Government are doing today.
Gordon Birtwistle is Lib Dem MP for Burnley. Send him a tweet to ask him to vote no today.
Angie Bray is Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton. Send her a tweet to ask her to vote no today.
Alun Cairns is Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan. Send him a tweet to ask him to vote no today.
Tracey Crouch is Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford. Send her a tweet to ask her to vote no today.
Andrew Percy is Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole. Send him a tweet to ask him to vote no today.
Simon Reevell is Conservative MP for Dewsbury. Send him a tweet to ask him to vote no today.
Jo Swinson is Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire. Send her a tweet to ask her to vote no today.
Paul Uppal is Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West. Send him a tweet to ask him to vote no today.View Comments
It’s not often we invite you to an event, but this one is rather special.
In a couple of weeks a new campaign is being launched, one that asks the Government to stand up and meet its international obligations. It’s the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom.
We often forget the important role trade unions play in our economy - by negotiating with employers they spread the proceeds of economic growth to employees and their families. It was one of the main reasons Britain was a more equal society during the post war period. The current legal restrictions on trade unions prevent them from carrying out this function, which is why wages have declined over the last 30 years.
Similarly, trade unions are an important form of employment protection. They work with good businesses to make them better, and bring their members together to put pressure on bad employers and make them change their ways.
Unfortunately trade unions have been subject to heavy legal restrictions since the 1980s… and too many employers are now able to get away with treating employees badly.
The Campaign for Trade Union Freedom wants to change this. It wants unions to be able to play their role in building the society we all want to see - a fairer and more equitable society, where no employer can rule by fear and insecurity.
The Launch Rally is on Saturday 23 March. It's from 1.30pm to 4.30pm, at Friends Meeting House at 173 Euston Road in London.
Whether you are a union member, a Party member, someone who supports a fairer society or even just someone who wants to find out more about trade unions, why don’t you come along?
I’ll be there, and I hope you will be too.
Last week, unionstogether (in partnership with HOPE not hate) brought together around 50 people in the House of Commons for an in depth discussion about migrant workers' rights.
The event was chaired by Katy Clark MP.
Over 50 people attended the meeting, in order to hear from the speakers, and also to contribute to the discussion and feed in to the Labour Party’s policy process.
We started off hearing from three speakers, Carlos Saavedra from the United we Dream organisation, Khadija Najlaou from Justice 4 Domestic Workers (a self-organised group of migrant domestic workers, which is also unionised through Unite the Union) and Piotr Plonka, Branch Secretary for GMB Migrant Workers Branch in Yorkshire Region.
Although all three speakers had different backgrounds and experiences, there was a remarkable amount of crossover in everything that they said. They all talked movingly about their experiences, and the exploitation and ill-treatment they had all experienced or witnessed. And they all identified the fact that whilst strengthening rights and increasing enforcement of those rights is essential, it is by collectively organising that people are really able to change the balance of power in society or the workplace, and raise standards for everybody.
Carlos Saavedra from the United we Dream organisation opened the discussion, giving a passionate account of the campaign he lead which has won new rights for undocumented students, and has helped change the terms of the debate about immigration in the USA.
He raised the importance of getting organised to campaign for change, and described how they had trained thousands of activists in campaigning and lobbying skills.
He summed up the importance of collective action when he finished by saying “we never knew that a group of undocumented immigrants could get together and change the immigration law of the US”.
Khadija Najlaou spoke next, with a moving description of the exploitation, abuse and ill-treatment she has experienced as a migrant domestic worker in the UK. She raised the long hours that most domestic workers work and the low pay they receive (overseas domestic workers in private households are not covered by working time regulations, and if they are treated ‘as a member of the family’ then neither are they entitled to the National Minimum Wage).
She went on to talk in detail about the fact that the Coalition Government’s changes to the visa system have substantially rolled back rights for domestic workers, and re-introduced modern-day slavery. She explained that it was only because a friend had told her she had the right to change employer that she was able to leave her first abusive employer. Under the Coalition’s new visa scheme, domestic workers are unable to change employers, no matter how abusive or exploitative they might be. (Prior to 1997, migrant domestic workers’ visas were tied to one employer. This meant that if they were exploited or abused, they were unable to change employer. Their only way to escape an abusive employer was to return home, or to go undocumented and enter the black economy. In 1998, Labour introduced the Domestic Workers Visa, which allowed migrant domestic workers to change employer, ending this modern-day slavery.)
Last year, the Coalition radically changed the terms of the visa – anyone who comes to the UK as a domestic worker after 6 April 2012 will be unable to change employer – once again, domestic workers are tied to one employer, no matter how abusive or exploitative they are.
Khadija called on the Labour Party to promise to bring back this basic, fundamental right, and pledge to re-introduce the visa rules they originally brought in in 1998.
She then raised the issue of ILO Convention 189: ‘Decent work for Domestic Workers’ (http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_161104.pdf - this Convention was passed in 2011, and the UK was one of only 8 countries who abstained, including Sudan, Malaysia, El Salvador, Panama, Singapore, the Czech Republic and Thailand. The Convention covers the most basic rights for domestic workers, including ending abuse and violence, an end to child labour and forced labour, the right to a minimum wage, the right to one day off a week). She called on Labour to promise to ratify the Convention and to include it in UK law.
Piotra Plonka has been active in the GMB for the last 6 years helping to organise migrant workers. He gave an account of his extensive experience in this area, both as a migrant worker and as a union organiser.
Whilst members in organised workplaces go into existing branches, some three years ago they decided there was a need for a specific branch to link migrant workers scattered across unorganised employers. The new branch now has over three hundred members and has also set up a women’s forum.
He listed the many issues members were trying to deal with, such as a failure to meet basic Health and Safety requirements to provide protective equipment, a lack of maternity rights, and even being denied access to toilet facilities. He explained that his members experienced widespread insecurity and outlined the prevalence of zero-hours contracts, and he said there is often a complete mismatch between the promises on pay and conditions given by recruiters in countries like Poland and the reality faced by workers on arrival in the UK.
He set out a series of proposals that an incoming Labour government could implement that would improve conditions for migrant workers:
• Making English language training free for all, and support training on British culture and history including education on the political situation and TU rights
• Support for union learning reps and equality reps to help educate workers on their rights, but also to ensure that employers couldn’t divide workers according to ethnic and national background
• Revision of the agency worker regulations, as in their current incarnation they have so many loopholes that they have made little real difference to many workers.
• An end to the abuse of zero hours contracts.
After the speakers finished, we spent about an hour listening to the views of members of the audience on the issues in the Party’s policy paper.
I won’t give a full summary of the discussion here, but you can read it here.
There was a strong sense during the discussion that Labour must act to protect working people, and that means not only strengthening rights and enforcement, but also strengthening collective rights - by supporting unions to represent their members and win a better deal across the board, we can reverse the ‘race to the bottom’ for workers throughout the economy.
The importance of collective rights was demonstrated in one example from the floor: there are many employers who pay the living wage and are able to call themselves a ‘living wage employer’, but don’t recognise trade unions - some have coupled their slight-raising of pay to living wage levels with cutting back on holidays and other terms and conditions, and having lower than expected pay rises for those just above the living wage. If those employees had a recognised trade union, and were able to bargain together with their employer, they could have stood together won a better deal on pay and conditions, and stopped some workers’ pay being traded off against others.
We also discussed the importance of Labour delivering an economy and a labour market that increases standards for everyone. One contributor said:
“as soon as horsemeat is introduced into the supply chain, everyone is up in arms – but when there is slave labour and poverty pay in the supply chain, there is no outcry”.
Specific policy suggestions
Our discussion also came up with a lot of concrete policy demands for Labour.
How should we ensure fair treatment and protection of agency workers?
• Toughen up the Agency Workers Regulations, and close loopholes, including scrapping the twelve-week qualifying period as it leads to people being moved from job to job every 12 weeks without ever accruing employment rights.
What further action should be taken to prevent workers from exploitation and discrimination?
• Take steps to end modern-day slavery by reversing the Coalition’s changes to the Domestic Workers Visa, allowing domestic workers the right to change employer, and extend all rights to domestic workers in diplomatic households.
• Ratify ILO Convention 189 ‘Decent work for domestic workers’, and make any legislative changes needed to enshrine its provisions in UK law.
• Act to stop the exploitation of domestic workers, including reviewing their exemption from working time regulations and ending exemptions from the National Minimum Wage and health and safety regulations.
• Action on ‘zero hours’ contracts, to stop them being used to exploit working people. Working people are entitled to regular hours and protection from unfair dismissal; too often ‘zero hours’ contracts are used to avoid employment law.
• Ensure migrant workers have access to English language training and information about statutory employment protections.
What should a Labour Government do to ensure work pays?
• The more workplaces that have recognised trade unions, the more working people can collectively bargain for better pay and terms and conditions. Labour should introduce specific measures to remove the barriers to trade unions in organising and recruiting members, including a new right of access to non-unionised workplaces to educate working people about their right to join a union and conduct inspections of minimum standards.
• New statutory protections for trade union representatives to ensure that they are respected, resourced and able to negotiate effectively for their members without fear of the consequences.
• Regulate to require companies to publish pay audits across their operations.
How should we incentivise or reward living wage employers and how might a Labour Government use public procurement to promote the living wage?
• Ensure that public bodies (local authorities, etc) who pay the living wage are compensated through the block grant, so that local services are not traded off against pay.
• Make the case that one way to bring the benefits bill down is for employers to pay fair wages that do not need to be subsidised by benefits to make them enough to live on.
• A One Nation approach to the economy means fostering genuine Corporate-Social Responsibility and accountability from all employers, through culture-change, procurement and also through legislation. Stronger rules are needed to make sure business can’t hide behind various forms of ‘disguised’ employment relationships and extended supply chains.
• Labour should legislate to ensure that all employers have to pay a fair wage.
What else should Labour do to foster strong employment rights and job creation?
• Significantly strengthen enforcement of existing rights. Examine how trade unions could be involved in enforcement and inspection of rights, including health and safety and National Minimum Wage.
• Labour should recognise the importance of trade unions in fostering good industrial relations, and in reversing the downwards spiral of pay and conditions.
• Legislate to increase unions’ ability to organise, recruit and win better pay and conditions for more people.