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Union rights restored

In the week leading up to the general election the London Borough of Wandsworth restored deduction of trade union subscriptions from payroll and returned to the Local Government national agreement they had torn up nearly 35 years ago.

Both deduction at source of trade union subs (DOCAS) and the national agreement were withdrawn in the early privatisation days at Wandsworth and the political and social cleansing of the borough in the 1980s to make it permanently save for Conservatives.

Wandsworth was seen as the flagship borough of its day to promote privatising everything. They thought that these actions would destroy the local government trade unions but organisation has always remained.

Now after a Unison initiative the agreement has been restored for all local government trade unions – and this during a period when a dying act of the coalition government included the removal of DOCAS and trade union facilities arrangements from Civil Service trade unions.

There are those in the trade unions who are so defeatist and spellbound by the Tory election victory that they are already clamouring for retreats in the face of non-existent government threats. It is over 215 years since the Combination Acts sought to destroy our trade unions, and they failed. If a 35-year-old defeat can be reversed then we should look to our strengths: organisation, union density, unity, discipline.