Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Green Party is the workers party

What do Greens know about workers and workers' rights? Aren't we just a bunch of tree-huggers and middle class do-gooders? That's what some of our political enemies would like to have you believe but the reality is quite different. Green Party members, along with most of the population, are workers themselves and face the same daily struggles that all workers do in austerity Britain. The Green Party has demonstrated its commitment to supporting and working with workers organisations by creating the post of Trade Union Liaison Officer on the national executive, and The Green Party Trade Union Group has existed for many years.

Our relations with trade unions are improving all the time and its hardly surprising that this is the case when our MP Caroline Lucas and our Leader Natalie Bennett, along with many of our members have shown solidarity with striking workers on the picket line. But what really matters is the Party's approach to workers rights and work itself. If you want to look at all of our policies on Workers rights and employment follow the link to our policy website

For this post I've picked out three policy sections which I think will interest most workers because they cover the fact that we recognise that work doesn't just take place in the formal economy, support the right to join a trade union and the right to take industrial action - "without the threat of dismissal and discrimination':
WR101 We define work in the full sense, not the traditional limited definition as employment in the formal economy. Green thinking recognises the latter as one part of the whole - a large part, but not the only one. Work exists in a variety of forms, each related to and often affecting others, like species in an ecosystem. Work covers all the activities people undertake to support themselves, their families and communities.
WR410 We support the right to join a trade union, and condemn discrimination by employers against union members. We shall enact a statutory right to join a union, which shall apply to all workers of any occupation or profession; this will include members of the police, security and armed services. We support unions taking the unwaged and unemployed into membership. Discrimination against union members, and in particular refusal of employment or dismissal on grounds of union membership, shall be illegal.
WR432 The Green Party recognises the right to take industrial action without being in breach of contract and without the threat of dismissal or discrimination, in accordance with ILO Convention 87 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We will ensure this right is protected in UK legislation.

Green Party members supporting striking workers

But that's not all, because the Green Party believes in economic democracy - the right of workers to own and democratically control the businesses they work in - and what's more we intend to provide workers with the means to own those businesses:
WR610 We will grant employees the legal right to buy out their companies and turn them into workers co-operatives. Buy outs would be funded by a Green National Investment Bank and contingent on the co-ops following green and ethical policies. These co-operatives would localise economic decision-making and give employees incentives for greater productivity.
A Green Party government would aim to make a fundamental shift in the way our economy works, to empower workers and ensure that the economy is embedded in local communities and not at the mercy of remote 'investors' simply seeking to profit from their labour. There's lots more, so why not take a look at our policy website and help us make these changes a reality? - join.greenparty.org.uk.

2 comments:

Simon Hales said...

This is a great article; only suggestion I would make is to describe the Green Party as "A Workers' Party" rather than "The Workers' Party". Too many sects out there already claiming to be "The" party :)

James North said...

Hi Howard, really liking the blog. Trying to get in touch with you from www.therules.org

Cheers

James