13 September 2011
The Institute of Employment Rights’ annual fringe meeting on Monday night, this year entitled: "Equality, liberty, solidarity – fighting unfair cuts, resisting unfair laws” – didn't just focus on the cuts being faced right across society with the government's austerity plans – there was anger at the fact that the TUC congress this year had been cut down in size and that the IER was not allowed in to Congress House.
Professor Keith Ewing, the president of IER, talked about having his nose pressed to the window of congress, mirroring a famous song. Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite spoke of how unhappy he was with the current arrangements and stated that he would be doing his best to ensure that TUC congress reverted to "normal" henceforth. As the last speaker on an impressive platform that included Bob Crow (RMT), Michelle Stanistreet (NUJ), John Hendy QC and Sarah Veale (TUC) he called for the union movement to break the law and defy anti-trade union legislation, if necessary, to take strike action.
If the government pushed workers outside of the law, the law would have to be broken, he stated. The 60 or so people present at the meeting held in the basement of the Central Baptist Church, were entertained when at the point of Len stating we must not forget we are “on the side of the angels” the choir upstairs at the same time burst into a chorus of “Halleluhah”.