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Issue:- 12 June 2014

Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union call for legalisation of lightning strike action

BAKERS THE 2014 Annual Conference of the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union, who have approximately 30000 members, is taken place in Southport. On 8 June in a wide ranging address singled out food employers such as 2 Sister's Food Group, founder Ranjit Boparan, for criticism warning supermarket bosses and others, the Union would strike if members' livelihoods were threatened. He said:- "Mr Boparan's business model is nothing more than asset stripping, which leaves companies and people tossed aside with total disregard. However in David Cameron's 'big society' Britain of hard working people, this kind of behaviour is rewarded. It demonstrates the sheer perverse nature of the business world when making huge profits at the expense of workers is something to be celebrated. To those employers who freeze or cut our pay, we will strike, reduce our terms and conditions we will strike, attack our health and safety, we will strike, bring in slave labour workfare schemes, we will strike." He criticised the UK Government's lax approach to health and safety highlighting that they say sees 1 worker die every 15 seconds in the world, as a result of poor working conditions. "The fact is that more people are killed at work than on the battlefield, yet this is never reported in the mainstream media."

The BFAWA represents, who all work in the food and allied industries and trades on 9 June 2014, then voted unanimously to pressure the Labour Party to reintroduce the right of workers to exercise their democratic right without "restrictive balloting" procedures and reform of the Trade Union Act 1984. Ronnie Draper, General Secretary said:- "I would like to see secondary action re-introduced. It is illegal at present and should be repealed." Mr Draper also criticised the TUC leadership for failing to follow through on the issue despite some positive noises. He said that:- "The TUC will make the right noises, but to carry out anything a bit radical or slightly to the left, it gets short shrift. We need workers to rise like lions from the slumber to fight back." So does this affect you? Let us know your views on this issue via emailing us to:-

The Union's General Secretary, Ronnie Draper, has also made the comments on the 2nd day of the Labour Party affiliated at the conference in Southport, Merseyside. Mr Draper said he had a message for Mr Miliband who has a "hell of a job" to win the general election next year. He said:- "We're not asking for the earth. It is not about being radically left wing. We want a living wage, an end to zero hours contracts unless a worker genuinely wants one, end the dependency on food banks by feeding people properly and repeal of the anti-trade union laws. My message to Ed Miliband; make a commitment to build a substantial amount of new houses- that's a vote winner, promise to keep the NHS free at the point of need - that's a vote winner. And promise to take back our postal service into public ownership; that is a vote winner."

Turning his attention to industrial relations law, Mr Draper said the UK was the easiest place to sack a worker in the Western world. The recent changes to Employment Tribunals have seen costs for each tribunal jump to £1,600 and a right to claim unfair dismissal doubled to 2 years. He added:- "This country is condemned by the International Labour Organisation year on year because we are outside the international norms of industrial relations. This government have taken away access to justice. Somebody in McDonalds who is on minimum wage, how can they afford £250 just to register for a hearing, never mind go to a full tribunal? It is a scandal."

The Union says that it has been at the forefront of a global campaign for Fast Food Workers Rights which calls for a living wage

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