Hands off our unions – defend the right to resist statement from The People’s Assembly


Hands off our Unions

Defend the right to resist

The People’s Assembly has launched a new statement in today’s Guardian in defense of our trade unions following recent attacks from the government. Please ask everyone to sign this statement, share on facebook and twitter and forward this email to your collegues, friends, family etc.

“The government’s announcement of an inquiry into trade union tactics is further proof of its determination to undermine the right to protest against its austerity programme.

David Cameron’s speech at the recent Lord Mayor’s banquet has revealed the government is determined that there will be no end to austerity.

The trade union’s customary right to strike and the right to protest are fundamental liberties that have already been significantly restricted by anti-union laws and other legislation. This inquiry is a new Tory-Lib Dem assault on the unions, demonstrated by the fact that the appointed chairman is the former QC for British Airways who led the attack on Unite the Union during the previous dispute between Unite and BA in 2011.

As millions of people face falling real wages, unemployment, part time or casualised low paid work, and the rapid destruction or privatisation of the welfare state they stand in need of trade union organisation and the right to protest more than ever.

We pledge ourselves to resist this attack. The right to protest is a fundamental civil liberty. The right to join an effective trade union is the product of generations of working class resistance. We have no intention of relinquishing it to a Government with no interests in the needs of working people.”

Initial signatories:

Len McCluskey, Unite the Union, Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union, Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers, Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists, Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union, Matt Wrack, Firebrigades Union, Mick Whelan, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, Ian Lawrence, NAPO, Tony Benn, Maxine Peake, Actress, Sam Fairbairn, Secretary, The People’s Assembly, Steve Turner, Unite the Union & Chair, The People’s Assembly, Romayne Phoenix, Co-chair, The People’s Assembly, Owen Jones, Journalist & The People’s Assembly, Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member, Cllr Rania Khan, Mark Steel, Comedian, Francesca Martinez, Comedian, Roger Lloyd Pack, Actor, Carolyn Jones, Institute of Employment Rights, Andrew Murray, Unite the Union, Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group, Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, Zita Holborne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition, Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Lee Jasper, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Aaron Keily, Black Students Officer, NUS, Alex Kenny, NUT national executive, John Rees, Counterfire, Paul Mackney, former General Secretary, UCU, Salma Yaqoob, James Meadway, Senior Economist, New Economics Foundation, John Hilary, War on Want, Rob Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain, Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper, Andrew Burgin, Left Unity, Roy Bailey, singer / songwriter, Mark Barratt, Occupy campaigner, Clare Solomon, former president, ULU, Fred Le-Plat, Socialist Resistance

Appeal from Owen Jones

Dear People’s Assembly supporter,
What a fortnight it’s been! Hopefully you enjoyed reclaiming Guy Fawke’s night on the 5 November, and seeing the reports of actions taking place up and down the country, from occupations of banks and Jobcentres to roadblocks and protests targeting privatisers and tax evaders. On Westminster Bridge, people fed up with choosing between eating and heating burnt their energy bills alongside guys of Cameron and Clegg. Thousands of new people are participating in the anti-austerity movement; the historic-sized rallies, meetings and actions in many towns and cities are testament to that.

It’s clear: the People’s Assembly founding conference in June launched a new movement. The 4,000 people who attended agreed to spread the People’s Asssembly movement across Britain; since then, over 80 local People’s Assembly groups have been set up with more springing up each day. This really is a fantastic achievement; our local groups were instrumental in mobilising for the massive 29 September demonstration at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

But we’re up against a government addicted to austerity, forcing millions into poverty while the wealthiest get richer. We have started to challenge this but if we want real change, we need to build a movement that mobilises millions of people.

So, we’re are organising a re-call People’s Assembly conference for early next year to help make this happen. We’ll be working with the unions and the TUC for a national demonstration in London this spring. We’ll continue supporting the growth of local groups, with a whole series of national initiatives including further days of action. And most crucially, we’ll work hard to engage with new organisations and individuals, and bring them into the People’s Assembly!

This means we urgently need to set up a functioning national office. So we’re asking every supporter of the People’s Assembly to set up a regular monthly donation. No amount is too big or small – if everyone on this list gave just £3 a month we’d have the resources we need to properly support our local groups and national campaigns.

Please help us build a movement impossible to ignore. Set up a monthly donation here:


Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to working with everyone in the coming months.

Owen Jones

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