Unite the union is to present evidence of ‘appalling attacks’ by the UK and Scottish Government’s on the human rights of workers to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva on Wednesday, it has been confirmed today.
Unite say they’ve been pushed into taking action to protect working people from “practices of our governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster”, including the Trade Union Act and the awarding of government contracts to “anti-union employers” who have admitted to ‘blacklisting’ thousands of workers.
Joining forced with Unison, Unite say: “Both unions will argue that UN conventions on trade union membership and freedom of association have been breached by both the Scottish and UK governments, specifically articles 6, 7 and 8 of the convention in relation to the recently-passed Trade Union Act and the blacklisting of workers”.
More than 30 construction companies were forced into admitting the blacklisting of workers earlier this year, after Unite and other unions pursued legal action at the High Court in London.
The unions will argue that, “in awarding contracts to companies that have admitted blacklisting workers, the Scottish Government has breached its own strictures that its laws must be ‘compatible with human rights’”.
Unite will also argue that the UK Government’s Trade Union Act “has been designed to make it extremely difficult for workers to take lawful industrial action to defend themselves, while exorbitant employment tribunal fees have put justice beyond the reach of millions of working people”.
Mary Alexander, Unite Scottish deputy regional secretary said: “This is a landmark development in a landmark campaign.
“The practices of our governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster in relation to working people have caused alarm at United Nations, so much so that they have taken the decision that they must shine a spotlight onto the murkier happenings in our workplaces.
“Fundamental human rights are being breached on a daily basis. From extortionate fees for employment tribunals to the assault on trades unions, the most basic human rights are being violated by the UK government.
“Meanwhile, companies that have admitted blacklisting workers are being given contracts by the Scottish Government, in clear breach of its own guidance, sending an extremely worrying signal to working people about how valued they are by their government.
“Of course, we are honoured to be able to take our case on behalf of UK workers to the UN, but it gives us no pride that our governments’ actions are such that they cause international concern.
“We sincerely hope that this intervention by the UN is a wake-up call to our governments to get their priorities right and start defending the human rights of working people.”