A challenge to the Prime Minister to back trade union rights in the UK by giving trade union representatives guaranteed access to workplaces has been set by a Doncaster MP.
Don Valley MP Caroline Flint acted after Unite trade union members won £1.9million from construction companies Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI - for activities which led to trade union activists being blacklisted.
The MP told the Prime Minister: “We rightly condemn the denial or abuse of trade union rights in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Colombia and many other countries.
“So will the Prime Minister agree that the victory by Unite trade union members who won £1.9million compensation after major construction firms unlawfully blacklisted and denied them work – is a victory for British values?
“Does she agree that free and independent trade unions are a valued part of our democracy?”
She continued: “Will she condemn the illegal actions of these construction companies and in an open democracy guarantee trade unions representatives a right of access to workplaces to speak to employees about their rights at work?”
The Prime Minister replied: “Can I say to the Right Honourable Lady that I recognise the important role that trade unions play in our democracy and the work that can be done with trade unions to ensure that we are enhancing workers’ rights in this country.
“It’s exactly what this Government is doing. We want to see workers’ right being enhanced and improved; we’re already on track to do that and I look forward to us continuing to be able to do that in the future.”
The International Trade Union Confederation ITUC Global Rights Index 2017 listed Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Colombia as some of the worst countries in the world for the denial or abuse of workers’ rights.