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Trade Unions - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:01 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Jordan Lord Jordan Labour 3:01 pm, 18th July 2019

I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate for their exceptional contributions —some encyclopaedic—which added up to a fitting tribute to the ILO’s work. They also produced a wealth of knowledge about what is happening in Britain’s workplaces, showing clearly that, as trade union representation declined, so did the standards and security of workers in this country. The noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, gave a graphic description of the new intangible work patterns. Other noble Lords reminded the House of ever-multiplying miniature workplaces. Trying to recruit in a small workplace is very difficult. For one brief period in my life, I worked at a very small engineering place in London. One January morning, standing by the lathe with iced puddles on the floor, I said to the man next to me, “We shouldn’t put up with this; we should do something about it”. He said: “Yes, we should. I will tell the boss when he gets back; he’s my uncle”.

However incredible, however difficult, recruit we must. It is not going to be a job for old men. We must look to the youngsters—the younger generation whose inventions are creating this brave new, but not necessarily secure, world—to show us how we can connect with those who will help us to rebuild trade union strength. In doing that, we will restore ourselves to a position where we can make Britain a place where decent work is the norm, not the exception.

Motion agreed.