On behalf of the newly-installed Executive Committee of Solidarity the Union I extend Christmas greetings and good wishes for a Happy New Year to all members and supporters of our Union.
The past year has not been good for British workers. The Tory-led coalition government has sought to erode and destroy hard-won workers' rights in exchange for a handful of company shares; branded sick and disabled people as 'workshy shirkers'; cut back the statutory consultation period on redundancies and doubled the time a worker has to be in the job before he or she can seek redress for discrimination or unfair dismissal in the workplace. At the same time, they have looked the other way as bankers and transnational corporations have either been baled out by the government or allowed to get away with avoiding paying taxes.
One bright spot in the past year was the decision in the European Court for Human Rights in favour of Athur Redfearn who had been sacked by his employer, not for any infringement of the rules or the law, but ostensibly on 'health and safety' grounds because he was a member of an unpopular political party that stood apart from the cosy consensus of the Establishment parties on his local district council.
More attacks on low-paid workers and those who have no option but to claim jobseekers allowance and other benefits and political dissenters who seek an alternative to bleak 'austerity' are anticipated in the coming year. Nothing demonstrates more clearly the need for workers to band together to protect their rights. In this coming New Year, Solidarity the Union will continue to build an infrastructure in workplaces and communities to defend workers' rights, pay and conditions.
Thank you for your loyalty to our Union. We ask each member to help us grow by telling at least one other person about Solidarity and how union membership can help them. If you are not already a member please join. Don't be alone, divided and weak. Let's make 2013 a year of significant growth for our Union. Together we are strong!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
David Kerr, President.